On Saturday 27 May the South U16 team travelled down the M6 to Appleby to play their counterparts from Cumbria. Appleby is a moorland course with electric fences round their superb greens to keep the grazing sheep from destroying them. The weather was sultry with a threat of thunder and lightning later in the day.
Taylor Kerr (Sanquhar) and Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) got off to a flying start by winning the first hole in the top match. They were two down after 8 and got one back by the 11th, lost the 12th to a birdie before eventually losing by 4 and 3. Jamie Marchbank (D&G) and Glen Irvine (D&G) had a great match with holes frequently changing hands over the latter stages. The game was all square after 8 holes, a birdie at 12 kept it all square and after 15 the South boys took a one hole lead. Unfortunately they lost 16 and 17 and could only halve the last to finish one down. This was a brave effort with both boys playing well.
In the third game David Sharp(D&C) and debutant Ciaran Howat (D&C) lost the 1st hole to a birdie but did not let this upset them and by the 8th hole they were 3 up. By the 12th they had been pegged back to 1 up but rallied and won 15 and 16 to win by 3 and 2. The Kirkcudbright pairing of John Rodger, making his debut, and Patrick Innes combined well over the first nine holes to be one down but unfortunately by the 15th they had lost another two holes and stood on the 16th tee dormie three down. They won the 16th but lost the short 17th to lose the game 3 and 1.
At lunch Cumbria had a lead of 3 games to 1 but the match was not over and a determined and focussed South team went out in the afternoon singles to turn the scoreline around.
The wind was getting up and heavy clouds were starting to fill the sky as Taylor Kerr fired the opening tee shot up the centre of the first fairway to start the afternoon singles. Playing very steadily he was one up after 7, increased this to two up after 10, but was back to one up after 13. By this time rumbles of thunder could be heard in the distance and as the players reached the 15th green the klaxon sounded and play was suspended. Callum McMillan, with the pressure of exams lifted, revelled in the freedom and his game came back together. One up after 6, he showed his fighting qualities and was two up after 13 before his game was halted just short of the 14th green.
Glen Irvine, who had played well in the morning, found the local knowledge of his opponent too powerful and he was three down after 7 and four down after 12 before his game came to a premature end on the 13th. Jamie Marchbank, got off to a great start and playing well, was one up after 3, three up after 7 before his opponent started fighting back and his game was all square as they came off the 12th green.
David Sharp also played well but could not get the better of his opponent. He needed all his fighting qualities after being one down after 3 and still one down after 7 before he started to make his comeback and was all square at the turn. This was his score when his game was cut short on the 11th. The young Ciaran Howat had a game dreams are made of on his debut. Playing really well he was five up after 7 and five up at the turn, having played the first nine holes in a nominal one over par. He was very disappointed when his game was cut short on the 11th hole and he was in sight of his first singles victory.
The two Kirkcudbright anchormen at the back were well aware of what was happening in front and realised that the final result could well depend on the outcome of their games. All the team were playing well and they were determined they were not going to let the team down. They were both showing their fighting qualities and refusing to be overpowered. John Rodger, on his debut, was all square after 7 but gained a crucial advantage to win the 9th and move into a narrow lead. Patrick Innes had been trading holes with his opponent and was all square after 7. He lost the tricky 8th and was standing one down on the 9th tee when the klaxon sounded.
All the players marked their balls and retired to the clubhouse as the rain got heavier. The officials decided not to send them back out again when the storm passed and agreed that the scores would stand when play was interrupted so that a result could be obtained. South therefore won the singles by 5 games to 3 and the match was declared a draw at 6 – 6. The South boys were disappointed as they believed they were in the ascendancy when play was suspended and would have gone on to win handsomely. The fightback by the whole team in the singles was a magnificent effort and all boys are to be congratulated on their fighting spirit and determination not to be beaten.
Taylor Kerr (Sanquhar) and Callum McMillan (Kirkcudbright) lost to Dominic Barron (Kendal) and Jamie Sowerby (Appleby) by 4 & 3
Glen Irvine (D&G) and Jamie Marchbank (D&G) lost to Will Coxon (Kendal) and Michael Cullen (Whitehaven) by 1 hole
David Sharp (D&C) and Ciaran Howat (D&C) beat Alex Heppell (Brampton) and Alex Park (Eden) by 3 & 2
John Rodger (Kirkcudbright) and Patrick Innes (Kirkcudbright) lost to Scott Sharpe (Seascale) and Ryan Whitehead (Kendal) by 3 & 1
Foursomes Score: South 1 Cumbria 3
Afternoon Singles (Score taken on holes completed)
Taylor Kerr beat Dominic Barron by 1 hole (after 14 holes)
Callum McMillan beat Will Coxon by 2 holes (after 13)
Glen Irvine lost to Jamie Sowerby by 4 holes (after 12)
Jamie Marchbank halved with Michael Cullen (after 12)
David Sharp halved with Alex Heppell (after 11)
Ciaran Howat beat Alex Park by 5 holes (after 10)
John Rodger beat Scott Sharpe by 1 hole (after 9)
Patrick Innes lost to Ryan Whitehead by 1 hole (after 8)
Singles Score: South 5 Cumbria 3
Match Score South 6 Cumbria 6
The photograph shows a determined South team before play. From the left: David Sharp, Ciaran Howat, Glen Irvine, Jamie Marchbank, Taylor Kerr, Patrick Innes, Callum McMillan and John Rodger.