Barrow Golf Club were the host to the Scratch League Finals and the course had been prepared beautifully with the teams certainly appreciating all the work that went in to it.
The qualifiers for the day from the South of the County were Furness, winners of the Southern Premier League, and Kendal A who were runners up. The Northern Premier league winners were Carlisle A, with Carlisle B runners up, surely a first for Finals day. The promotion Final was to be fought out between Workington B and newcomers to Finals Day Appleby.
In the first Semi-final Kendal A were drawn against the favourites Carlisle A whilst Furness were drawn out against Carlisle B.
Carlisle A fielded a team which oozed experience in Greg Waters, Geoff Nixon, Nev Johnstone, Stephen Jopson and Kieran Waters along Andrew Wolstencroft who was brought in at No 4.This team proved too strong for the Kendal squad of Simeon Barsby, Kyle Gilbertson, Andy Earl, Graham Hayton, Greg Dixon and Dom Barron Holden, with Carlisle A winning 4 ½ - 1 ½.
The second semi-final saw the Furness team of Isaac Caine, Liam Mcnulty, Mark Diamond, Rob Leitch, Jon Clarke and Rob Spence dominate the Carlisle B team consisting of Marcus Dodds, Travis Little, Jamie Newton, Johnny Mossop, Craig Coady and Archie Davies with Furness bringing home a 5-1 win.
Alongside these matches the Promotion final was also taking place between Appleby and Workington B. The Workington team consisted of Mark Brasted, Paul Brown, Paul Shearman, Andrew Shilito, Chris Drabble and Adrian Drabble who proved to be too strong for the Appleby team of Ian Moncaster, Andrew Moncaster, Nigel Robinson, Adam Elliot, Grant Doherty and Nick Sowerby with a nail biting finish leading to Workington B finishing off with a win of 3 ½ - 2 ½.
After a hectic schedule in the morning play resumed after lunch with the main event, The Scratch League final between Carlisle A and Furness, which on paper looked like it was to be a very good match, it did not disappoint.
After all matches passed through 9 there was nothing between the teams and as each match came towards the finish they all were still fighting it out coming up the 18th. 1st match in between Greg Waters and Isaac Caine ended all square shortly followed by Geoff Nixon beating Liam McNulty 1up.
3rd game in saw Andrew Wolstencroft beating Mark Diamond 1up. County Captain Elect Nev Johnstone again was fighting it out up the 18th against Rob Leitch, which by now Furness really needed a win, but the old campaigner did the business and won 1 up, which was enough to win the title but Jon Clarke and Rob Spence gave Furness a little reward by beating their opponents of Stephen Jopson and Kieran Waters again both on the last hole.
Carlisle A 3 ½ Furness 2 ½
A fantastic standard of golf which was a pleasure to watch. Congratulations go to Carlisle A while heartfelt commiserations go to Furness for a great final.
Scratch League Secretary
He is a new England Golf Club Support Officer and will be helping clubs to strengthen their business and to attract more players and members.
Sam said: “I’m really excited about this opportunity to work with clubs in Cumbria, listening to and understanding their business needs. Using that knowledge I can support them to provide the experience their customers want.” He added: “I have always had a great love for golf, starting playing as a child progressing through county and North of England junior squads culminating in qualifying as a PGA Golf Professional five years ago.
“I created my own Sam Matthews Golf brand delivering bespoke coaching and providing professional services across Cumbria and North Lancashire.
“I have also been a personal trainer for a number of years, this experience and expertise fuses effectively with my passion for golf performance and physical excellence”.
England Golf’s new strategy for 2017-21, Growing the game of golf in England, focusses on the customer and the importance of providing them with the golfing experience they want, whether that’s competitive play, social opportunities or short format golf which fits into busy lifestyles.
It also has the over-arching aim of encouraging more women and girls into golf. Currently only 15% of club members are women, but research shows that 640,000 women and girls are interested in taking up the sport.
Among the initiatives Sam will be promoting is the Get into golf campaign, which offers great value coaching opportunities to new and improving players, and Golf Express, which promotes shorter format golf.
Jason Budd, England Golf’s Regional Manager, commented: “I am sure Sam will be a tremendous asset to the county and they will support the clubs to increase participation and club membership.”
Contact Sam Matthews at firstname.lastname@example.org For more information on Get into golf visit www.getintogolf.org and on Golf Express visit www.golfexpress9.org
The promised fine weather for Sunday 21st May never really materialised but that didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the 34 pairings who gathered at a Carlisle Golf Course in beautiful condition for this inaugural competition. The brainchild of Neville Johnstone and the backing of the County Championship Committee brought a sense of fun and enthusiasm back into golf that seemed to be on the wain for far to long.
In the morning a 4 ball better ball competition would see the pairings off to an early start at 07.30 with Longcake and Carr and Bell and Amato trying to set a lead that would see them in good stead for the afternoon competition. A 68, 3 under par was a great start but the feeling was that some in the field could go lower. We didn't have to wait long for Waters and Mossop to post a very good 65, 6 under par, to set the lead that would only be matched by 2 old campaigners of County Golf in Greg Waters and Craig Postlethwaite. The Carlisle / Workington pairing of Thursby and Mewse and the Workington / Furness pairing of Bowe and Spence were not far behind on 1 shot and 2 shot behind respectively, and with 11 other pairings under par for the morning round you could see the competition was hotting up even though the weather couldn't.
The Foursomes game of golf sees 1 of the pairing driving from the tee and his partner playing the next shot and alternating until the ball is in the hole. All those spectators and officials present knew that a great understanding of each others game, strengths and friendship would play a massive role in finding the eventual winner of this well thought out and well executed competition. Fatigue can play a massive role in this 36 hole competition, and so it was that of the 34 pairings sent out in the afternoon foursomes there was only 4 scores under par in the afternoon. Doidge and Atkinson shot a very creditable 69 in the afternoon to go with their fantastic 68 (137 total)in the morning to claim the best nett score of 134.
Though a 1 under par 70 was posted by Thursby and Mewse it was only good enough for 3rd place, a new pairing of Kendall (Furness) and W. Postlethwaite (Carlisle) came up trumps for the County Captain and his thoughts for the future County squad when the 2 young uns posted an under par afternoon round 68 to go with their 67 in the morning round to give them 2nd place on a total of 135.
Without doubt the the two most colourfully dressed golfers dazzled the competition, not only with their matching outfits of red trousers, white tee shirt and black sleeveless pullover, but also with sparkling golf of the highest standard. Bowe and Spence of Workington and Furness formed an alliance which has not only seen them win at the highest level of County Team Golf for Cumbria but also win today's competition with a fantastic 67 - 66 (135) Truly an awesome display of team golf that was appreciated by all that were present to a great days golf, professionally run and professionally played in a great friendly atmosphere. Roll on next year.