Goswick's Dixon Cup bid fails at the first hurdle

Goswick have become the first team ever to withdraw from the Dixon Cup and were forced to do so after a number of players withdrew from their team

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There's a lot to admire about Goswick, not least their stunning links course.

For instance, when the golf club formerly known as Berwick hosted regional qualifying for The Open Championship from 2008 to 2012 I reported on each of those five tournaments, encountering nothing but charm and efficiency.

But becoming the first club in the 35-year history of the Dixon Cup to withdraw from the event? Oh dear!

The cup is contested by the champions of each of the five golf leagues in the North East – the North Northumberland League, Hadrian League, Newcastle and District League, North Durham Union and the Teesside and District Union.

During the week leading up to this year’s tournament, three players withdrew from the seven-man Goswick team (the best six strokeplay scores count in the Dixon Cup) and it may be relevant the venue was 112 miles away, at Saltburn-by-the-Sea on Teesside.

Goswick felt unable to divulge the reasons given for the unprecedented spate of late withdrawals, although the secretary, David Brigham, said: “We had to cancel a minibus we had booked to leave at 7.30am for a journey that took two-and-a-half hours each way.

“It became impossible to find replacements so quickly with so many players withdrawing in such a short space of time so near to the event.” What should have helped was that the league Goswick would have represented, North Northumberland, is the only one among the five in the region which involves clubs fielding two teams.

Brigham said: “I had worked my way through all our A and B team squad players and the number I had tried was somewhere around double figures when I decided to withdraw the team, which needed high standard players for a scratch tournament.

“We apologised to everyone involved and made sure Saltburn knew in time to adjust their catering figure.”

Goswick have won the Dixon Cup on three occasions – in 1987, 1989 and 1991. Had they played and won this time, they would have drawn level with City of Newcastle as the only clubs to lift the trophy on four occasions.

The organiser of the Dixon Cup, Colin Mussett, also the Hadrian League secretary, said: “It was disappointing, and if distance was an issue, then ironically Saltburn is one of the more direct clubs in the Teesside area to get to from Berwick.

“To be fair to Goswick it was embarrassing both for their club and their team captain. This took something away from the tournament even though, of course, you cannot possibly say what would have happened had Goswick played.

“Whoever won should have been accorded the opportunity to test themselves against the champions of every other league in the region which is what the Dixon Cup is all about, deciding who is the champion team of champion teams.” Wynyard were 15 strokes clear of the field, and an average of 2.5 strokes per player better than the runners-up, South Moor.

The individual winner was Wynyard’s Tony Tomlin, who signed for two-under 68 on a windy day when no other golfer could match par.

SCORES

Wynyard (Teesside & District Union) 438: Tony Tomlin 68, Rob Moon 72, Mike Greener 74, Greg Johnson 74, Ian Robinson 74, Aman Dhillon 76.

South Moor (North Durham Union) 453: David Turner 73, Paul Davison 74, Stuart Nixon 74, Chris Brown 77, Ian McEntee 77, Michael Finlay 78.

Hexham (Hadrian League) 457: Martin Coup 71, Ali Harris 75, Sean Heads 75, Andrew Crawford 77, Josh Stancer 79, Ian Richardson 80.

Tyneside (Newcastle & District League) 458: Roger Martin 74, Kris Rae 75, Dan Thompson 75, Richard Airey 77, Steve Darbyshire 78, Gareth Black 79.

Withdrawn: Goswick (North Northumberland League).

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