What a way to finish ! Needing 11 points to make sure of staying in Division One we won the first eight games out on the course and with two points for a win any nervousness went away pretty quickly. On paper Rockliffe have the best scratch team in the league.
Their scratch division team’s handicaps last night were plus three, plus three, plus two, plus two, plus one and scratch. Formidable.
In the top match Brad Hildreth was one down at the turn to former professional Dave Kelly but a string of birdies on the back nine saw him home 4 & 3. Tom Lee was in inspired form as he won 5 & 4 against Scott Pocklington and Paul McGrath was rock steady over the last few holes to beat Ian Newell 3 & 2.
What can you say about the Handicap Section ? Under the added pressure of trying to win to avoid relegation we won every game without having to play the last two holes !
It is usual to single out a particular player but that would be wrong because the best player last night was the entire team.
Other results last night meant that Middlesbrough and Cleveland were relegated with Wynyard and Blackwell Grange promoted from Division Two to take their place for next year.
It was a pleasure to be a part of the team this year and we look forward to the end of season get together, details of which will be finalised shortly. Thanks to the catering and bar staff at the club for looking after us so well together with John Dales and his greens staff for presenting the course in great condition for the matches.
Thanks again to the Captain Roy Sigsworth, Vice-Captain Mark Heslop, President Bob Smith and the many members who have supported us at the matches, including away games.
Thanks also to Peter Caswell for the continued support of our team sponsor CaswellsGroup Office Supplies.
Nigel and Neil
The bad news is that we lost 17 -7 at Middlesbrough. The good news is that the average score in the league matches is 17 - 7 to the home team, so when you get 7 points away from home it is not a bad result.
Nice to see Darren Hurst playing in his first game of the season. After being 5 down after 10 holes playing the Middlesbrough Captain, Darren brought it back and had a putt on the 17th to take his match up the last. Performance of the night was undoubtedly Simon Jones plaing in the top match, a 6 & 5 win against Rob Lilley is seriously impressive.
The ever reliable Marc Symington had a great 4 & 2 win and Graeme Reeks then claimed a point after his halved match with Ted Stockdale. With just one match left on the course we only had 5 points and Lee Alexander was all square on the last tee against Niall Bradley. Having won the Stableford the day before Lee was in great form and showed great composure hitting a great drive, a superb pitch to six foot and holes the putt to win 1 up.
If we had lost 19 - 5 to Middlesbrough they would have gained 14 points on us but with Lee's win they only gained 10 points. Those points may well be very significant at the end of the season.
We were due to play Rockliffe at home on Wednesday night but due to the fact England are playing Denmark in the Euro Semi Final it was decided the golf should be suspended so players can watch the England team bring it one step further to home.
Thanks for all the support at the matches.
Nigel & Neil
What a great team spirit shown again by all the lads representing BGC against Eaglescliffe on Wednesday night.
Without key players Brad Hildreth and Craig Bradley we were even more up against it than usual in the ''Scratch Section'' and there was a lot of tight games going down to the last few holes. Steve Hodgson and Tony Littlefair both won comfortably and Lee Alexander finished remarkably coming from 4 down with 5 to play to all square going down the last hole and thats how his match finished.
It was a different story for the ''Handicap Section'', with comfortable wins for Marc Symington, Graeme Reeks, Graeme Nimmo and Taylor Briggs. Dave McGreal also over came a slight wobble on the back 9 to eventually win 2 up. Unusually an out of sorts Ben Hanson lost his match (only his 2nd loss out of his last 14 games, which were all wins).
Now the hard work starts with 4 away games out of the last 6 remaining league games .
Neil & Nigel
Best result of the season and what a performance from the ''Scratch Section''. Brad Hildreth & Simon Jones leading the way with impressive 4&2 wins in the top 2 matches. Tony Littlefair continued his great form with a comprehensive 7&5 win over Scott Phillips.
Craig Bradley was 1 down after 14 holes but great play over the last four holes, including a 2 on the 16th, saw him edge out the long hitting Jake Ford. Top class win for Tom Lee as well. Tom had been up most of the way in his match with Lewis Marr but was all square with 2 to play. A miraculous up and down from the left-hand trap on 17 kept the match level, going up the 18th. Simple after that. Hit a drive 300 yards down the middle, hit a sand iron stone dead and win one up.
The ever reliable trio of Lee Alexander, Marc Symington and Graeme Nimmo kept the points rolling in and then Dave McGreal, making his debut for the team, finished the evening off in fine style.
Next up is Eaglescliffe at home next Wednesday when all support is welcome.
Nigel & Neil
This was always going to be a tough match against a very good Castle Eden team. The handicaps of the players in their ''Handicap Section'' were 1, 1, 2, 3, 4 & 4. Thats better than most teams have in their ''Scratch Section''! We also had a couple of key members of our team unavailable but there were still some notable performances.
Great 5 & 4 win for Tony Littlefair, a valuable half from Btad Hildreth in the top match against Ryan Dixon and what a win for Lee Alexander who birdied the last to beat Keiran Hall 1 Up. 15 year old Keiran equalled the Castle Eden course record on the weekend with a 7 under par 63, congratualtions Keiran.
In the ''Handicap Section'' there were wins for the ever reliable Graeme Reeks and Taylor Briggs and normal service was resumed as Ben Hanson was back to winning ways.
Although it was our first home defeat of the season a number of the other games could have gone either way and a 13-11 loss was not a disaster.
Next up is Seaton Carew at home on Wednesday when all support is welcome.
Nigel & Neil
We keep saying that all the games in Div. 1 this year are difficult but an away game at the reining champions and current league leader Bishop Auckland was always going to be very tough especially with 8 of our squad unavailable.
There were some notable performances. Andy Hood & Paul Coffey, playing their first games of the season, had really good wins 6 & 4 and 4 & 3 respectively (selection dilemma coming up) and a great half from Phil Earl which included the shot of the evening on the 17th, stiffing his approach to the green. Pride of place, not for the first time this season goes to Simon Jones for his 3 & 2 win against Jamie Birkbeck. Jamie loses home matches at roughly the same frequency Halleys Comet passes by. Brilliant.
Josef Bunn played well and was unlucky to lose his match finally going down to a birdie at the 16th and Neil Kerr, also playing his first game of the season, lost on the last green to Richard Reed.
Once of the problems of praising the lads for their point scoring is that it overlooks the good golf played by the who got beaten. Bishop Auckland have a very strong team, particulary in the ''Scratch Section''. It is a very difficult place to get anything so 7 points is very acceptable.
Next up is Castle Eden at home next Wednesday when all support is welcome.
Nigel & Neil
Another good result last night agaisnt a very strong Cleveland containing former BGC legend Kev Fawcett.
Tom Lee stepped up to the No.1 position and had a very hard game against Cameron Wallace (handicap +3). Tom played great golf and was unlucky to lose 3&2 in a match spoilt by the petulance of his opponent. Tony Littlefair ran into the Matthew Robinson Birdie machine but what a performance form the rest of the ''scratch team''. Simon Jones was in great form in a seriously impressive 5&3 win over Cleveland's No.2 Sam Millington. Craig Bradley showed his class by beating Thomas Pegg 4&2 and Lee Alexander won a close match 2&1 against Chris Hood. Arguably, pride of place went to Paul McGrath (if only for the fact that he beat former BGC Champion, raconteur, wit, legend, Kev Fawcett 2&1) Paul was all square with3 to play but a par was good enough to win the 16th and a great birdie at 17 sealed the win. Kev is, and always has been, a perfect gentleman on the course and is friendly and complementary whether he is winning or losing. Others should follow his example.
In the ''Handicap Section'' Ben Hanson lost. Yes, Ben Hanson (12 consecutive wins playing for the team) lost. Shock, horror. Keiran Wrench, following his winning debut for the team last week at Rockliffe, was beaten by Dane Bowmaker. Keiran was looking goodto go 1 up with 3 to play but was on the wrong end of a questionable ruling. The incident unsettled Keiran who went on to lose the hole and the match 2&1.
As usual, however, the rest of the ''Handicap Section'' were brilliant and Graeme Reeks, Greame Nimmo, Marc Symington and Taylor Briggs (the engine room) all won.
Next up is Bishop Auckland who sit top of the table, next Wednesday. Bishop Auckland are the reigning Div.1 Champions and are formidable on their own track. BGC currently sit in 4th place and only 1 pointt behind Eaglescliffe.
Again, it was great to see the members and many players not in the team turning up and giving their support.
Other results form Div.1 last night were:
* Bishop Auckland 14 - Castle Eden 10
* Eaglescliffe 15 - Middlesbrough 9
* Seaton Carew 14 - Rockliffe 10
Nigel & Neil
All the away games in Division 1 this year were always going to be difficult with this fixture as arguably the toughest.
In the opening game of the season, Cleveland went to Rockliffe and were beaten 24-0 so to leave Rockcliffe with 8 points was very acceptable. Rockcliffe have a very strong team, particularly in the ''scratch section'', where all of their players are off plus handicaps. Brad Hildreth was unlucky to lose on the last green against James Rodgers and the rest of the ''scratch section'' went the same way and we lost all 6 matches.
But the tail wagged! Although, Graham Reeks and Marc Symington both lost their matches on the 17th, the 4 remaining matches went to the 18th green and BGC won them all. Ben Hanson made it 3 wins from 3 this season with a 2 up victory over John Clydesdale, Taylor Briggs kept his unbeaten record with a 1 up win over Steve Noble as did Graeme Nimmo by beating Daniel Ridley 2 up. Pride of place goes to Kieran Wrench, playing his first ever match for the team, who was level par after 11 holes and 4 up on David Wilson. He then lost the next 4 holes to be all square with 3 holes to play. But he won the 16th and lost the 17th. Still all square. But then a great drive down the last and a solid iron into the middle of the green under great pressure was enough when David Wilson found the bunker guarding the front of the green. Great debut Kieran!
Next up is Cleveland at home on Wednesday when all support is welcome.
The other results from Division 1 were:
* Bishop Auckland 17 - Cleveland 7
* Castle Eden 12 - Eaglescliffe 12
Again it was great to see the members and many of the players not in the team who turned up to give their support.
Nigel & Neil
Another great result against a very strong Middlesbrough team but for most of the evening it looked like the final score would be even better.
In the ''Scratch Section'' Middlesbrough's team were all off 1 Handicap or better, so there were no easy games. In the top match, Brad Hildreth was unstoppable in his 7&6 win over Stephen Alexander and impressive 5&4 wins followed for Tony Littlefair and Paul McGrath. Simon Jones was all square with 3 to play and looking good to win the 16th until his opponent Tim Mabbot holed out from 10 yards off the green, Simon went on to lose his match.
In the ''Handicap Section'' the lads did not disappoint. 4 wins and 2 halves. Lee Alexander and Craig Bradley had impressive wins 6&4 and 5&3 respectively. Greame Reeks had been 4 up after 7 holes but found himself 1 down with 2 to play against Ben McKie. Simple solution, win the last 2 holes. Ben Hanson is fast becoming the ''go to guy'' and closed his match out on the 18th green. With Marc Symington & Greame Nimmo contributing valuable halves that was 10 point out of a possible 12.
Next up for BGC is arguably the toughest test of the season away to Rockliffe next Wednesday when all support is welcome.
The other result from Division 1 last night were:
* Bishop Auckland 19 - Rockliffe 5
* Seaton Carew 14 - Eaglescliffe 10
Again, it was great to see the Gents Captain and Vice Captain, BGC members and players not in the team who turned up to give the lads their support. Thanks!
Nigel & Neil
Great result in a very tough opening game at Eaglescliffe where we have not done well in the past. I think the last time we got 10 points from a fixture at Eaglesclliffe there was a King on the throne. What was also great to see was our very own Vice Captain, Mark Heslop and many other players not in the team turning up to give their support.
Early signs were not good when the first five results went in the way for Eaglescliffe but then Ben Hanson stooped the rot with a 4 & 3 win over Eaglescliffes' Ben Foster. Wins followed for Simon Jones and Marc Symington (both on the last green) and four halved matches for Tony Littlefair, Graeme Reeks, Lee Alexander & Taylor Briggs.
Next up is a home match against Middlesbrough next Wednesday when all support is welcome.
The other results from Division 1 last night were:
* Middlesbrough 13 - Bishop Auckland 11
* Castle Eden 10 - Seaton Carew 14
* Rockcliffe 24 - Cleveland 0
Rockliffe winning 24-0 against Cleveland!!! What's that all about? Where is our next away match?............Rockcliffe!
Great start lads!
Nigel & Neil