SANDY Twynholm continues to show the young stars of Northumberland he is still a force to be reckoned with after narrowly losing to eventual winner Nick Maddison in the county championship at Westerhope.
Having finished runner-up in the County 72-hole Strokeplay Championship, the Morpeth player led the qualifiers for the County Championship, winning the Renwick Memorial Medal.
But he lost narrowly to Maddison from the City of Newcastle in the semi-finals and county captain Kevin Cademy-Taylor said: “Nicky was a model of consistency all week with a superb display of ball striking and short game shots.”
The runner-up was Slaley Hall’s Kris Gray, who continues to impress year on year. The final was very tight with Maddison needing three consecutive birdies to square the match midway through the afternoon round. He took control on the 11th hole and then never put a foot wrong to win two up.
Cademy-Taylor added: “If Nicky did miss a green his superb short game left the ball stone dead almost every time. He is a great champion.”
THERE was no joy for Northumberland and Durham in the Northern Counties Championship – known as the Big Six – at Wallasey.
The six-man team strokeplay event was held midweek for the first time and Northumberland will feel reasonably pleased with third place behind winners Lancashire, who finished a record 30 shots clear of Yorkshire.
Northumberland were just two shots further back on 874 with Walker Cup player Chris Paisley leading the way with 70 69, just three shots off the best individual total of Lancashire’s Mark Young who had 69 67.
It was not a good day for Durham who finished last on 903, five shots adrift of the Isle of Man to are, traditionally, the back markers.
NORTHERN COUNTIES CHAMPIONSHIP (Wallasey):
842 Lancashire; 872 Yorkshire; 874; Northumberland (Simon Lee 68 74, Mark Penny 78 78, Kris Gray 73 72, Phil Ridden 874 70, Sean Heads 74 75, Chris Paisley 70 69); 879 Cheshire; 883 Cumbria; 898 Isle of Man; 903 Durham (Graeme Marchbank 73 74, Michael Curry 77 71, Gareth Cooper 74 78, Richard Walker 75 81, James Simpson 72 75, Callum Tarren 75 77).
Yorkshire did the double when their ladies team won the County Match Week at Carlisle.
They booked their place in this month’s County Finals at Kedleston Park, Derbyshire, and will join Dorset, Hertfordshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire and Sussex.
The victory gives Yorkshire an opportunity to enhance their national record. They have been English Counties Champions 10 times and have additionally once shared the title. They last won in 2008 and that was their fifth successive success in this competition.
For Northumberland, Grace Anderson and Nicola Haynes achieved their first County Badge for three wins and Sarah Phillips achieved her 10th win in Match Week competition and got her gold badge. Sadly, Northumberland finished fifth and Durham sixth and last.
ZILLAH Maxwell won the Durham County heat of The Journal Ladies Trophy, but will miss the Grand Final.
Two months ago she booked a holiday to Oberammergau for the world famous Passion Play and, as the 73-year-old put it: “This only comes round every 10 years and it’s something I really don’t want to miss.
“Some friends of mine went in 1960 and they said it was absolutely wonderful, something I just had to experience.”
The 23-handicapper from the Boldon club signed for a nett 66 at Roseberry Grange, three shots clear of Bishop Auckland’s Betty Tinkler in second place.
“It was just one of those days,” said Zillah. “Everything went my way out on the course and all the putts dropped.”
Her absence from the Grand Final at Close House on September 9 left a vacancy that will be filled by the seventh-placed player in the heat, Pat Coxon of Houghton-le-Spring.
Roseberry Grange’s first county event produced a qualifier from among the ranks of their members, Susan Dinning. The six players from Durham join another six in the Grand Final, already qualified from Northumberland.
DURHAM HEAT RESULTS:
1 Zillah Maxwell (Boldon) 89-23=66, 2 Betty Tinkler (Bishop Auckland) 104-35=69, 3 Lesley Maddison-Stokes (Darlington) 98-28=70, 4 Caz Fell-Smith (Durham City) 85-13=72, 5 Litz Stephenson (Castle Eden) 97-25=72, 6 Susan Dinning (Roseberry Grange) 92-19=73.
SENIORS ON FORM
The Northumberland Seniors team continued their run of good form in the 2010 County Match series with an impressive 13-5 victory over a very strong Lancashire side at Ponteland.
The match was all square following the morning greensomes but an impressive performance in the afternoon four balls led to a win ny10-2.
Tim Bull, the Northumberland captain, said: “I’m absolutely delighted with this impressive display from the team against a very strong Lancashire side. This gives us a solid foundation for the games to come”
Northumberland then continued their run of excellent form with a very tight win against a very experienced Yorkshire side at the Northumberland Club.
Leading with a narrow one-point advantage after the morning greensomes, Northumberland prevailed, to win the match 9½-8 1/2 with the afternoon action being shared with three wins each.
Special mention must go to Mike Fleming and Alan Ross who came back from two down with three holes to play to win the match on the final green.
A win at 16 was followed by Mike Fleming holing a superb bunker shot for a birdie three at the 17th to square the match and Alan Ross showed his skill with the putter on the 18th to role in a 30-footer for a birdie to clinch the match and ultimately the overall result.
aptain Tim said afterwards: “I am delighted with this fighting performance to pip a strong Yorkshire team at the post, congratulations to my team on a well-deserved result.”