The South Junior team travelled to Seascale on Tuesday 19 July to play the return match in the Northern Counties League looking for revenge for their earlier defeat at Kirkcudbright. The links course was in excellent condition and the weather forecast was for the warmest day of the year so far
The boy’s golf bags were bursting with the number of bottles of water and other liquids to keep the possibility of hydration at bay. What an introduction to the three new boys making their debuts. They must have thought all South matches were played in Spain!
Mitchell Cowie (D&C) and young Glen Irvine (D&G) got off to a nervous start in the morning foursomes and were two down after 4 holes but then steadied the ship and were only three down after 12. A birdie on the long par 3 thirteenth revived their flagging spirits and they fought back manfully to unfortunately lose on the last hole by one hole. Ross Whyte (D&G) and Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) had an epic battle. One up after 4, all square after 7 and 10 and one down after 13 they never gave up and halved the game on the 18th.
The two Kirkcudbright boys, Cameron Gray and Callum McMillan, never got their game together. They battled hard but crucial putts refused to drop. Two down after 10 suddenly became four down after 13 and the game finished on the fourteenth green with a disappointing loss of 5 and 4. Two Dumfries and County rookies, Greg Rice and Lewis Fraser, showed the others how to do it. With Greg issuing the instructions and Lewis following them to the letter they were one up after 4, two up after 7 and three up after 10 before they had to repel a fight back by the Cumbria boys over the closing holes but held on grimly to win by 2 and 1. So at lunch Cumbria held a narrow lead by 2½ games to 1½.
In the afternoon singles Mitchell Cowie continued his good form by being four up after 6, two up after 12 and running out the victor by 4 and 3. Debut boy Glen Irvine displayed a fantastic fighting spirit in his match, being one down after 6, and two down after 12 and 16. He then won the 17th but unfortunately could not repeat it at the last and lost by one hole. He had played all 36 holes in the oppressive heat and was absolutely shattered both mentally and physically.
Ross Whyte decided that the best way to defeat the heat was to get the game over as soon as possible. He got off to the perfect start being four up after 6 but his Cumbria opponent fought back and Ross was only one up after 12 and all square after 16. Ross lost the 17th with a tired and wayward drive and could not summon the strength to win the last and lost by one hole. The heat was certainly starting to take its toll on all the players. However Iain Rae, with the same strategy as Ross, showed how it should be done and was totally focussed as he ran out a convincing winner by 7 and 6.
Cameron Gray, the South Junior Match Play Champion, did not start well, being one down after 6, but recovered to lead by one after 12 and two after 16 and win by 2 and one. Callum McMillan, the South Junior Match Play Runner-up, was one down after 6 and 12, but lost his way over the last few holes as the heat sapped all his energy and he lost by 3 and 2
Lewis Fraser, in his first singles match for the South Juniors, acquitted himself well. He was two down after 6 and 12 and 16 before losing the 17th and the game 3 and 1. There were many times he thought he had the hole won only for his opponent to sink another putt. Greg Rice, who was most impressive all day, was two down after 6, fought back to level at 12 before going down the 17th two down. After a perfect drive he won the hole but could not repeat the heroics on the last and unfortunately lost the game by one hole.
Three games went down the last and South lost them all. If fortunes had been different South could have won the match. Cumbria won the singles by 5 games to 3 and the match 7½ games to 4½.
All the boys played very well and thoroughly enjoyed their first visit to Seascale. They would be happy to return, but not on such a hot and windless day.
Mitchell Cowie (D&C) and Glen Irvine (D&G) lost to Will Coxon and Dominic Barron by 1 hole
Ross Whyte (D&G) and Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) halved with Liam Mason and Alex Rose
Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) and Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) lost to James Fisher and Nathan Thompson by 5 and 4
Greg Rice (D&C) and Lewis Fraser (D&C) beat Patrick Brennan and Tom McNeill by 2 and 1
Foursomes Result South 1½ Cumbria 2½
Mitchell Cowie beat Dominic Barron by 4 and 3
Glen Irvine lost to Will Coxon by 1 hole
Ross Whyte lost to Alex Rose by 1 hole
Iain Rae beat Nathan Thompson by 7 and 6
Cameron Gray beat James Fisher by 2 and 1
Callum McMillan lost to Liam Mason by 3 and 2
Lewis Fraser lost to Patrick Brennan by 3 and 1
Greg Rice lost to Tom McNeill by 1 hole
Single Result South 3 Cumbria 5
Match Result South 4½ Cumbria 7½
The photograph shows the South Team. From the left: Callum McMillan, Ross Whyte, Glen Irvine, Iain Rae, Greg Rice, Cameron Gray, Lewis Fraser and Mitchell Cowie.