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Andrew Minnikin already looking to future

IT will not be until January the captaincy of Northumberland is handed over officially from Kevin Robson to Andrew Minnikin.

Andrew Minnikin

IT will not be until January the captaincy of Northumberland is handed over officially from Kevin Robson to Andrew Minnikin.

However, neither man has wanted to delay preparations for the task of lifting the county from the bottom of the Northern Counties League.

At Robson's suggestion, Minnikin has taken up the reins already, the captain-elect saying a few words during the junior presentation evening at Robson’s club Prudhoe.

Junior golf is a subject at the top of the agenda for the 33-year-old Minnikin, a civil servant who lives in Washington and is soon to join the Northumberland club from Gosforth, having also played at Westerhope.

The former county strokeplay champion – he won the title at the Park in 2003 – is young enough to be a player-captain and was the junior captain only 12 years ago.

During the 2013 season, he will take his caps for the men’s county team past the 70 mark and by then hopes to have “re-established” links with the Northumberland Junior Golfing Association.

Minnikin said: “I have clear memories of my time as a junior and this is an area I am really passionate about. The men’s team need to get a handle on the identities of the good junior players bubbling under the surface earlier than they do at present.

“Then they can be given men’s county coaching and be encouraged to play in the various men’s county tournaments.

“I would also encourage any outstanding juniors to play in the men’s North East Audi Masters Series.

“Competing in scratch 36-hole tournaments against good players enables the youngsters to raise the bar for themselves and gain valuable experience of the game.”

Minnikin visited Prudhoe for a second time while continuing his painstaking build-up to taking over the captaincy.

He called in to pick the brains of the club’s former British Mid Amateur champion Shaun Philipson, three times a member of champion Northumberland teams in the Northern Counties League.

Minnikin added: “Coincidentally, it was the same day as Prudhoe opened their new six-hole par three course and that can only be a good thing.”

Persuaded to play in the inaugural tournament, the county captain-elect added to his street cred by winning it and signing for the first course record of one-under 17.

 

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