Northumberland boys’ maiden victory at English County Finals

Northumberland golfers produced a barnstorming finish to win the English Boys’ County Finals by the narrowest of margins from Essex last week.
Northumberland's winning team (credit Leaderboard Photography).Northumberland's winning team (credit Leaderboard Photography).
Northumberland's winning team (credit Leaderboard Photography).

On a day when all four counties – Northumberland, Essex, Leicestershire and Rutland and Gloucestershire – entered the final series in the round robin event with a chance of victory, it was the northern qualifiers who stepped up to the plate.

Northumberland’s 6-3 victory over Gloucestershire was followed up by Essex defeating Leicestershire and Rutland by a margin of 5-4.

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That left both Northumberland and Essex with two wins out of three – the trophy being decided on the number of game points won over the course of three days.

By that calculation, Northumberland took 14.5 game points compared to Essex’s tally of 13.5 and claimed their maiden win at the English Boys' County Finals.

Gloucestershire finished third by virtue of scoring more game points than Leicestershire and Rutland.

The finals were held at the Coxmoor Golf Club in Sutton-in-Ashfield.

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Northumberland can point to four key games of singles on the final day tipping the balance in their favour.

Knowing that they needed to win the top four singles games to stand a chance (the last two singles matches heading Gloucestershire’s way by some margin), Northumberland showed both skill and nerve to get over the line.

All four games were won on the 18th green – and the manner of victory as much as the win itself left team captain Phil Ridden proud as punch.

“The shots those four lads hit under the greatest pressure they’ve faced showed character,” he confirmed.

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“All four hit the par five in two shots to seal their games – it’s unbelievable.

“You expect someone might hit a bad shot under the pressure, but they all stood up to the plate and hit the best shots of their lives.

“I’m over the moon for the nine lads – seven in the team and two reserves. I’m happy for everyone in Northumberland. It’s been a great day and a great fightback.”

Northumberland started the week with a win against Essex before falling to Leicestershire and Rutland.

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On the final day they took the morning foursomes against Gloucestershire by a 2-1 margin and needed one big push in the six afternoon singles to not only win but win well in case the title was decided by game points.

Northumberland’s Morgan Blyth was first over the line in the singles having taken a one hole lead up the last and secured the win against Josh Millington thanks to a birdie four.

After celebrating with his team-mates, Blyth spoke for the Northumberland boys when he said: “Everyone is obviously buzzing.

“There’s been a lot of hard work behind the scenes and to do it with clutch shots is fantastic. None of us can stop smiling.

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“We said before the singles that if we won four of the six we’d have a chance. I just tried to win my match and see what happens from there.

“For a county with not that many clubs and a small budget it’s a great achievement and everyone is just so happy.”