It’s finally here, welcome to the 2018 Golf season! First order of business for the busy season is the annual knockouts and the all important draws. Click on the links below to view.
The Final of the gents pairs knockout (Challenge Plate) took place on Saturday 7th October conditions not as ideal as previous weeks singles final with heavy showers regularly disrupting play.
This Years Finalists were, Adam Griffiths 15 Hcp and Dave Peters 13 Hcp against Andy Sayers 8 Hcp and Mal Aird 11 Hcp, a second final in two weeks for Andy having lost in last weeks Challenge Cup against Jamie Hodgkinson.
Helsby was to witness another final of excellent golf with nothing between the two pairs. An opening first hole halved in par was followed by the first of two holes won by Adam and Dave with chip in birdies on the second it was Adam to take his team one up but the redoubtable Andy got it back to all square with a five foot putt birdie on the third. The next two holes were halved with pars before the second chip in, this time by Dave for a birdie two to put his team one up. The next three holes were halved so we went to the back nine with Adam and Dave one up. As often is the case Helsbys own Amen Corner proved crucial in this match and with a major turnaround a par, birdie, par run moved Andy and Mally from one down to two up a decisive move which proved match winning as all the following holes were halved with a close out on the 17th giving Andy Sayers and Mal Aird a two and one victory.
Commiserations to Adam and Dave and congratulations to Andy and Mal winners of Challenge Plate 2017.
Thanks to Brian Stott for referring the final and also to Mike Burton who did an excellent job in the previous weeks Challenge Cup final.
This years finalists were, Jamie Hodgkinson off 2Hcp and Andy Sayers off 8 Hcp both arriving in good form Andy also a finalist in the Challenge Plate Pairs Knockout with Mal Aird.
From the first hole we were to witness one of the best finals played in this prestigious competition at Helsby although the way Jamie started with a par, birdie, birdie blitz to give him a three up lead it did not seem likely. Caddie for the day Mal Vipor Aird informed that Andy always took three holes to get it together and did he just proceeding to birdie the fourth and fifth to get back to one down. The first halved hole followed at the sixth before Jamie hit the birdie trail again with a four at the par five seventh, the eighth and ninth were halved with pars leaving Jamie two up after nine holes. The back nine started again with a masterful pitch from 90 yds to three feet by Jamie to produce yet another birdie to put him three up. At four under gross we were seeing a masterclass but an out of character three putt cost him the eleventh were Andy had a brilliant up and down holing yet another clutch putt from fifteen feet. Normal service resumed at the twelfth with a straight forward birdie for Jamie another masterful pitch to five feet and back to three up. Yet another brilliant fight back from Andy with a nett eagle and birdie at thirteen and fourteen got it back to one down. Fifteen was halved in pars and on the sixteenth we saw one of the best mid irons you could imagine from Jamie leaving almost a tap in putt for a birdie three, nailing it from one sixty yards. At two up to Jamie the seventeenth was crucial with Andy having a shot and hitting a majestic rescue from two hundred yards which in the air looked perfect, unfortunately the shot with adrenaline adding extra yards hit the down-slope of bank to right of green and carried into rough at the back of the green. Andy could only manage to nudge ball forward a few feet followed by a pitch to ten feet a missed putt meant Jamie closed the match with a bogey five to win two and one. A quick check walking down the seventeenth showed fourteen birdies had been achieved by both players. A quite magnificent achievement and a match neither deserved to lose but congratulations to Jamie Hodgkinson our Challenge Cup Matchplay Champion for 2017.
Helsby entered the Senior Team Knockout for first time this year and achieved success in the first match played achieving a 3 to 2 success at home against Dukinfield.
The competition requires teams of five pairs aged over 55 yrs and above playing Fourball better ball Matchplay.
Brian Stott and Tommy Farr won 4 and 3
Phil Barker and Chris Ward won 3 and 2
Mike Kelleher and Ken Bewley won 3 and 2
Due to the away team given the result if match halved, the final two pairs of Roger Horton and Peter Simpson, Graham Arnold and Graham Cheesbrough finished all square against Dukinfield pairs giving the away pairs the points.
Altogether a great result for Helsby and the draw for the second round pits us at home against Birchwood.
No rest for the wicked as both draws for the Challenge Cup and Plate have now been released. This year thanks to the clubs awesome new ClubV1 system the knockouts will be visible online via HowDidIDo as well as via the traditional sheets in the looker rooms. Results are still to be posted by the winning player following their match on the locker room sheets.
73 entrants this year will battle it our for one of Helsbys Major prizes. 18 randomly drawn competitors will be contesting a prelim before joining the remaining 55 golfers in round one. Defending champion, Charlie Fletcher comes up against the formidable Alistair McCarey with last years runner up facing the dangerous David Bunting. The captain faces off against John Burke with Captain Elect Graham Poland facing Jim Jones in the 1st round proper.
44 teams head into this years battle without the defending champions or the beaten finalists. Perhaps Winter League finalists Steve Green & Chris Davies will enjoy another run but they will first need to get past Phil Jones and Wilkinson.
The Draw for the Challenge Cup can be viewed Here
The Draw for the Challenge Plate can be viewed Here
Another year and another run at the Manchester and District Golf Alliance City Glass Foursomes began on a day better suited to duvets and central heating.
After last Years abysmal defence of the title Helsby won in 2015, new City Glass captain Alan Rigby has certainly learnt from past experiences. With just 3 of the victorious 2015 side remaining Rigby has wielded the axe to completely redesign and refresh the team for a 2017 charge towards Blackley Golf Club, home of this Years final.
The first hurdle to overcome was another home preliminary round and another contest against Werneth Golf Club. After bacon butties and pleasantries on the putting green both teams headed down to the 1st to get this Years competition started.
First up for Helsby was the much fancied pairing of Denver Brazier and Jeff Hughes – This match wasn’t as easy going as the result suggested with a 3 hole losing streak at 7,8 and 9. Class eventually shone though however with solid driving from Brazier and good putting on the back nine by Hughes, Helsby overcame their opponents to claim a 3&2 victory
Dean Letford & Nathan Kennedy were next up starting off with a hard fought half in 6’s on the 1ST after both drives hung out wickedly right in the strong wind. The 1st set the story of the front 9 with another half in 9’s on the 4th. It wasn’t till late in back nine that both players clicked and started to enjoy the alien format, finishing their debut as 4&2 winners.
Jaime Hodgkinson and Simon Pay was another new team for 2017. The low kids did their job coming up 2 and 1 winners but should have closed the match a lot earlier – but thats kids for you.
Geoff Maher and John Sowerby didn’t know each other from Adam before the match but with both showing strong form over the Winter and their laid back nature this looked like a strong new partnership. Up against an “over cheerful “Werneth captain and a 1 handicapper with a resemblance to Andy “Beef ” Johnston, Maher & Sowerby did their utmost throughout but would surrender on the 16th with a 3&2 loss. The First date didn’t go to plan.
Mal Aird and Martin Wood are seasoned veterans and never fail to impress. Both are surely guaranteed their place in the next round after their no nonsense 4&3 win.
Steve Green and Chris Davies got underway with nuclear sub officer Davies splitting the fairway before seeing their early lead evaporated after losing 4 holes in the space of 5 thru the middle of the course. However never panicking knowing they had shots in hand and an ever improving appreciation of foursomes golf Green & Davies rallied to claim a 2&1 win.
Paul Collins and Roger Horton teed off in the Anchor match. Newbie Collins was a bag of nerves going into this match but had no need to be after watching a mammoth drive by the opposition of all 6 yards off the first!! Horton, as smooth as his bald head and solid as ever steered this partnership to a 3&1 victory.
So Helsby took the tie with a hugely impressive 6-1 scoreline and now await the next round draw in early April.