TWO seasonal knockout competitions reached their conclusions at The Worcestershire Golf Club in Malvern Wells.
In the men’s winter four-ball, Tom Howells (handicap 4) and Brian Kendall (12) met Paul Jones (6) and Pete Basten (15) in a thrilling match.
Howells and Kendall made the stronger start and were three up after four holes.
However, Jones and Basten fought back to take the lead.
By the 15th hole, Howells needed to sink a testing four-foot putt to extend the match after Basten saved par with a great up-and-down from the sand.
Playing inspired golf, a terrific birdie and a par from Howells on the next two holes set up an exciting finale on the 18th.
The match was sealed one-up by Jones with another excellent up-and-down for par from a greenside bunker to secure the victory.
Meanwhile, last year’s finalists, Alison Tuck (handicap 14) and Penny Stevenson (24), met once more in the ladies’ singles knockout for the Porch Cup.
The momentum swung strongly in both directions.
All-square at the turn, Stevenson won the 10th, the 11th was halved and then Tuck claimed three consecutive holes.
Not to be outdone, Stevenson won the next three and Tuck the 18th.
Finally, the honours were decided on the 19th hole with Stevenson securing a par putt to take victory and reverse last year’s placings.
The losing semi-finalists were June Jones and Jane Poynder.
A large entry took to the Worcestershire’s course in fine weather for the men’s midweek stableford.
Some good scores were returned with improving golfer Jamie Marks (handicap 24) taking the honours with an excellent 43 points.
Shaun Porritt (11) won Division One with 40, ahead of Andy Davis (9) on 39 and Howells (4) on 35.
In Division Two, Malcolm Downes (17) shaded John Goodwin (17) on count-back with 38 ahead of Simon Clayson (13) on 35.
Following Marks home in Division Three were John Flanagan (24) on 40 and Andrew Whiteley (18) on 39.
In the ladies’ coronation foursomes, the pairing of Lucy Walton (handicap 3) and Ann Moody (36) triumphed with 37 stableford points.
Second and third scored 32 with Jill Exell and Jan Kirkland taking the runners-up slot on count-back from Kate Foster and Hazel Cartledge.
In national competitions, June Jones led her Mail on Sunday squad of Pat Rose, Jill Piner, Tuck, Walton and Mary Horrobin safely into round four.
They recorded a convincing 4-1 win at home to Wrag Barn Golf Club of Highworth, Wiltshire.
In the Droitwich Inter-Club League, Rose captained a ladies’ side to a 4-1 victory at home to Worcester Golf and Country Club.
Other team members were June Jones, Jackie Marks, Helen Thomas and Jos Penrhyn. Denied home advantage, the men’s ‘B’ Team faced Droitwich Golf Club away where they narrowly lost 3½-2½ to the hosts.
Club captain Roger Brierly led the team in their first game of the season and wins were recorded by Mike Bothma with Mike Day (4&3) and Roger Blackwell with Robert Merley (3&2).
Patrick McIlroy and Sam McLeod halved their match.
Similarly disadvantaged, a ladies’ team captained by Vanessa Chesterton lost 3-1 away to Ross-on-Wye.
The successful Worcestershire pairing was Piner with Stevenson.