It was Philip Strong’s Team One that won Banbridge Golf Club’s Winter League, but only after the most dramatic of conclusions in the final round.
Team Eight could only draw their final match against Team Five so that dropped them into third place. Teams One and Two both won their matches and finished the campaign with 18 points each. The deciding factor was the result of the match between these two teams back in round three. Philip Strong’s Team One won that game by 8 points (225-217) so they were declared the 2013 champions.
It was a deserved win. They had the top team score four times out of seven rounds. Their accumulative score of 1578 points was easily the best of the eight teams involved. They had a total of 42 scores of 30 points or better and every member contributed to that achievement.
William McCandless had six scores in the 30’s. Michael Robinson had a stunning 42 pointer in round one, followed by four 30+ scores. Malcolm Hanna and Mel Hamill both had five scores in the 30s. Gerry Blevins (who picked up a hole-in-hole along the way), Brian Boyd, Paul Doherty and their captain, Philip Strong, all had 4 scores in the 30s. Colin McKinney and Willie Proctor broke the 30 points barrier twice while Merton McDowell did it once.
All in all, it was a wonderful team performance.
They sealed victory when they defeated Team Seven 202-188 in the final round. William McCandless and Malcolm Hanna were the top scorers with 30 points each. Willie Proctor, Gerry Blevins and captain Philip Strong all made major contributions with 29 points apiece. Paul McCullough and Shane Crossan caught the eye for Team Seven with 30 points each.
Team Two, captained by Sean McGreevey, won their final match against Team Four 202-180. Despite only losing once in seven rounds, Team Two finished runners-up. Kieran Doherty and Kenny Arlow were their top scorers with 32 points each. Albert Morrison had 30 and Paul Faulkner had 29. Team Four had a 29 pointer from Sam Wilkinson and a 28 from P.J. Johnston but no 30s. It was just not good enough.
Team Eight, led by Jim Minnis, were leaders or joint leaders of the Winter League for six rounds. They had a tough final match against Team Five, led by Joe Glass. It finished level, 186 points each. That meant that Team Eight dropped to third place overall. It was rather sad. Joe’s Team Five finished fourth. Brian Knox and Jim Ledlie both scored 30 points for Team Eight. As for Team Five, Norman Doak had 33 and John Poots had 30.
All credit to Dougie Stevenson’s Team Three who lost their first six matches but didn’t give up. They beat Team Six in the final round 200-192. Eamon McAnarney was their best player with 32 points. Seamus McGrath shot a commendable 30 points. As for team 6, the ever-consistent Alex Clarke had 31 points while Shane Bell had 29.