Harpenden Common secure Scratch League title

GOLF: Harpenden Common Golf Club men’s Scratch Team won the 2012 Herts Scratch League title on Sunday after a nail-biting 6-6 draw at West Herts.

Harpenden Common, despite a 100 per cent record going into their final match, could still have been caught by last year’s winners Moor Park who have dominated the league for the last six years. Moor Park’s final match was at relegated Batchworth Park, so The Common knew they needed at least a draw to win the title.

The morning foursomes produced wins for Lewis Watcham and Sam Claridge, and Elliott Leonard and Tony Wilkins with Craig Arnott and Alex Turner securing a half from their match to take The Common into a 2.5-1.5 lead at lunch.

It was the afternoon singles matches however, that produced the real drama in the closing holes with the result not being decided until the final putt of the last match on the 18th green.

In the top match, Claridge’s stunning second shot into the par-five 18th closed out his match two-up with the eagle putt not required. Watcham, after going one down on 17, got up and down from a bush to win the18th and halve his match.

Arnott, who was only called up the previous night after a late withdrawal, won his match two-up on the17th against West Herts lowest handicap player and finally, Leonard who brilliantly got up and down on 18 to win his match and the point that secured the 6-6 draw and the title.

Harpenden Common Scratch Team captain, Alex Turner said afterwards: “The whole squad have been brilliant through the season and have enabled us to get this far…Ryder Cup won, HCGC win Herts Division 1, it has been a fine stunning double of a weekend!”

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2012 squad: Alex Turner (captain), Ben Armstrong, Tom Brown, Marcus Fox, Andrew McCarthy, Elliott Leonard, Sam Claridge, Dean Claridge, Richard Dew, Lewis Watcham, Ashley Burgess, Ian Farrant, Tony Wilkins, Paul Wilkins, Craig Arnott.