Intriguing finals are in prospect at Burghley

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The line up for the final of the men’s Winter League competition at Burghley Park is settled after Sunday’s semi-finals.

During the course of their rounds, players braved rain, sleet, snow, high winds and freezing temperatures, with course closure a possibility at one point as heavy rain led to temporary flooding.

However, all four teams deserve stuck it out to see the matches to a conclusion.

The match which pitted David Jackson and Howard Jones (standing in for Javan Argent) against Stuart Blessett and Martin Ash began early in the day, had the better playing conditions and turned out to be closely contested.

There were never more than two holes between the teams, with Jackson and Jones getting back to all square on the 16th, before Blessett and Ash’s par on 17 saw them take a lead that they never relinquished, winning 1 Up.

The other match, between Yorkshiremen Paul Wilkinson and John Mayman, and Bob Emmins and Chris Bradshaw, suffered the worst of the conditions.

Wilkinson and Mayman were always ahead with Wilkinson having a good day and Mayman’s long range putting proving decisive.

The match ended on the 15th green, with Wilkinson and Mayman winning 4and3.

The final is scheduled for next Sunday, with both teams hoping that they will get somedecent weather at last.

l Men’s A team captain Mark Yarham led his team to an impressive home win against Belton Woods in the second round of the national Mail on Sunday competition last weekend, coming home with a 3½-1½ victory to progress to the next round.

The most competitive match featured Yarham, who was 5up after five holes, level after 10, and ahead on the last two holes to secure a 1up win.

Matt Lem won 4&3, James Grant won 2&1, George Beadle Halved, and Dean Vaughan lost 2&1.

l The Ladies’ season has now also got into gear, with mixed results.

In the Daily Mail Foursomes, Gill Bedford and Hannah Vaughan welcomed opponents from Kettering Golf Club to Burghley, and showed the importance of home advantage by coming out 5&3 winners.

Ladies captain Janet Duff, supported by past captain Jan Devlin, took 29 Burghley Park ladies to Newark on Monday for the first away day of the season.

Players was somewhat apprehensive about the weather after Sunday’s downpours, and it was with great relief that all teams completed the course without even a drop of rain.

The winning team of Kay Hircock, Shirley Caruth and Chris Wright took the honours with 72 points, followed closely by Mollie Plowright, Marie Allwood and Jill Unsworth on 70. Third place was decided on countback, two teams coming in with 68. Mary Sharp, Janet Duff and Pauline Crampin’s better back 9 score edged out Elspeth Irvine, Carole Hollman, Sheila Warren and Anne Harrison-Smith.

Burghley’s season starts in earnest on Sunday, with the new captains Richard Gilbert and Janet Duff performing their ceremonial Drive-ins during the Mulligan Trophy event.

This new annual competition is in honour of club stalwart Howard Mulligan, who died last year, and who had been club secretary for more than 20 years.

Mr Gilbert said: “Given how generously Howard gave of his time to the club, and especially his terrific encouragement of the Juniors, I hope that there will be a good turnout of club members for the event, and to support the Captains’ Drive-in at 11 o’clock.”