Golf: Cornwall win Channel League title for first time in 16 years
AN emphatic victory on Welsh soil saw Cornwall crowned 2013 Channel League champions for the first time in 16 years on Sunday.
Narrowly leading Glamorgan 3-2 after the morning foursomes, the Duchy swept to the title with a dazzling performance in the afternoon singles, winning seven of the 10 matches to close out a memorable 101/2-41/2 victory at Radyr Golf Club on the outskirts of Cardiff.
For captain Steve Rickard, who ironically was in charge of the team the last time Cornwall won the league back in 1997, it was a personal triumph.
"I'm delighted for the boys," he said. "Everyone has played their part during the season, not only in this match but those who played in earlier matches.
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"We've developed a great team spirit in a predominantly young squad, which bodes really well for the future of Cornish golf.
"It's always difficult to win your away matches in this league, but we've managed to do that twice in three attempts this season, which is why we've deservedly won the title."
With Tom Fox (China Fleet) and Matt Richards (West Cornwall) unavailable, Rickard gave debuts to St Enodoc's Rob Davies and Adam Curtis (Bude and North Cornwall) and both players rose to the occasion, contributing three and a half points out of four between them to the cause.
In ideal golfing conditions Richard Jasper (Launceston) and Josh Greenaway (Bowood Park) halved the top foursomes before Perranporth pair Conor Wilson and Chris Fleming were defeated 4&3.
But Joe Yorke (St Mellion) and Chris Johnston (Perranporth) levelled the match score with a one hole win over former Cornwall county player and Welsh international Ben Westgate and his partner Brent O'Neill.
St Enodoc's ever reliable Joe Cruse and his clubmate Davies recorded the biggest win of the day (7&5) before Curtis and Sandy Kirton (Perranporth) had to settle for a half when their opponents holed a long putt on the last green.
In the top singles a valiant fightback by Greenaway from four down after eight holes was to no avail as he eventually lost on the final hole. But after that it was all Cornwall, with wins by Jasper and Wilson putting Cornwall 5-3 ahead.
Up against Westgate, Johnston went three up after five holes and never looked back on his way to an important 4&3 win. Cruse's customary win by the same margin included a brilliant eagle at the par 5 eighth.
When Yorke came back from one down to win his match on the last green and Davies defeated Welsh boys' champion Kyle Harman 2&1, it was time for Rickard and his team to celebrate as the match and the title was finally theirs.
Despite defeat for Kirton, a 2&1 win by Curtis and a half from Fleming were the icing on the cake as Cornwall accumulated 71/2 points from the afternoon's play, more than enough to bring the Channel League crown back to the Duchy.
Cornwall scores: Foursomes – Josh Greenaway & Richard Jasper halved; Conor Wilson & Chris Fleming lost 4&3; Joe Yorke & Chris Johnston won 1 up; Joe Cruse & Rob Davies won 7&5; Adam Curtis & Sandy Kirton halved. Singles – Greenaway lost 1 down; Jasper won 3&1; Wilson won 3&2; Yorke won 1 up; Johnston won 4&3; Cruse won 4&3; Davies won 2&1; Curtis won 2&1; Kirton lost 5&3; Fleming halved. Overall match score: Glamorgan 41/2, Cornwall 101/2.
Cornwall junior champion Harry Hall retained his unbeaten record playing for England Under-16s when he won both his foursomes and singles matches in his country's convincing 111/2-31/2 victory over Scotland at St Andrews' Castle course on Sunday.
The talented teenager from West Cornwall teamed up with Jamie Li to win their morning foursomes 4&3 as England swept into a 5-0 lead at lunch.
In the afternoon Hall, playing the anchor role, continued his winning ways with another convincing 4&3 victory as England ran out comfortable winners.
Hall, who has now won all his games in the four matches has played for England over the past two seasons, will be hoping to continue his winning streak when he plays for England Under-16s against Ireland at Portmarnock this weekend.
This season's Frank Wills Salver competition gets under way this weekend with 15 first round matches.
Holders St Enodoc open their campaign against Mullion at Tehidy Park on Saturday, while beaten finalists Tehidy take on St Austell at Truro on Sunday.
First round matches. Saturday – St Enodoc v Mullion at Tehidy Park (10.30am start); Truro v Praa Sands at Killiow (9.30am); Porthpean v Lostwithiel at Looe (12pm); West Cornwall v Radnor at Praa Sands (9am); Launceston v Lanhydrock at Merlin (10am); Bude & N Cornwall v Treloy at Bowood Park (12.30pm); Killiow v Looe at Newquay (9.30am).
Sunday – Falmouth v China Fleet at St Austell (9.30am); St Mellion v Whitsand Bay at China Fleet (12pm); Tehidy Park v St Austell at Truro (10am); Merlin v Point at Polzeath at St Enodoc (8.30am); Clowance v Trethorne at Lanhydrock (12.24pm); Newquay v Trevose at Perranporth (11.30am); Perranporth v Bowood Park at Point at Polzeath (10am); Cape Cornwall v Budock Vean at Mullion (11.15am).
St Austell's Tracey Peers, playing off her 12 handicap, defeated Brenda Williamson (Lanhydrock) to win the Cornwall Ladies' Vice-President's Cup in a hard fought final at Carlyon Bay on Friday.
Williamson, in receipt of 12 shots, went one up after five holes, but Peers won the next three to herself go one up at the turn. She continued to dominate, winning the 11th, 13th,and 15th to close out the match 4&3.
To reach the final Peers beat Norma Richards, Melanie Byrne and Pamela Stanley in the West Division, while Williamson had defeated Judith Mott, Eugenie Knight and Angela Barrett in the East Division.
The Perranporth trio of Jan Sargeant, Jenny Potter and Nikki Hodge took the spoils in the CLCGA's popular end-of-season Jubilee California Scramble at St Mellion last Wednesday.
On an overcast day with occasional showers 30 teams from 18 clubs took part in the event to raise funds for the county captain's charities. Just over £700 was raised from the day to be divided equally between the Air Ambulance and Myeloma UK.
Results: 1, Jan Sargeant, Jenny Potter, Nikki Hodge (Perranporth) net 64.9; 2, Beverley Adams, Pearl Carne, Maggie Holmes (Carlyon Bay) 65.7; 3, Jan Harrison, Barbara Munton, Liz Hicks (Launceston) 68.2. Nearest the pin at 3rd, Jenny Potter; at 5th, Irene Rosevear (Carlyon Bay); at 7th, Patricia Davies (Trevose); at 14th, Maggie Holmes; at 16th, Gina Mitchell (Killiow).
Cornwall Under-14 Girls had four Stableford points to spare in defeating Cornwall Under-12 Boys for the second successive year in their annual encounter at Truro recently.
The format was 10 singles played off full handicap, with the top seven scores to count for each team.
Top scorer for the girls' team was Olivia Trewhella (Truro) with 39 points, but top scorer on the day was Mullion's Rhys Kerton with a fine 43.
Truro has become the 14th golf club in Cornwall to achieve Golf Mark status and is also recognised as a Sport England Club Mark facility.
The club has a fine structure for juniors and beginners with 45 junior members, 12 of whom have played for the county's boys' and girls' teams.
The club plans to use the £300 junior development grant available to all Golf Mark clubs to provide free taster sessions as it bids to further increase its junior membership.
Advanced PGA professional Ian Harris has joined the coaching staff at Hayle Golf Range where he is currently providing tuition on Friday evenings and Sunday mornings.
He will combine teaching at the golf range with his current role as head professional at Mullion Golf Club and joins Hayle resident pro Wayne Graham in providing a range of value for money lessons for the beginner golfer right through to the single figure handicap player.
Lessons are now available seven days a week including evenings. For more information and to book, Hayle Golf Range can be contacted on 01736 753655.