On a dreich wet Easter Sunday the South of Scotland Junior Team travelled to Eden Golf Course near Carlisle to play Cumbria in the first league match of the 2017 season. The course was in very good condition as the eight boys donned their waterproofs for the start of the campaign
Taylor Kerr (Sanquhar) and Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) started badly in the morning foursomes against Archie Davies (Carlisle) and Jamie Sowerby (Appleby) and were two down after 4 holes before recovering to be only one down at the turn. On the back nine they gamely held their opponents to the thirteenth before losing three holes in succession to lose by 4 & 2. In the top match of the foursomes Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas) and Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) had a magnificent battle with Byron Evans (Carus Green) and Chris Edge (Carlisle). Birdies in many cases were only good enough to halve holes as the South boys reached the turn all square. They were one down after 13 but got it back with a birdie on fifteen and both teams finished on the last green with a birdie to be all square. A magnificent game with all four boys playing well and a game nobody deserved to lose.
In the third game William Squires (Kirkcudbright) and Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) also had a pulsating game against Liam Mason (Sedburgh) and Tom McNeil (Carlisle) which went to the last hole. The South boys were two down through 6 holes before starting their comeback and won the short ninth with a par 3 to complete the outward nine one down. They won the fourteenth and fifteenth to be one up but lost the sixteenth, rallied again and finished one up. Another very evenly matched game with all four boys playing well. Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) and Lewis Cheetham (D&C) combined well and took an early lead of 3 up after 6 holes against Patrick Brennan ( Seascale) and David Boardman (Ulverston). They played steadily to be three up after nine holes and increased the pressure to lead by 5 holes after 13, won the fourteenth and the game 6 & 4
A great start for the South boys, all playing well in the atrocious conditions, and a lead of 2½ games to 1½ at lunch
In the afternoon singles the South boys went out full of confidence of starting the season with a win. Taylor Kerr was first out against Welsh U16 internationalist Archie Davies and was playing well to be only one down at the turn, two down after 14 before losing by 3 & 2. There were ten consecutive holes that both boys halved in par in this game. Callum McMillan played very steadily to beat James Sowerby by 3&2. He was all square after 6 holes, one up after 9, two up after 14 and finished the match on the sixteenth green.
Lewis Cheetham was all square after five holes in his game against Chris Edge and one down after 9 holes. He is not as long off the tee as the other boys but has a magical short game which he put to good use when his opponent hit a bad shot. He won three holes from the fourteenth and held on to win 2 & 1. A super debut for fourteen year old Lewis. Cameron Gray was always in charge for most of his game with David Boardman. He was one up after 3 holes, still one at the turn and two up after 14 before he lost his composure and three of the last four holes to lose by one hole.
Angus Bendall got off to a terrible start losing two of the first three holes in his match with Chris Edge. He then found his excellent play of the morning and got it back to one down after 6 holes and all square after 9. By the fourteenth he was 3 up, and although he lost one further hole, he finished the game on the seventeenth green with a 2 & 1 victory. In the top match, Nathan Watson got off to a bad start in his game with Byron Evans, another Welsh U16 Internationalist, by losing the first two holes. He held his own for the next 6 holes but lost the short par 3 ninth to be 3 down at the turn. He lost confidence and two of the next four holes to be dormie 5 down standing on the fourteenth tee, won fourteen and fifteen before he shook hands with Byron on the sixteenth green having lost 3 &2.
One halved game from the two matches out on the course was required to give South a memorable victory. William Squires was one up after 6 holes but one down after 9. He got it back to all square after 16 holes, but as tiredness from his exertions in the Scottish Strokeplay Championship during the previous week set in, lost seventeen and the game by one hole. Iain Rae, playing against Tom McNeil, had an adventurous start. Off the tee at the fourth he put his tee shot in the river and at the fifth he put it in a pond but was still all square after 6. He reached the turn two up but was pegged back to all square after 14. He hit a bunker off the tee at the sixteenth hole and again at eighteen to lose by one hole. A disappointing end to a very close match, Cumbria winning the singles by 5 games to 3, the South boys thought they should have won.
Taylor Kerr (Sanquhar) and Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) lost to Jamie Sowerby (Appleby) and Archie Davies (Carlisle) by 4 & 2
Angus Bendall (Castle Douglas) and Nathan Watson (Kirkcudbright) halved with Byron Evans (Carus Green) and Chris Edge (Carlisle)
William Squires (Kirkcudbright) and Iain Rae (Dalbeattie) beat Liam Mason (Sedburgh) and Tom McNeil (Carlisle) by one hole
Cameron Gray (Kirkcudbright) and Lewis Cheetham (D&C) beat Patrick Brennan (Seascale) and David Boardman (Ulverston) by 2 & 1
Foursomes Result South 2½ Cumbria 1½
Taylor Kerr lost to Archie Davies by 3 & 1
Callum McMillan beat James Sowerby by 3 & 2
Lewis Cheetham beat Patrick Brennan by 2 & 1
Cameron Gray lost to David Boardman by 1 hole
Angus Bendall beat Chris Edge by 2 & 1
Nathan Watson lost to Byron Evans by 3 & 2
William Squires lost to Liam Mason by 1 hole
Iain Rae lost to Tom McNeil by I hole
Singles Result South 3 Cumbria 5
Match Result South 5½ Cumbria 6½
The photograph shows the South team: William Squires, Iain Rae, Callum McMillan, Nathan Watson, Lewis Cheetham, Angus Bendall, Taylor Kerr and Cameron Gray