This is my final report after 3 years as Seniors Captain, the time has flown over and I will be officially handing over to Keith McAllister at the AGM on Wednesday 8th November.
2/4 A" rusty" performance at South Shields saw us lose 5-1 in a very enjoyable match which over the years we have always done well in. The course was in top condition and we were well looked after as always.Thank you again Keith for organising this.
8/4 The Annual fixture against the County Lady Vets was played in glorious weather at Seaton Carew. A request for extra courtesy shots was agreed in the hope ( according to Aileen Carter their Captain ) to make it a tight match! Both Teams played some excellent golf, the Ladies winning 6-0. I am pretty sure Keith has already opened negotiations for next season, I suspect we will not be as generous !!
24/4 Peter Dewar organised, courtesy of Wearside G.C. a Team get together, where those available played a stableford in the afternoon, and others joined us later for a bite to eat followed by a Team Meeting. This proved to be a big success , where Peter and myself were able to set the scene and cascade information for the improved arrangements for Team matches and also distribute the new kit. Again my thanks to Pulman ( VW, SEAT & SKODA ) for their excellent sponsorship.
15/5 First County match of the season saw us host Cheshire at Brancepeth Castle. After leading at half time, we were 6.5 - 3.5 up with 4 matches to finish. Cheshire showed their mettle and in a very close finish took 7 out of the remaining 8 points to beat us 10.5 - 7.5.
26/6 Yorkshire away at Howley Hall. We were beaten 13.5 - 4.5 and whilst this looked like a heavy defeat, 10 out of the 12 matches were very tight, furthermore I was shocked to be told by Peter that the total handicaps of their 12 players added up to 6 !! No wonder they won the League unbeaten and also the Big 6.
24/7 Next up a local derby with Northumberland at The Cathedral, Ramside. We hit top form winning 13-5, this was sweet revenge having lost 10-8 away from home in the previous 2 years.
31/7 Lancashire away at Haydock Park saw us well beaten 14-4 by last years Champions. In our defence 9 matches out 12 were very close, shades of Yorkshire. This proves to me that we are closing the gap on the top teams even if the results are not quite there if that makes sense. It is worth mentioning our opposition fielded 2 England Senior Internationals both playing off plus 1.4.
21/8 In the last match of the season we hosted Cumbria at South Shields, and produced a well deserved win 11.5 - 6.5 another very good result with confidence levels high. The final league placings saw Durham in 4th place, with Northumberland in 3rd with the same points tally but edging us on "goal difference." I kept thinking back to the 1st match of the season and ...... what if ?
The County Seniors Championship was held at Houghton le Spring on 19 & 20/7 with the new format of the top 12 gross scores and ties going into a second round. At the end of 36 holes David Conway and Mike Baker tied, with David taking the Championship after a thrilling 5 hole play off. Congratulations and well done David.
5/9 The Big 6 was held at Arcot Hall, all 6 Northern Counties take part as well as the Isle of Man. Torrential rain fell during the previous evening and continued until lunch time on the actual day of play. I for one did not expect to see 36 holes played, however the Greens staff did a fantastic job and all matches started on time. As mentioned earlier in this report Yorkshire took the honours closely followed by Lancashire. Despite some thorough preparations Durham were not at their best and sadly finished 6th. I have to take my hat off nevertheless to the players who represented us and stuck to their task and as always gave 100%. I can ask for no more.
Finally my sincere thanks to the Squad for their efforts and supporting the County at Senior level, I am sure next year will be a good one, and Keith will be looking forward to taking over the reigns. It would be remiss of me not to mention the help and support of our Chairman, Geoff Dunn and Secretary Peter Dewar, they have been real stalwarts.
Best regards, Gilbert.