Thursday, September 01, 2016

Ross-shire League Success For Tain   

 Tain team who won at Fortrose and Rosemarkie. Left to right – Kieran MacKay, Munro Ferries, Billy Ferries, Ewan MacPherson, Dave Clark.

Stunned by their defeat in last year's final at Muir of Ord and suffering beatings in other finals since 2007, Tain Golf Club ended their nine-year wait to land a third Highland Fabricators Cup from the Ross-shire Leagues when they beat Alness in last Sunday's final over the Fortrose and  Rosemarkie course.

Tain took their revenge over Gairloch in the early season quarter-finals played at Tarbat, then booked their place in a successive final with a 3-2 win over Invergordon in the morning semi finals at Fortrose. 
Tain won the first two ties against Invergordon and then the fourth game to set up the 2017 final of the Ross-shire singles competition against Alness who had beaten Strathpeffer Spa 4-1.

The Tain team included their Inverness-based club champion Kieran MacKay who had the backing of the ever present Ferries brothers, Billy and Munro. Ewan MacPherson and Dave Clark completed the Tain five-man team.

In the top match, after Andrew Brown for Alness had birdied the 17th hole, Tain's MacKay went to the final green still with a one- hole lead. They halved the final hole in bogeys to bring in Tain's first point of the final.   
Craig Taylor levelled for Alness with a 17th green success over Munro Ferries and the tie was still level when the Alness greenkeeper Gary Urquhart and Tain's Billy Ferries could not be separated after 18 holes.

This match saw some of the best golf played all weekend when seagulls and dolphins frolicked on the firth - not the windless conditions Urquhart was told to expect on his first visit to the course but he thrived in them as the pair exchanged birdies over the 18 holes.

Urquhart got his final birdie on the last green from a superb four- iron to six feet and earn a halved tie but they had to remain by the 18th green until the result of the next two ties were were known. 
If these points were to go one to each club Urquhart and Ferries would have had to continue their tie into extra holes. Word filtered through that Dave Clark in the fifth game had won his match on the 17th green against Alness's Lewis McCloy so the focus and outcome rested on the one remaining match, between Shaun Hogg for Alness and Ewan MacPherson for Tain.

Still being contested on the final hole neither player found the par-3 18th green with their tee shots but a marvellous chip followed by a 4ft putt from MacPherson for a par -3 won the hole and the cup for Tain by a 3½ to 1½ margin. 
Semi finals
Alness 4, Strathpeffer Spa 1
Andrew Brown bt Brian Mackenzie 7 and 6.
Craig Taylor bt Philip Bannerman 4 and 3. 
Shaun Hogg lost to Bob Stewart 3 and 2. 
Gary Urquhart bt Scott Crossley 5 and 4. 
Lewis McCloy bt Barry MacKay 5 and 4. 

Tain 3, Invergordon 2 
Kieran MacKay bt David Cormack 5 and 3.
Munro Ferries bt Andrew Gilmour 6 and 5. 
Billy Ferries lost to Steve Buchan 2 and 1. 
Ewan MacPherson bt Derek Baker 7 and 5. 
Dave Clark lost to Brian Ronald 4 and 3. 

 Tain 3½, Alness 1½ 
 Mackay bt Brown I hole. 
M Ferries lost to Taylor 2 and 1. 
B Ferries halved with Urquhart. 
MacPherson bt Hogg 1 hole. 
Clark bt McCloy 3 and 1. 



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