For the last match of the 2018 season in the Northern Counties Federation League, South Juniors were able to field a very experienced team against Durham Juniors at Lochmaben on Thursday 9 August. Three of the boys were playing their last game for the juniors, being too old next year, and were determined a victory was essential.
On a bright summer’s day with sunny intervals Ciaran Howat (D&C) and David Sharp (D&C) led the South boys off in the morning foursomes on a course which was in immaculate condition. Back to one down after five holes they regained parity at the ninth and Ciaran chipped in for a birdie at eleven to go one up. They lost fourteen and halved fifteen, sixteen and seventeen before winning the last and a one hole victory.
Mitchell Cowie (D&C) and Taylor Kerr (Thornhill) showed their all-round experience and expertise in fashioning an easy victory. Three up after the first three holes, four up after eleven and five up after thirteen they won by 5 & 4. Finlay Copland (D&G) and Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) also got off to a good start and were three up after five holes. By the eleventh they had increased their advantage and were five up before closing out the game by 4 & 3
The final game was another cliff-hanger. Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) and Jamie Marchbank (D&G) were one down after three holes but won holes four and five to go one up. Still one up after eleven they won fifteen, lost sixteen, halved seventeen and won eighteen to win the game two up.
A clean sweep in the morning foursomes had the boys thinking of an overall whitewash and a place in the history books of South Junior golf.
The pressure, inflicted by themselves, was mounting as Ciaran Howat led out the boys in the afternoon singles. A good start was required and he certainly delivered being two up after five holes before being pegged back and was one down after twelve. He won thirteen to be all square and eventually crossed the finishing line one up. David Sharp was in determined mood as he gained a lead of two holes after seven, but lost eight and twelve before regaining his two hole lead after fourteen and winning by 3 & 2.
Taylor Kerr, who has been playing well all season, was calmness personified as he slowly turned the screw on his opponent. He lost the fifth to a birdie to be one up but regained it with interest and was three up after thirteen before coasting to victory by 4 & 3. Mitchell Cowie, playing his last league game as a junior, was never in trouble being three up after six and four up after seven. He had five birdies, including driving the green at the seventh, as he won 6 & 5.
The other two boys playing their last game as juniors, Cameron Gray and Finlay Copland, had contrasting experiences. Cameron, never afraid to let his heart rule his head, was one down after eight but drove the greenside bunker at nine and got up and down for birdie and was all square. He won thirteen to go one up and was relieved to shake hands on the eighteenth with a one hole victory. Finlay got off to a bad start, being two down after five, and had to use all his fighting spirit and superb short game to good effect to be all square after twelve. He won thirteen and was never behind again winning 2 &1.
The totally focussed Jamie Marchbank, who enjoys his golf like a quiet assassin with a constant smile on his face completely demolished his young opponent. A birdie at eight and he was six up and by the time he reached the twelfth green he was five under par and had won by 8 & 6.
Unfortunately seventeen year old Callum McMillan, who has been the cornerstone on which the team has been built for more years than he can remember, met a similar fighter who never knew when to give up. One down after five and two down after eight, Callum fought back to all square after thirteen, won fourteen but lost seventeen and eighteen and the game by one hole. Always so proud to represent “The South” and wear the team shirt he was bitterly disappointed.
What a result and memory for the boys leaving the juniors. All the boys had played so well, totally committed and dedicated, they were delighted with the match result of South 11 games to Durham 1
Ciaran Howat (D&C) and David Sharp (D&C) beat Nicky Lee-Shield (Barnard Castle) and Harry Hetherington (Ramside) by one hole
Mitchell Cowie (D&C) and Taylor Kerr (Thornhill) beat Stephen Turnbull (Consett) and Daniel Vine (Consett) by 5 & 4
Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) and Finlay Copland (D&G) beat Lewis Reay (Ramside) and Daniel Welsh (South Moor) by 4 & 3
Jamie Marchbank (D&G) and Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) beat Matthew Goad (Woodham) and Jake Ford (Eaglescliffe) by two up.
Foursomes Score: South 4 games Durham 0 games
Ciaran Howat beat Nicky Lee-Shield by 1 hole
David Sharp beat Harry Hetherington by 3 & 2
Taylor Kerr beat Stephen Turnbull by 4 & 3
Mitchell Cowie beat Daniel Vine by 6 & 5
Cameron Gray beat Daniel Welsh by 1 hole
Finlay Copland beat Lewis Reay by 2 & 1
Jamie Marchbank beat Matthew Goad by 8 & 6
Callum McMillan lost to Jake Ford by 1 hole
Singles Score: South 7 games Durham 1 game
Match Result: South 11 games Durham 1 game
The photograph shows the victorious South team and officials. From the left Team Manager Iain Robin, Callum McMillan, Taylor Kerr, Mitchell Cowie, Finlay Copland, Jamie Marchbank, Cameron Gray, Ciaran Howat, David Sharp and Pam Watson, Coaching Convenor