Nottinghamshire’s Ashfield School broke a deadlock at the top of the leaderboard to win the English Schools’ Team Championship at Woodhall Spa today.
They won by the narrowest of margins, taking the trophy on countback from Thomas Telford School in Shropshire, and Northampton School for Boys, after all three had tied.
Each team had amassed 74 stableford points from their best two scores. The previously discarded scores of the third team members were then counted to decide the tie and the 31 points of Sam Greatorex took Ashfield to the title.
The team’s top scorer was Callum Thorpe, 16, who had 40 points and is heading for a reduction to his 18 handicap. Finn Nelson, the Nottinghamshire U14 boys’ county captain, scored 34 points off his nine handicap – despite injuring his ribs in a fall from his bike two days ago.
Greatorex, who plays off 11, was initially disappointed with his result. “I just thought I didn’t do my team-mates much good.
But in the end it came down to the last man and a bad day became a good day,” he said.
The win was a great sign-off from school life for Thorpe, who is now set for a career in joinery. “It’s a big accomplishment to be the best in the country,” he remarked.
Thorpe and Greatorex, 15, are members at Coxmoor, while Nelson, 13, belongs to Sherwood Forest. The players were accompanied by teacher Susie Anderson who is also a keen golfer and Sherwood Forest member – and whose daughter, Emma, won England Golf’s 2017 Young Volunteer of the Year Award.
The countback result was a bitter blow for the Thomas Telford team of Max Strudwicke, Nathan Bond and Ryan Eagleton. They were out in the mid-morning and were leading the competition until the Ashfield players came in right at the end of the day.
The school has now been runners-up in this competition three times since 2012 and PE teacher Steve Plant remarked; “We have lost by one point in the past and now on countback. It’s great for them to come second and I am so proud of them, but at the moment they are absolutely gutted.”
There was compensation for Northampton School for Boys when 16-year-old Matt Green won the Tom Ward Cup for the best individual score.
The three-handicapper, who teamed up with Daniel Blackmore and Henry Edwards, went round in gross two-under 70 for 41 points. His card was perfect with two birdies and 16 pars, thanks to good ball striking and putting.
Green (Aspley Guise & Woburn Sands) is a member of the England Golf East region U16 boys’ squad and had the advantage of having played the Bracken course before in training.
He’s the Bedfordshire U18 boys’ champion and, having just finished his GCSEs, is aiming to reduce his three-handicap to scratch.
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Captions: Top (from left) Sam Greatorex, Finn Nelson and Callum Thorpe with the English Schools' Team Championship trophy.
Above: Matt Green with the Tom Ward Cup.
Images copyright Leaderboard Photography