This was the last league match of the season and to date the South had won 4 and drawn 1. If they won or drew against Cumbria they would be crowned Northern Counties Federation League winners for 2015. At Powfoot Golf Club on Monday 17 August the eight boys were up for it, determined and fully focussed as they set off for the morning foursomes. It was a warm sunny summer’s day and the course was in superb condition with running fairways and fast receptive greens. Perfect for the boys to show off all their golfing skills.
Unfortunately, in the foursomes, this became the day they all lost their composure and their performances were well below par. The first pairing of Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) and Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) were two down after 10 holes and lost 4 and 2. The second pair of Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas) and Rowan Marchbank (D&G) were only one down after 10 but fared no better on the inward nine and also lost 4 and 2. The penultimate game featuring Dylan Cairnie (D&C) and Ross Whyte (D&G) were four down after 10 and then held their own before losing 4 and 3 while the last pair of Graeme Hoodless (Newton Stewart) and Callan Harkness (Lochmaben), also four down after 10, lost 5 and 4. It was a very unhappy South team that sat down for lunch with a scoreline reading South 0 Cumbria 4.
The South team decided at lunch that as they had got themselves into this situation it was up to them to produce the fightback to end all fightbacks and win six of the eight singles. In the first match Nathan Watson’s form deserted him until he reached the back nine. Three down at the turn he found his second wind but sadly missed a short putt at 16 which would have brought him back to all square with two to go and give him the impetus to go on and win. He lost 2 and 1. Iain Rae, in the second match, was one down after 6, two down after 11 but got it back to one down after 13. He won 17 to go one up and halved the last to finish one up. Was this the start of the fightback? Angus Bendall, who had not beaten his opponent in three previous games, had another titanic struggle. Level after 6, one up after 10 and three up after 13, he then lost two holes but held on to win by one hole.
The reliable Rowan Marchbank, who was playing well, got off to a steady start and was level after 6 and one up after 10. He then lost two holes to be one down after 13 before recovering to win 2 and 1 with a birdie on the seventeenth. A determined Dylan Cairnie in the next match went two up after 10, increased his lead to four after 13 and won 5 and 4 on the fourteenth green. Ross Whyte had one of those games where he could do nothing right and no matter how hard he tried he could not get the better of his opponent and lost 6 and 4.
The South now needed to win the last two games out on the course to halve the match and win the league. Both Callan Harkness and Graeme Hoodless were having a titanic struggle to overcome their opponents. Neither could get the upper hand and both were level after 13. Callan won the sixteenth to go one up, halved the seventeenth but lost the last to finish all square. Graeme was still level after 16 but lost the seventeenth and ran out of holes and lost by two. The rest of the team walked alongside both players to encourage them over the last two holes. This had been a real team effort in the singles and the boys were most disappointed to have lost. The singles finished South 4½ Cumbria 3½
Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) & Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) lost to Liam Mason (Sedberg) & James Fisher (Brampton) by 4 and 2
Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas) & Rowan Marchbank (D&G) lost to Will Postlethwaite (Carlisle) & Adam Lynn (Carus Green) by 4 and 2
Dylan Cairnie (D&C) & Ross Whyte (D&G) lost to Alex Rose (Windermere) & Will Barnes (Brampton) by 4 and 3
Callan Harkness (Lochmaben) & Graeme Hoodless (Newton Stewart) lost to Archie Davies (Carlisle) & Byron Evans (Carus Green) by 5 and 4
Foursomes Score; South 0 Cumbria 4
Nathan Watson lost to Liam Mason by 2 and 1
Iain Rae beat James Fisher by 1 hole
Angus Bendall beat Will Postlethwaite by 1 hole
Rowan Marchbank beat Alex Rose by 2 and 1
Dylan Cairnie beat Will Barnes by 4 and 3
Ross Whyte lost to Adam Lynn by 6 and 4
Callan Harkness halved with Byron Evans
Graeme Hoodless lost to Archie Davies by 2 holes.
Singles Score South 4½ Cumbria 3½
Match Result South 4½ Cumbria 7½
The league table finished with Durham and the South on top tied on 9 points from their 6 matches but Durham were awarded the title as they had won more individual games than South (44 to 41½)
The photograph shows the South team: Nathan Watson, Iain Rae, Rowan Marchbank, Angus Bendall, Graeme Hoodless, Callan Harkness, Ross Whyte and Dylan Cairnie.