Tense tussles at Burghley Park in battle for quarter-final spots
The quarter-finals of the Winter League at Burghley Park involved eight well-matched pairs all determined to claim the title this year.
The longest match was between outgoing club captain Bill O’Driscoll and his partner Terry Austin and last year’s losing finallists Brian Barber and Doug Hunter.
They had arranged to play the match the previous week and got to the 16th tee all square before having to hold up play when a hail and snow squall blew in.
After having watched the greens disappear under the white stuff, and seeing no respite in sight, they all agreed to void the match and start again the following weekend.
When they reconvened at the weekend O’Driscoll and Austin were in determined mood and piled on the pressure from the start. Once in front they refused to let up and ran out 3&2 winners on the 17th.
New pairing Paul Wilkinson and Bob Emmins had always, on paper, looked to be strong contenders and found themselves up against regular quarter-finallists Chris Quinn and Hugh Riddlesdell.
Getting their noses in front early on, Wilkinson and Emmins never gave Quinn and Riddlesdell a chance, taking victory 3&2 to book their semi-final place against O’Driscoll and Austin.
This semi should be a classic, bringing together some of the more voluble members of the Wednesday and Friday Roll-Up.
In the other half of the draw, both quarter-finals were really tight and tense affairs.
Javan Argent and David Jackson took on Mark Johnson and Carl Taylor and, after leading most of the way, found themselves one down going down the last before Argent sank a long uphill putt on the final green to square the match and take it into extra holes.
The 19th was halved before Argent and Jackson sealed their place in the semis courtesy of Argent’s par.
The match between Dave Tilley and Graham Bedford and Paul Ramm and Richard Allen was also a close affair with neither side able to get clear of their opponents.
Coming down the last all square it looked as if extra time was again going to be needed, but Ramm and Allen ran into putting problems, missing a short put for a half and allowing Tilley and Bedford to go through as one up winners. Their reward is a match against Argent and Jackson.