England Golf: Champion Club

SOME TEAM: The winning Spalding team, from left to right, back row: Trev Laud (caddy), Darryn Lloyd, James Crampton, Simon Richardson, Nick Holmes (caddy). Front row: Paul Johnson (manager/caddy).

National first for Spalding after epic battle with Cosby

EG: Monday Sept 20th

FORMAT: 3-man team/36-hole strokeplay

There was an historic moment for Lincolnshire golf at Knole Park last night when Spalding won the English Champion Club title for the first time.

The three-man team of Simon Richardson, James Crampton and Darryn Lloyd combined superbly to edge out their Leicestershire counterparts Cosby as the two Midlands clubs enjoyed a battle royale.

Spalding are believed to be the first club from the county to win the prestigious England Golf title and will now represent their country in the European final in Portugal next month (Oct 21-23). They will be joined in the competition by City of Newcastle, who are the reigning continental champions.

“For the club and the county it is fantastic achievement,” said scratch team manager Paul Johnson, who has been involved in running teams at Spalding since 1995.

“It’s a really big deal for us. We had a really good team and we were fortunate to be able to select our best three players.”

Nearly 20 club-mates made the 280-mile round trip to the Kent venue to watch Spalding take their place in the competition for the eighth time. Their previous best finish was fourth and two years ago they came fifth at Huddersfield.

“We always have a nucleus of supporters wherever we go,” said county champion Richardson last night.

“A lot of them are retired and this weekend we were the only club to have that level of support.” 

Ex-pro Lloyd proved the star of the show. The South African-born player was nine under par for his 36 holes (65/66) and collected the individual prize.

However despite Lloyd’s heroics, at halfway Spalding trailed Cosby by two with Derbyshire champions Kedleston Park four shots further back thanks to Nick Newbold, whose 65 was the lowest round on day one.

On the deciding day fate should conspire to partner players from the two leading contenders in two of the groups – Richardson with Coby Blue Cartwright and former England international Crampton with James Billingham.

“Obviously with James and I playing with Cosby players we were able to get a feel for how it was all unfolding but in this format things can change so quickly,” said Richardson.

“I know in my game there were a couple of holes were there were two-shots swings in my favour.”

Richardson yesterday shot a superb 69 to go with his opening 70 while Crampton, who is director of competitions at England Golf, critically eagled 17 to get himself level par for his second round and give his side some breathing space as the battle with Cosby reached the critical stage.

The Leicestershire trio were cumulatively level par on day two to leave themselves seven shots ahead of third-placed Kedleston while Cambridgeshire’s Gog Magog were six shots further back in fourth.

Leading scores (par 70)
1) Spalding (Lincs) 209 + 204 = 413 (-7)
2) Cosby (Leics) 207 + 210 = 417 (-3)
3) Kedleston Park (Derby) 213 + 211 = 424 (+4)
4) Gog Magog (Cambridge) 217 + 213 = 430 (+10)
5) Hollinwell (Notts)  216 + 216 = 432 (+12)
6= Moor Hall (Warwicks) 218 + 216 = 434 (+14)
6= Willingdon (Sussex) 219 + 215 = 434 (+14)
8) Wildernesse (Kent) 224 + 211 = 435 (+15)
9) Hadley Wood (Herts) 223 +214 = 427 (+17)
10) Hexham (Northumberland) 227 + 212 = 439 (+19)
11) Eaglescliffe (Durham) 218 + 222 = 440 (+20)
12= Hornsea (Yorkshire) 220 + 221 = 441 (+21)
12= Northamptonshire County (Northants)  219 + 222 = 441 (+21)
12= Tall Pines (Gloucs) 215 + 226 = 441 (+21)