Banbridge teams come close but are runners up in the Ava Shield

Banbridge entered two teams in the Ava Shield in 2014 attempting to replicate the success of last year.

They came oh so close but in the end had to make do with the runners-up medals as Carnlea held on for a narrow final victory.

It’s a great competition for Under 16 juveniles and a great format of nine holes stroke play with four teams qualifying for semi-finals and a final also over nine holes.

This has been an enduring format for almost 50 years and a great introduction to team competitions for many players across the province.

The first of the Banbridge teams played superbly in qualifying with Mathew Young and Mathew Elliot both scoring 39, Patrick McNiff a 41, Rory McMullan and Christopher Burns both round in 46 for the nine holes. This led the qualifiers by five shots on 165.

For next Banbridge team made a nervous start with some big scores on the early holes.

However, they steadied the ship and Jack McKerr, Rory McNiff, Joel Reid, Mathew Doyle and Mathew Burns had a four card total of 182.

Unfortunately, this missed out on qualification by a mere two shots. Everyone could have improved by the two shots needed over the nine holes but this was a great performance none the less.

In the semi final against a confident Donaghadee, Mathew Elliot played well for a two and one victory, Rory McMullan was back to his best with a two and one victory and Patrick McNiff delivered a four and two victory to put the leading qualifiers into the final.

There, Banbridge played Carnlea and struggled over the first few holes.

Only Christopher Burns was ahead early on and he held on to win by one hole.

Patrick McNiff got into his stride again and completed a great debut with another victory by two and one.

Rory McMullan never recovered from a poor start and Mathew Elliot was also on the wrong end of a two and one scoreline.

Mathew Young was two down with three to play but won two holes and was back to level going down the last. Advantage was swinging to Banbridge but credit to the Carnlea player who made a solid par to seal victory.

Another worthwhile and exciting day for all 10 players who completed for Banbridge, well done.