North East Storm to Area Team Victory
The North East stormed to their first victory since 1992 with a convincing 4½ - ½ win over defending champions Renfrewshire in the final of the Moneygate Scottish Area Team Championship at Kinross.
Mike Pocock’s men, comfortably the leading qualifiers in the stroke-play stages, showed their strength in depth this afternoon and never gave Renfrewshire the opportunity of taking a second consecutive title.
The foursomes pairing of Anthony Bews and Bryan Innes, the eldest member of the team by 15 years, picked up where they left off this morning by notching up a 3&2 win over Gordon Stevenson and Bryan Adam in the opening tie. Fraserburgh’s Kris Nicol clinched his match in sensational style, firing a 280-yard 3-wood approach to three feet for an eagle on the 15th to secure the second point with a 4&3 victory over former Amateur Champion Craig Watson.
It was left to Edward Trophy champion Philip McLean to claim the third and decisive point, again finishing off in dramatic fashion with a 40-foot putt for a birdie two at the short fourteenth to give the North East an unassailable lead. Banchory’s Scott Larkin out the icing on the cake with a 4&2 winning margin over the veteran Ronnie Clark, while Hazlehead’s David Law took a half in the final game against the in-form Matthew Clark to round off a superb day in the Kinross sunshine for the North East team.
A delighted captain Mike Pocock proclaimed:
“It feels fantastic to be the first winners of the new format Moneygate Scottish Area Team Championship and we’re thrilled to take the trophy after a long eighteen year wait. We’ve got a talented group of young players in the North East just now and with James Byrne and Mark Halliday on the sidelines, it demonstrates the strength in depth in our area.”
“The boys played great golf all weekend and I can’t thank my players enough for their superb victory. All credit to Renfrewshire for putting up such a great defence of the title and this makes up for our defeat to them in last year’s semi-finals.” he added.
David Law, the reigning Allied Surveyors Scottish Amateur champion, praised the team spirit in the camp:
“We play together a lot so it’s really good to win as a team. There’s a good spirit among the players and I think that showed out on the course. I think we revelled in the pressure of being Championship favourites and we all showed strength in character to deliver on the day. Personally, it’s obviously great to win a third national title but this was very much a team effort.”
“To be level par over ten rounds in the stroke play qualifying demonstrates the consistency of the team and the strength of golf in the North East just now.”
In the third and fourth place play-off match, Lothian’s overcame Ayrshire, also by a 4½ - ½ points margin to clinch the bronze medal.