GOLF: Skipper Bott welcomes Northants competition

Martha Pieterse will captain a Northamptonshire Girls experimental team for a pre-season friendly at Colmworth GC on Sunday
Martha Pieterse will captain a Northamptonshire Girls experimental team for a pre-season friendly at Colmworth GC on Sunday

Northants are expected to go with a blend of youth and experience for their first and second team friendlies with Warwickshire on Sunday, at Wellingborough GC and The Henley GC respectively.

As the two sides put the final touches to their preparation for the Anglian League season, first-team skipper Graham Bott is looking to build on the 12-3 thrashing of Bedfordshire in their first friendly of the year.

He admitted: “We will have a number of first-team players missing for this match, just as we did against Bedfordshire. And look how that ended up!

“If they can replicate that result, then they are going to be putting a lot of pressure on the selectors to pick them in the Anglian League, which is exactly what we want.

“The strength in depth we have within the county is a massive positive.”

County Boys v Leics & Rutland

NORTHANTS under-16s team started their season with a thrilling friendly against Leicestershire & Rutland, losing 8-7 at Kingsthorpe GC.

Luis Witherall and Max Hayward took the opening foursomes tie for the hosts before Joe Quinn and Owen Watts doubled the lead in the second game.

Although the County were beaten in the next two matches, a half for Oliver Jones and Jack Peters left the contest evenly poised going into the afternoon singles.

Northants looked to have grabbed the initiative when Witherall, Hayward, Watts and Quinn clinched the first four games.

A half point in the next tie was the only other score from the home team however as Leicestershire & Rutland snatched victory by taking the last five points.

Northants’ match against the County Captains a few days later was cancelled due to the wet weather.

County Girls v Beds

Martha Pieterse will captain a Northants Girls experimental team for a pre-season friendly with Bedfordshire at Colmworth GC on Sunday.

The Overstone Park member will join club-mate Abbie Thompson and Tamsin Munro, Olivia Barby (Wellingborough), Emily Goodall (Kettering), Faith Atkinson (Collingtree) and two other girls for the match over 12 holes.

A more experienced County Girls team has been selected to play Warwickshire in the opening League match of the season on May 6 at Kenilworth GC.

County Girls champion Ellie Darnell (Wellingborough) and County Girls captain Hattie Billson (Northants County) will both be involved in the 12-player line-up.

Baylie Pyke (Overstone) and Ashleigh Critchley (Kettering) will not be involved as they play for the England under-16 squad on the same day, but both return for the match against Hereford & Worcestershire at Northampton GC as four others make their 2018 debuts.

NGL Spring Cup

Girl golfers across the county will have to wait a few weeks before competing for the Spring Cup after the event was called off due to the wet weather at Collingtree Park on Sunday.

The competition, which also includes the Spring Fun Cup over nine holes, has now been re-arranged for Saturday, May 26.

NGL Scratch League

Overstone Park got their season off to the ideal start as they defeated reigning champions Wellingborough 5½-2½ at home.

Although Jack Binch took the first point for the hosts 3&2, while James Barker and Mikey Chambers triumphed on the 17th hole, the remaining five games went the distance. Overstone’s Luke Barney won the 18th to beat Dominic Holden, while halves from Richard Dalton, Ryan Genner and Fraser Carnihan sealed an excellent win.

NGL Hollingsworth Trophy

Group D

Northampton’s hopes of qualifying for the last four may be over after they lost by a single point at Northants County.

After losing their opening match of the campaign at home to Staverton the previous weekend, the Harlestone club started slowly as they lost the third game with several holes still to complete.

Although David Goldman and Darren Gould (6&5) responded for the visitors, County were always in control as they clinched two more points on the 16th hole. Northampton, who took the other point through Steve Eborall and Craig Groom, will now need to win their final two matches by wide margins to have any chance of topping the group.

Champions Overstone suffer opening loss

NGL Ladies Intermediate League

Wellingborough showed their battling qualities in the opening match of the season as they secured a 2-1 victory against defending champions Overstone Park in a tight contest at Kingsthorpe GC.

With all three ties going the distance, Gill Snelson gave Wellingborough the advantage by beating Gill Osborne in game one, before team-mate Fran Woods won the 18th hole to edge out Gill Hodgson. Margo Lerin secured a consolation point for Overstone against Lema Townsend.

Peterborough Milton were successful by the same scoreline against Northampton. Linda Sherry picked up Northampton’s point with a 7&6 victory.

Shires Junior Golf Tour

An incredible winning team score of 109 points was recorded in the SJGT Pro-Am as the youngsters showed their talents at Kingsthorpe GC.

With the best two scores to count on each hole, Northampton’s Matthew Reeve and Cameron Reeves and Joshua Ho (both Overstone Park) combined with Northants County pro Michele Forgione to finish 13 points clear.

Fellow junior golfers Sam Morgan, Harrison Taylor, Jacob Williams Leah Ribano, Ben Atherton, Ellie Darnell and Edward Keech also collected prizes.

The individual professional competition went to former County first-team player Sam Buss (Aspley Guise) by two strokes, following an excellent two-under-par round of 67.