THE 2010 Golf North East Gents Match Play Pairs Tournament reached a dramatic conclusion at Ramside Hall Golf Club.
Douglas Ellison and Richard Mellor from Slaley Hall Golf Club triumphed in this well-established regional knockout competition.
The competition began with the preliminary round back in April, with 53 teams playing for a place in the first round. Following a further four rounds, Ellison and Mellor made it through to the semi-final stage where they were joined by Dave Slipper and Paul Angel from Gosforth and Tynemouth Golf Clubs; Malcolm Lumsden and Richard White from Wallsend Golf Club; and the Catterick pairing of Anthony Martin and Andrew Lincoln.
The semis were both due to be played at Linden Hall but unfortunately, Slipper and Angel couldn’t make it on the day resulting in a rearranged match played at Slaley Hall against Ellison and Mellor.
Although the Slaley team had a home advantage, they did make tough work of it securing a place in the final with a narrow two-hole victory.
The other semi went ahead as scheduled at Linden Hall between Wallsend and Catterick where a poor start by Lumsden and White left them with a mountain to climb.
Four down after the first four holes, the Wallsend team did manage to halve the deficit by the turn and by the 12th, Catterick had a slender 1 up advantage. The Catterick team then went onto win the 14th and following a miscalculation by White on the 16th when he picked up his ball marker when he had a putt to halve, the match was conceded to Martin and Lincoln 3 and 2.
On paper, this year’s final at Ramside Hall was always going to be a very tight match – Mellor (handicap 8), Ellison and Martin (handicaps 9) and Lincoln (handicap 10).
The first nine holes played over the shorter Cathedral course were scrappy to say the least with a number of holes halved in bogey, and although Slaley went one up at the 7th, Catterick hit back immediately winning the 8th with a nett par. And with the 9th halved in par, the match reached the turn all square.
On the back nine played on the much longer Princes course, where a cracking drive from Mellor left him within easy reach of the 10th green where a par was good enough to restore their lead.
With both Slaley players finding water at the next, Catterick won that one and finally at the short par 3 12th, Ellison found his touch on the greens and holed a putt from eight feet for birdie.
This appeared to stir Catterick into action and they went onto win the 13th and 14th, to give them a one up advantage. Mellor then holed a good 20-footer for birdie at the 15th to square the match, and with the next two holes halved in par, the pressure on the players was becoming more and more apparent.
The final hole on the Princes course is a 538-yard par 5 and both Slaley players reached the green in regulation. Unfortunately, Martin found two bunkers and it was left to his partner to try and salvage something from the match. Lincoln did reach the back edge of the green in three but his approach putt slipped agonisingly five feet past to leave a tough uphill putt to take the match into extra holes.
With Ellison making par, Lincoln’s putt to share appeared to be going in but it hit the lip and horseshoed out . . . a one up victory to Ellison and Mellor to become the 2010 Golf North East Gents’ Match Play Champions.
The presentation was arranged by Golf North East’s Paul Corney, together with Ramside Hall’s Kevin Jackson who presented the trophies.
Route to the finals
Douglas Ellison and Richard Mellor (Slaley Hall)
Preliminary Home beat Tynedale 6 & 5
Round 1 Home beat Newcastle United/Heworth 2 & 1
Round 2 Home beat Newbiggin 2 & 1
Round 3 Away beat Goswick 3 & 2
Round 4 Home beat Ryton 3 & 2
Round 5 Semi beat Gosforth/Tynemouth 2 up
Round 6 Final beat Catterick 1 up
Anthony Martin and Andrew Lincoln (Catterick)
Preliminary Away beat Richmond 3 & 2
Round 1 Home beat Teesside 4 & 2
Round 2 Away beat Stressholme 1 up
Round 3 Home beat Eaglescliffe 2 & 1
Round 4 Home beat Gosforth 1 up
Round 5 Semi beat Wallsend 3 & 2
Round 6 Final lost to Slaley Hall 1 down