Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Northumberland Leading the League

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Northumberland Leading the League

Article excerpt

Byline: By Alan Hedley

Both Northumberland and Durham put together important Northern Counties League wins over the weekend, writes Alan Hedley.

Apart from being a confidence booster going into next Saturday's Northern Counties strokeplay championship at Pleasington, Northumberland's 9.5-8.5 win over Lancashire, their first for 10 years, took them to the top of the table and gives them genuine hopes of ending the Roses domination.

With two wins under their belt Northumberland will be in with a chance of the league title if they can knock over Yorkshire at Bamburgh Castle on July 8 while Durham's runaway 12.5-5.5 win over Cumbria puts them right back in the mix. Durham are also at home to Cheshire in the next round of matches.

After sharing the foursomes 3-3 at Whitley Bay, the singles were a tense affair with Northumberland putting together a good run of results through George Cowan, Andrew Minniken and Chris Paisley, while England cap Shaun Philipson and Craig Wilkinson gained vital halves.

Lancashire battled back and it needed wins from Ross Crowe and Simon Lee, winners of the inter-county foursomes title a few weeks ago, to see Northumberland home.

The decisive match was Crowe's victory over 16-year-old Matthew Nixon, who was making his debut.

Crowe was three up after 11, but Nixon fought back to be one down playing the last only to drive into the rough and he could only trundle it forward some 70 yards.

That cost him the half Lancashire needed to stop Northumberland leapfrogging them to the top of the Northern League as Crowe went on to win two up.

Meanwhile, Durham's debutants did them proud at Beamish Park playing a major role in their Northern Counties League win over Cumbria.

Ian McEntee, Chris Hewitt and, in particular, late call-up Mark Rayson all emerged with 100% records as Durham raced away to a 12. …

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