Mitchell quits County

PUBLISHED: 10:46 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 20:19 03 May 2010

Tony Mitchell receiving his boys' trophy from Tony Bailey last year

Tony Mitchell receiving his boys' trophy from Tony Bailey last year

HERTS Boys Champion Tony Mitchell from Redbourn said goodbye to Hertfordshire county golf at the end of last year and now looks forward in 2006 to a new career in the combined counties team of Berks, Bucks and Oxon. Tony, 18 on January 2, a Herts count

HERTS Boys Champion Tony Mitchell from Redbourn said goodbye to Hertfordshire county golf at the end of last year - and now looks forward in 2006 to a new career in the combined counties team of Berks, Bucks and Oxon. Tony, 18 on January 2, a Herts county boys player since he was 13 and an England boy international at 14, feels he has not been appreciated by his county and has quit because he is disillusioned, saying he has been overlooked for the position of boys captain. Last April he won the boys' title at Berkhamsted, defeating the then champion James Watts of East Herts and Tom Haylock (The Hertfordshire) in a head-to-head duel. "When James won the title, he was appointed boys captain but after my victory I was overlooked," he says. "I had played for the county since 2001 at under-16 level and I felt I had done enough to prove myself. I felt I had not the full support of the county, so I decided to leave and informed the county secretary of my decision. "Having done so, I will not be able to defend my boys title this year which I regret." Tony has now joined the Gerrards Cross club in Buckinghamshire but has to spend a period of qualification before he can represent BB&O in county events. When that happens he could be playing against his home county in inter-club matches. "I have been made very welcome at Gerrards Cross by the club and members and already I have been made captain of the county boys team," he says. Scratch player Tony, who remains a member of the Redbourn club where he works in the professional's shop, impressed the England selectors early in his county career and gained international honours at the age of 14, 15 and 16, making 10 appearances in England events. Herts President Tony Bailey, who presented Tony with the boys' championship trophy last April, says the county is sorry to see him leave. "We wish him well for the future," he says. l Teaching professionals Chris Ingham and Elliot Godfrey will be launching a Young Masters Golf Academy at Harpenden Common Golf Club on Saturday week, February 4, with the aim of developing junior golf in Hertfordshire. They aim to bring a fresh approach to junior golf coaching to encourage boys and girls from the age of four to 16 from a wide area around their club to come along and take part, initially in Saturday sessions and later during school holidays and in the evenings. Courses of one hour run for eight weeks, with times to suit parents for the younger entrants. "Harpenden Common has great practice facilities, especially for the short game," says Ingham, 21, who is completing his first year course for a PGA advanced degree and aiming to compete for the title of PGA trainee of the year. Godfrey, 22, is in his third year of his PGA degree course. "We have sent letters to 72 local schools giving details of the courses and hope there will be a good response," says Ingham. "We have the club's backing and head professional Daniel Fitzsimmons will be on hand to give his support. The Young Masters Golf Academy is a national scheme which is proving a great success." Details from the club at 01582 460655.

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