The South Juniors travelled to Carlisle on Thursday 13 August 2015 to play Cumbria Juniors at Stony Holme Golf Course full of confidence after their three victories out of three matches in the Northern Counties League. It was a beautiful summer’s day with a warm sun shining out of a cloudless sky. The course was in good condition but the greens were to prove to be slow and inconsistent.

In the morning foursomes Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) and Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) got off to a great start and were six up after 8 holes and eventually won easily by 8 and 7. In the top match Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas), fighting a nasty hook off the tee, and Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) were hit by three birdies in the opening holes and were three down. This was increased to six down after 8, and they lost 7 and 6. In the penultimate game Dylan Cairnie (D&C) and Ross Whyte (D&G) were one down after 9, level after 12, won 13 and 14 to go  two up and coasted to victory by 3 and 2. The new partnership of Callan Harkness (Lochmaben) and Alex Long (New Galloway) started well to be one up after 9 but lost three in a row at 10, 11 and 12 before losing 3 and 1. The match was evenly poised after the foursomes at 2 games all with all to play for in the afternoon singles.

The youngsters, Iain Rae and Cameron Gray, continued their fine play of the morning to get the South team off to a steady start. Iain Rae was one up after 6, two down after 12 and one up after 16. He lost the par 3 seventeenth and halved the eighteenth to finish all square. Cameron Gray was one down after 6, level by 12, and one up after 16. He sank a tricky twelve feet downhill putt on 17 for a half and shook hands on the eighteenth green for a one hole victory. Angus Bendall won his first three holes with birdies and was still three up after 6 but his wayward driving woes returned and he steadily lost holes before being beaten by two holes. Nathan Watson was always in control of his match and played very solidly, hitting a lot of greens, without having to hole many putts. He ran out an easy winner by 6 and 5.

The usually consistent and reliable Dylan Cairnie was one down after 6, two down after 9 and 12 but lost 3 and 2. He fought hard and never gave up but this was not his day. Ross Whyte was totally focussed in his match and was four up after 13. His opponent hit back with wins at 14 and 15 but Ross never panicked with halves at 16 and 17 to win 2 and 1. It was now up to one of the debut boys to secure victory and continue the winning run of the South team, and they did not disappoint. Callan Harkness got off to a steady start in his first singles match and was one up after 6, three up after 9 and 11 and shook hands on the fifteenth green with a fine 5 and 3 victory. Alex Long was never up in his game but showed great tenacity to fight for a half point. Level after 6 and 9 but one down after 16, he halved 17 and won the last after a nine iron from the tenth fairway set up a chip and putt for his par. The singles were evenly contested but the two fighting performances from the debut boys against Stony Holme members gave the team a successful outcome. The South won the singles by 5 games to 3 and the match by 7 games to 5.

Individual Results

Morning Foursomes

Iain Rae  & Cameron Gray beat Byron Evans & Liam Mason by 8 and 7

Angus Bendall & Nathan Watson lost to Will Postlethwaite & Adam Lynn by 7 and 6

Dylan Cairnie & Ross Whyte beat Alex Rose & Will Barnes by 3 and 2

Callan Harkness & Alex Long lost to Dan Ling & Tom McNeil by 3 and 1

Foursomes Score         South   2          Cumbria    2

Afternoon Singles

Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) halved with Byron Evans (Carus Green)

Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) beat Liam Mason (Sedberg) by 1 hole

Angus Bendall (Castle Dougla) lost to will Postlethwaite (Carlisle) by 2 holes

Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) beat Alex Rose (Windermere) by 6 and 5

Dylan Cairnie (D&C) lost to Will Barnes (Brampton) by 3 and 2

Ross Whyte (D&G) beat Adam Lynn (Carus Green) by 2 and 1

Callan Harkness (Lochmaben) beat Tom McNeill (Stony Holme) by 5 and 3

Alex Long (New Galloway)  halved with Dan Ling (Stony Holme)

Singles Score:               South   5          Cumbria   3

Match Result                South   7          Cumbria   5

After the evening meal the South team travelled to Durham for the match the following day against Durham Juniors at Ryton Golf Club. It had rained heavily overnight in the north-east of England and on arrival at the course in the morning all the greens were flooded and the boys were bitterly disappointed to find the course had been declared unplayable and the match a draw. A win for the South would have guaranteed the league title. A win or draw against Cumbria at Powfoot on Monday 17 August is now a necessity to be crowned champions.

The photograph shows the South team at Carlisle: Iain Rae, Callan Harkness, Angus Bendall, Nathan Watson, Ross Whyte, Alex Long, Cameron Gray and Dylan Cairnie.