Top of the league

Dean Bailey rounds up the league golf season

After a long summer of golf, the best clubs in the North East have been crowned league champions for 2016 – from double champions to maiden wins and a breakthrough year with four titles, here’s our round-up of league golf for 2016.

North Durham Union of Golf Clubs League

Ramside Hall lifted the North Durham trophy for 2016; finishing just two points clear of Durham City in division one before going on to win the Dixon Cup, which sees the five league champions face off to be named champion club in the North East.

Played at Ponteland, Ramside’s 450-stroke total was six better than Newcastle & District League champions, and defending Dixon Cup winners, City of Newcastle.

Ramside captain David Heckles, who also saw the club capture the NDUGC Team Strokeplay Championship at George Washington this season as the club’s juniors won the DCJGS League, said: “We are celebrating our 20th anniversary this year and what a season it’s turned out to be.

“I’m so proud of all our team players. We’ve finished runners-up in the last two seasons to Durham City and to come through a nail-biting end to the season and win the league was an amazing experience. We’ve waited a long time to win major honours and we’ve scooped four in the space of three months.

“The Dixon Cup is the pinnacle of amateur team golf in our region and winning it is a brilliant way to round off a record-breaking season for Ramside.”

In the NDUGC League, Heworth finished 10 points clear of South Shields in division two as Crook beat Whickham to the division three title by seven points.

Hadrian League

Close House finally made it to the top of the Hadrian League after four consecutive second place finishes. Led by captain Alan Beenshill, Close House finished ahead of 2015 champions Hexham with 132 points from their 15 games.

Beenshill said: “We’re delighted to win the league for the first time for Close House. We’ve got a great set of hard working players and their commitment has been key to our success this season.

“The players have all worked hard – from the young guys who have shined like Brad Robinson, James Wilson, Ben Crawford and Christian Brown to Nigel Brown, who has been an exceptional player for the team for many years and has given so much to Close House and league golf,” added Beenshill, who also oversaw Close House’s victory in the Davison Cup – the knockout competition played between clubs in the Hadrian and North Northumberland leagues.

Stocksfield finished third with 104 points, one clear of Matfen Hall in fourth place.

Newcastle & District League

City of Newcastle and Phil Ridden repeated their 2015 success in the Newcastle & District League, winning the league title and player of the year trophies.

Ridden picked up 25 points as City won the league with 128 points – beating Whitley Bay by 11.

City captain Simon Bowman said: “To follow up a remarkable season in 2015 with another league title is a fantastic achievement.

“It’s the first time we’ve held onto the league title and that’s down to the strength of our team as a whole, starting with Phil at the top of the order. To have someone of his talent in your team is a huge boost.

“This year was very different to last season, trailing going into the final few weeks rather than leading from the front, but the team were solid through the whole year and got the job done in the last few weeks.”

In a close season, City beat Tyneside 10-2 at Tyneside in week 13 having trailed them throughout the season. Tyneside went on to finish third on 115 points.

Teesside and District Golf League

Wynyard won division one of the Teesside and District Golf League as Hartlepool and Teesside won divisions two and three respectively. Wynyard finished eight points clear of Eaglescliffe as the two clubs ran away from the rest of the division. Billingham and Blackwell Grange finished second in division two and three respectively.

North Northumberland GOLF League

Bamburgh ran away with the North Northumberland Golf League, finishing 15 points clear of Berwick in division one. Magdelene Fields A won division two, 10 points clear of Longhirst Hall as Warkworth won division three by just two points from Magdalene Fields B.