CITY of Newcastle Golf Club has had yet another great season and following on from winning the Newcastle and District League, they have won the highly prized Dixon Cup - their third victory in a row. The superb setting of Chester-le-Street Golf Club in County Durham was the venue for this year's Champion of Champions team event and involved the five winning league teams from the North East region.
The Dixon Cup is a scratch stroke play event, bringing together the winners of the Hadrian League, North Northumberland League, Newcastle and District League, North Durham Union and the Teesside and District Union.
Each club fields a team of seven players with the six best scores to count. In addition, the Presidents Cup is presented to the player with the best individual score on the day.
Having won the Hadrian League this year, Prudhoe fielded their 'Young Guns' and on paper, they looked a good bet for the title.
City of Newcastle topped the Newcastle and District League and following their victories in 2007 and 2008, the team were not going to relinquish their title without a fight. South Moor won the North Durham title and from the south of the region, Saltburn-by-the-Sea Golf Club finished champions of the Teesside Union. And representing North Northumberland, Goswick were looking to win the Dixon Cup for a record fourth time.
But it wasn't to be for Goswick, the transition from links to parkland proved to be a problem, although Alan Potts and Elliot Wilson played well, both scoring 73.
Saltburn appeared to have the same problem with many of the team scoring in the high 70s - their best round of 74 came from Jason Jones.
Prudhoe surprisingly finished in third spot although their three musketeers certainly performed - Andy Scrimshaw 71, Tom Rowland 72 and Danny Shevill 73.
Although fielding a weakened team, South Moor took second place on a score of 447, with five of the team playing very steady golf, all scoring 74 or 75.
But it is low scores that count in this competition and for the third year running, the City of Newcastle players really delivered the goods - Phil Ridden 70, Simon Lee 70, Johnny Todd 73, Neil Elborn and Nicky Maddison 75s, and Simon Coultas 77. Their combined score of 440 won the title by 7 shots - a pretty emphatic victory.
Having both carded 70s, there should have been a head to head play-off between the in-form Ridden (Journal Champion of Champions) and Lee (ZFL Order or Merit winner) for the Presidents Cup.
Unfortunately due to bad light, this was not possible and the result had to be decided on countback. Lee should have taken the title following the shot of the day - a wonderful approach at the par five 5th, which finished just six inches short of an albatross - but a bogey, bogey finish wrecked his chances.
So Ridden was declared the winner, adding to the massive collection of individual and team trophies taken back to City by both him and Lee this season.
TEAMS AND SCORES ON THE DAY (six scores to count):
City of Newcastle - 440
Phil Ridden (70), Simon Lee (70), Nicky Maddison (75), Johnny Todd (73), Neil Elborn (75), Simon Coultas (77) and Ken Cairns (82)
South Moor - 447
Neil Harker Bell (74), Ian Mcantee (73), Michael Finlay (74), David Turner (74), Stuart Nixon (74), Guy Carr (83), and Malcolm Kay (78)
Prudhoe - 452
David Craig (76), Dan Keogh (81), Dan Atkinson (79), Tom Rowland (72), Andy Scrimshaw (71), Dan Shevill (73) and David Gilroy (N/R)
Saltburn-by-the-Sea - 459
Jason Jones (74), Julian Jackson (75), Rob Brown (77), Tony Henderson (83), Colin Gray (77), Andy Birbeck (77) and Noel Emmerson (79)
Goswick - 464
Lewis Fairbairn (75), Allan Rodger (80), Rudi McCulloch (93), Alan Potts (73), Stuart McCreadie (84), Gary Greenaway (79) and Elliot Wilson (73)