Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Host club Royal Dornoch enjoyed comfortable victories over the other four clubs, Brora, Golspie, Invergordon and Tain, to win the Dornoch Firth League Targe for an 11th time in the 34-year history of the competition at Dornoch.
Dornoch were the first winners of the Targe in 1973 when the league was then played on a home and away basis featuring only Brora, Tain and Golspie clubs. When Invergordon were admitted four years later the one weekend of fixtures were instituted. Fitting all the games into two days has just one drawback, the threesome match on Sunday afternoon which can either benefit or hinder a club's success.

Last year at Golspie the final threesome fixture came to Brora's rescue as they pulled back Dornoch's lead with two massive wins to retain the Targe. Again involved in the double-header on Sunday afternoon it was really beyond Brora's expectations for a repeat as by this stage the hosts had already amassed 18 points from three completed games to Brora's 6.5 points from two games.
Royal Dornoch had dropped just half a point in their opening encounter against Golspie (6.5- 0.5), Kevin Matheson being held to a halved tie against Golspie's number two greenkeeper Craig Mackay but the home team winning five other ties pretty convincingly. Golspie's Alister MacDougal was a narrow loser to Daniel Holden in the 5th tie, Holden one of two Royal Dornoch players who would go on to win all of his four games over the two days.
Carnegie Shield holder Alex MacDonald was the host club's other four-time winner and he got his second point with a 4&3 result over Brora's Roddie Cameron when the two old Sutherland rival clubs met on Saturday afternoon. Dornoch beating the holders 6.5 to 0.5 where Brora switched their four day open winner Ewan Polson to second place and in the top game Brora's Head Greenkeeper James MacBeath went under by two holes to his old work mate at Skibo, Chris Mailley.
Meanwhile Tain recovered from their opening defeat by Brora to scrape past Invergordon 4-3.
Royal Dornoch took their points tally to 18 on Sunday morning with a 5-2 result over Invergordon to put them in the driving seat and even if Brora pulled of an afternoon clean sweep of fourteen points from their double header against Golspie and Invergordon the hosts were left requiring only two points from seven in their last fixture against Tain to regain the Targe.
Munro Ferries gave Tain and Brora a ray of hope when he inflicted a first defeat of the weekend over Mailley winning 2 and 1 but the Dornoch mean machine did not miss a gear in the next five games.
Kevin Matheson, Alex MacDonald, newcomer and team captain Neil Hampton, Daniel Holden and Kristian Sinclair all won their ties to clinch victory with Tain's Davie Vass giving his club a late crumb of comfort in the final game by beating Brian Urquhart to leave the hosts with a resounding 5-2 result.
Brora to their credit in defence of the Targe came out fighting in the threesome fixture. Polson was reinstated to first place but a birdie three from a long putt on the final the green gave Golspie's Darren Hexley the only point lost in the fourteen ties. Brora ending up 6-1 victors over Golspie and 7-0 over Invergordon to finish second in the table with 19.5 points. Tain were third with 11.5 points, Golspie fourth, 8.5 points, and Invergordon who host next years fixtures fifth with 7.5 points.
Reflecting on the overall result Royal Dornoch justified their pre tournament favourites tag. The inclusion of their new club Secretary/Manager Neil Hampton (+1), Chris Mailley (scr), Alex MacDonald (scr), Kevin Matheson (1) and Daniel Holden (3) who on Sunday were joined by Kristian Sinclair and Brian Urquhart, the latter replacing John Shepherd who had played and won twice on Saturday proved decisive. Holden and MacDonald maintained an unbeaten record over the two days as the winning club emerged with a another five points from their Invergordon encounter to take their winning total up to twenty three.
Royal Dornoch 6.5, Golspie 0.5
Tain 1 Brora 6
Royal Dornoch 6.5, Brora 0.5
Invergordon 3, Tain 4
Royal Dornoch 5, Invergordon 2
Tain 4.5, Golspie 2.5
Royal Dornoch 5, Tain 2
Invergordon 2.5, Golspie 4.5
Golspie 1, Brora 6
Brora 7, Invergordon 0.



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