Northumberland end 28-year wait for U-18s success
THE NORTH: Thursday July 1st
Northumberland won the Northern Counties Boys Championship for only the second time in their history at Ilkley yesterday.
Led brilliantly by individual winner Morgan Blythe (Hexham), they finished three shots ahead of Yorkshire with third-placed Lancashire a further four back.
Since 1984, their only other previous win was in 1993 at St Annes Old Links and they have rarely threatened to the break the domination of the Roses counties, who have won the event 26 times between them in the last 37 years.
Led by City of Newcastle’s Phil Ridden, the boys now travel to the EG Boys County Championship at Coxmoor in August (26-28) where they will face Essex (SE winners) , Leicestershire & Rutland (Mids) and the SW representative – that qualifier takes place at Salisbury & South Wilts on July 8th.
“It was a great effort and really good that everyone of the six had a counting score,” said Phil. “We put Morgan out last on purpose and it all came down to his game so that worked out ideally.”
The Hexham junior, who finished 15th at the recent England U-18s championships at Farnham, was six under par for his two rounds at the renowned West Yorkshire venue. He was one of only three competitors under par and turned it on just as the gap between the top two was closing up. He rattled off four straight birdies, starting at the 10th, on his way to a superb second-round 65 (-4), having shot 67 in the morning.
His team-mates backed him up brilliantly. The squad’s highest contributing score on the day – it was the best five from six to count – was 75. Northumberland GC’s Harrison Sewell, who has only just turned 15, shot 68 in the morning.
It was also turned into a day to remember for Yorkshire’s Jack Whaley. The Rotherham youngster holed in one at the second.
Full Northumberland squad: Morgan Blythe (Hexham), Junior Dobson (Hexham), James Conn (Northumberland), Angus Buchanan (Slaley Hall), Harrison Sewell (Northumberland), Freddie McKenna (Tynemouth). Travelling reserve: Dan Wilson (Arcot Hall).