NCF – South Juniors v Northumberland

The day of the match, Wednesday 26 July, against the Northumberland Juniors dawned wet and windy at Percywood Golf Club in Northumberland. The tree-lined parkland course, although wet and heavy underfoot, was very well presented for this Northern Counties Federation league match.

The South had sent a very strong team with all the boys playing at the top of their game and confident of victory. A very strong westerly wind and very heavy rain tested the resolve of the South boys as the greenkeeping staff went on ahead with squeegees to ensure the match could take place.

In the morning foursomes, Jamie Marchbank (D&G) and Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) lost the first hole, got it back to all square after three and seven, were two down after ten but then won three holes in a row and won 3 & 2. In the second game Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas) and Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) had to fight hard in a close match to record another win. The South pairing were all square after three holes, one up after seven, two up after ten before being pegged back to one up after seventeen. They halved the last to finish one up.

The third pairing of Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) and Taylor Kerr (Sanquhar) combined very well with Taylor, in particular, chipping superbly. They were never in trouble and won easily by 7 & 5. In the final game Mitchell Cowie (D&C) and Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) were one down after three holes but recovered well to be two up after seven before they were hit by a succession of birdies and lost 3 & 2.

At lunch South had a lead of 3 games to 1 and with the promise of the weather improving spirits were high.

As the heavy clouds rolled away the sun came out and wet waterproofs were stuffed in golf bags as the afternoon singles got underway. Jamie Marchbank led the way for the South and was one up after four holes but one down after ten. Showing his renowned fighting spirit he got it back to all square after fifteen and went on to win by one up. Callum McMillan had an equally hard struggle, two down after four he recovered to be all square after sixteen but lost seventeen and the game by one hole.

In the top game Angus Bendall got off to a great start and was two up after four holes and three up after nine. He increased his lead to five up after thirteen and won by 5 & 4. Nathan Watson took longer to get in the groove but was also three up after the first nine and five up after thirteen and won 5 & 4.

Iain Rae, who was playing very well, continued his good shot making from the morning and won at a canter by 7 & 6. Taylor Kerr also played well and was three up after the outward half before he was hit by a string of birdies and eventually lost by 2 & 1

The South Junior Matchplay Champion, Mitchell Cowie, had great start and was two up after four, four up after nine and five up after thirteen. He then lost fourteen and fifteen before a half on sixteen gave him a 3 & 2 victory. Cameron Gray, the South Junior Matchplay Runner-up, took a long time to find his rhythm and was four down after five holes. On the seventh he thinned a wedge shot through the green and on the follow through let go of the club which ended twelve feet up a tree caught in the branches. Fortunately the “fire brigade” were on hand and a very relieved Cameron was re-united with his wedge. This had the effect of wakening him up and he won the next two holes to finish the first nine two down. By the thirteenth he was all square and although he lost fifteen, he won sixteen and went on to win by one hole.

The South team were delighted to win the singles by 6 games to 2 and the match by 9 games to 3.

Individual Scores:

Morning Foursomes

Jamie Marchbank (D&G) and Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) beat Joseph Robson (Hexham) and Angus Buchanan (Matfen) by 3 & 2

Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas) and Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) beat Aidan Topham (Seahouses) and Alex Buchanan (Matfen) by 1 hole

Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) and Taylor Kerr (Sanquhar) beat Jake Bullivant (Blyth) and Brendon Jones (Whitely Bay) by 7 & 5

Mitchell Cowie (D&C) and Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) lost to Marc Friar (Alnwick Castle) and Joshua McCutcheon ( Stacksfield) by 3 & 2

Foursomes score;         South 3            Northumberland 1

Afternoon Singles:

Jamie Marchbank beat Joseph Robson by 1 hole

Callum McMillan lost to Angus Buchanan by 1 hole

Angus Bendall beat Aidan Topham by 5 & 4

Nathan Watson beat Alex Buchannan by 5 & 4

Iain Rae beat Jake Bullivant by 7 & 6

Taylor Kerr lost to Brandon Jones by 2 & 1

Mitchell Cowie beat Marc Friar by 3 & 2

Cameron Gray beat Joshua McCutcheon by 1 hole

Singles Score:               South 6            Northumberland 2

Match Result:               South 9            Northumberland 3

The photograph shows the South team before the afternoon singles. From the left Jamie Marchbank, Callum McMillan, Cameron Gray, Nathan Watson, Taylor Kerr, Iain Rae, Mitchell Cowie and Angus Bendall.