The Northern Counties Federation Junior Championships between eight man teams from Northumberland, Durham, Cumbria and South of Scotland were held this year on Tuesday 1 August at Arcot Hall Golf Club, Northumberland.

The format was 36 holes strokeplay with the top six players from each team counting towards the team total with the lowest total being acclaimed champions.

In the morning round on a lovely sunny day Jamie Marchbank (D&C) was first off for the South and started well with two solid pars then chipped in twice at holes 3 and 4 to be two under par after four holes. He lost a ball at the fifth but still got his bogey. He recovered well and birdied holes 6 and 7 and was still 3 under par after 12 holes. Despite a lovely up-and-down from a bunker on 14 he lost one more shot to par over the closing holes and finished with a 68, two under par. A great start for the South team.

Glen Irvine (D&G) also got off to a solid start but an eleven on a par 5 put paid to a low score. He never stopped fighting and signed for an 85. Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) had trouble getting the ball in the hole on the difficult pin positions and two bad holes on the outward nine left him nine over. He played the back nine in level par for a 79.

All the boys were having trouble stopping the ball on the firm greens and Corey Brown (D&C) was no exception. However he was playing very steadily being two over par after 8 but had a double bogey on 9 and completed his round in 77. Thomas Robinson (D&G) had trouble with his chipping and was unable to get up-and down often enough. He was seven over after 12 and lost six more shots over the last six holes to finish with 83.

Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas) played very steady golf all morning to be level par after 12 holes but unfortunately lost two shots on the run-in to finish with a very creditable 72. Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) also played very steadily until he had a triple bogey on 11 and was four over par after 12.  He lost another shot over the final six holes and signed for a 75. The last man out, Iain Rae, (Dalbeattie), did not have his troubles to seek including a plugged ball in a bunker on the 4th which led to a double bogey. He recovered well to be five over par after 12 but lost seven shots over the last six holes and finished with a disappointing 82.

Not a great start for the South team but they all went out in the afternoon determined to redeem themselves.

Jamie unfortunately could not reproduce the magic of the morning and was four over after 8 holes, with bogeys at 7 and 8 and five over after twelve before finishing with 77 for a total of 145. Glen again found the going difficult and finished with 89, four worse than the morning. Callum was two over par after 5 and 7 over after 12 and signed for a disappointing 81.

The tree lined James Braid designed course was proving difficult for all the players but Corey Brown tamed the opening holes to be level par after 5 but he was disappointed to lose shots at almost every hole thereafter and recorded an 88. Thomas Robinson was delighted with his opening five holes “four better than the morning” but then he also succumbed to the general malaise and finished with 83, the same as his morning round.

Angus Bendall, again totally focussed on the job in hand, was level par after five holes but dropped a shot to be one over after 12. He just could not get the putts to drop and had a 72, the same as his morning round, to total 144. Another fabulous round of controlled aggression and good safety play which is becoming a feature of his game.

The birthday boy, plus one day, Nathan Watson, had bogeys at 3, 4, and 5 to be three over before he steadied the ship and was still three over after 10. The 11th was again to be his nemesis with a double bogey this time. He finished on 78, eight over par. Iain Rae, the anchorman, and the only one as it turned out to better his morning score, was one over after 5 but a double bogey at the 12th got him back to one over and he dropped  four more shots over his last six holes to sign for 75.

The CSS for the morning round was 70 and 71 for the afternoon.

The South had a team score of 925 but the team competition was won by Cumbria with a total of 902.

Angus Bendall won the trophy for best individual score (144) on countback and Jamie Marchbank the best score for the morning round (68) so the South boys were not all despondent on the long journey home.

Individual South Scores

144      Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas)

145      Jamie Marchbank (D&G)

153      Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright)

157      Iain Rae (Dalbeattie)

160      Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright)

165      Corey Brown (D&C)

166      Thomas Robinson (D&G)

171      Glen Irvine (D&G)

The photograph shows the South team: Thomas Robinson, Angus Bendall, Callum McMillan, Nathan Watson, Iain Rae (hiding), Glen Irvine, Corey Brown, Jamie Marchbank and Iain Robin (Team Manager).

The photograph shows the two individual winners: Jamie Marchbank and Angus Bendall.