John Kennedy calls an end to record-breaking county career

John Kennedy brought down the curtain on a stellar county career in Durham’s final match of the season against Lancashire at Darlington Golf Club.

The match was his 109th for Durham – having made his debut as a 16-year-old in May 1986 against Cheshire. He was given a rousing send off by his county teammates and officials, and responded by winning his morning foursomes 4&3 alongside partner Ryan Blemmings. Durham trailed 4-2 after the foursomes and Lancashire went on to complete an impressive 14-4 victory with a dominant performance in the singles – John being edged out by one hole to be denied a fairytale finish.

“I’ll admit it was a bit emotional,” said John, “but the timing feels right to call it a day.”

While he’s called it a day in county colours, it’s not the end of the line for his elite golf career as he would like to focus on regional and national senior events next season.

“I’m 55 in May and I’d like to play a bit more seniors’ golf. The English Seniors is at Brancepeth Castle next year and I’d definitely like to have a go at that as well as a couple of other national events.

“I’m also set to become vice-captain at Consett, and the club has asked me to be president – president John Kennedy has a nice ring to it. The club has been fantastic to me over the years and it will be great to be able to put something back in.”

John was Durham County Player of the Year when he won his 100th cap and is two-time winner of the County Matchplay crown – triumphing in 1996 and 2021 to become the oldest winner at 52.

He could have had more county caps had it not been for a nine-year hiatus when he stepped back from playing for the county because of work commitments. He returned to the fold after his wife Louise said he should consider playing county golf again, and his consistency took him past Tony McLure’s record of 101 caps.

“I’ve made loads of friends down the years because of golf, and I hope that continues,” added John.