Staffordshire celebrate first ever Boys County triumph

2013 Boys County Finals winners Staffordshire

Staffordshire won their first ever Boys County Championship in emphatic fashion as the sun shone at Kedleston Park. They did it in style by beating Devon 8-1, while defending champions Yorkshire finished in second spot after overcoming Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands 6½ – 2½.

In direct contrast to the two previous days when there was little to separate the four counties, the final matches were clear cut in the extreme and in the end everything came down to games won.

Both Staffordshire and Yorkshire emerged with two victories but the Midlanders took the title with 17 game points to Yorkshire’s 15½.

“I’m very proud the boys have won this title for the first time,” said Staffordshire captain Mike Tunnicliffe. “It was almost a perfect day. Winning this morning’s foursomes 3-0 was a very good start but we knew Yorkshire would set a challenge.

“Every single presented a further challenge and happily the boys were up to that challenge. Having put Staffordshire on the map as far as boys golf is concerned, I’m hoping this will encourage the juniors in our county to repeat the performance in future years now that we have broken our duck.”

Yorkshire skipper Gary Brown was disappointed that they had lost the title but said: “Our lads played well today. They gave 100% and you can’t ask more than that.

“We thought that if we could get six points today we’d be happy but Staffordshire played superbly to get eight against Devon. But the damage was done yesterday when we lost to Devon.”

Having won all three morning foursomes, one more than Yorkshire, Staffordshire knew they just had to stay ahead of their Northern rivals and that’s just what they did.

Robert Burlison gave them the perfect start with a 4&3 win over Devon’s Jacob Tinsley in the top game. The England boy cap birdied three holes in a row from the short fourth to be 3-up and although he lost the tenth, a birdie-two at 11 restored his clear advantage and he finished it with a winning par at 15.

It completed a perfect performance by Burlison, who won all six of his games.

His 4&3 scoreline was matched by Daniel Sutton over James Thompson, Gianmarco Petrozzi against Harry Konig and by Harrison Quick over Tom Trowbridge.

That not only confirmed Staffordshire’s victory but underlined their supremacy on a red letter day for the Midland champions.

When Cameron Long added to the tally with a 2&1 win over Robbie Thompson it meant that Staffordshire might complete a clean sweep. But Ollie Cowl gave Devon some consolation with a 2-hole victory over Peter Booker, which the least they deserved.

After their previous day’s defeat by Devon, Yorkshire knew that they not only had to beat Hampshire but they had to do it well. After winning the foursomes 2-1 and knowing Staffordshire had completed a clean sweep, it was just a case of bettering whatever Staffordshire produced – but it didn’t happen.

Kealan Lowe made it six wins-in-a-row when he beat Billy Watson 4&2 and was quickly followed by Jack Kelley with the same scoreline over Tom Farrow-Smith.

Ben Hutchinson overwhelmed the unfortunate Tommy Donaldson 6&5, the end of the contest being settled on the 13th green when the Hampshire lad was penalised a shot after his ball moved when he addressed it.

With Bradley Hudson beating Jordan Sundborg on the final green, Yorkshire hopes were still high. But with Ryan Harmer gaining Hampshire’s only victory by 1-hole over Ben Brewster and Mason Banger securing a half with Jonathan Thomson, the Northerners hopes were dashed.