Leighton hold their nerve to win sudden-death county title

Sam Messenger, Andrew Jenkins, Josh Banwell, County President David Hawkins, team captain Paul Ellam, Adrian Stephenson and Dan Latimer.
Sam Messenger, Andrew Jenkins, Josh Banwell, County President David Hawkins, team captain Paul Ellam, Adrian Stephenson and Dan Latimer.

A five-man squad of Leighton Buzzard golfers won a dramatic sudden-death extra-time play-off to claim a coveted Bedfordshire title marked by a champagne celebration.

Having lost the Mid-Handicap League knock-out final three times in the last nine years, the Leighton team faced undefeated The Bedford in the Sunday shoot-out and returned with the trophy thanks to the steel-hard nerves of their youngest team member.

In what was the eleventh game of the campaign, first man out Dan Latimer finished with a well deserved draw.

With ‘spotters’ Colin Beesley and Stuart Mcleod keeping non-playing Captain Paul Ellam up to date with progress in the other four matches, a six hole win by in-form Andy Jenkins and Sam Messenger fighting back from being two holes down to finish two up, Leighton needed a half in the remaining two matches to lift the trophy.

But with Immediate Past Captain Adrian Stephenson losing on the final hole, and last-man Josh Banwell well beaten, it was up to the 20-year-old former Cedars student to re-load for a sudden-death shoot-out.

And it took former junior club Captain Josh, now a fuel cell technician, just one hole to secure a birdie win that sent the champagne corks popping.

Said team skipper Paul, former manager of the Ashwell Globe junior soccer team: “Five players won the trophy on the day, but 18 were in the squad that got us there. It was a great team effort.”

It was a double celebration for Paul…only days earlier his ‘Ellie’s Heroes’ team beat Mike Manning’s ‘Alickdoo’s’ 112-103 in a battle of the Saturday roll-up-and-play groups.

Five players tied for top spot in the October club Medal, on-form Daniel Latimer getting the verdict on countback from Colin Mcleod, Peter Burgoyne and Keith Brazier after all finished with a nett 67. Mike Bluett and Shane Bentley headed a chasing pack of 109 golfers with nett 69s.

Mike Smith carded 40pts to win the October midweek stableford, two clear of Denis Leitch with Ken Wilson and Andy Walton finishing with 36pts.

Accountant Wilson claimed top spot in the October stableford thanks to a better back-nine score than Andy Tizzard after both finished with 42pts, two clear of third placed Manny Barker with Richard Dale’s 39pts, beating 100 other competitors.

Newcomer Marilyn Myatt shot the lowest score in Leighton Ladies EWGA Medal, qualifier, her nett 76 beating Bronze “B” colleague Barbara Bradley on countback. Virginia Gillett topped Bronze “B” with a nett 85, a shot clear of Ann Gray. Silver Division winner Farida Cerosio shot a nett 78, one clear of runner-up Lynne Newnham, and repeated the result in the October stableford, winning with 36pts, two clear of runner-up Lynne.

Beryl Wood won the Bronze “A” on countback from Alison Shirville after both finished with 32pts, while Joyce Young won Bronze “B” with 32pts, two more than runner-up Virginia Gillett.