Saturday, September 21, 2013


 WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS - AGAIN! Newmachar's winning quartet in the Northern Counties Cup at Nairn Golf Club. Left to right: Chris Simpson, Mark McKechnie, John Duff and Richard Barr.  Picture by Gary Abel.

Newmachar have regained the Northern Counties Cup, after today's concluding day in one of the oldest golf tournaments on the Scottish amateur golf calendar.
In the double foursomes match-play competition at Nairn Golf Club, the Newmachar 1 team beat Inverness by a combined three holes in the final.
In the morning semi-finals, Newmachar 1 beat Grantown on Spey by three holes while Inverness 2 beat Nairn 1 by four holes.
The same Newmachar quartet of Mark McKechnie, Chris Simpson, John Duff and Richard Barr have now won three of the last four Northern Counties Cup tournaments - in 2010, 2011 and now 2013.
 Their only defeat in the past four Northern Counties Cup tournaments was in 2012 when they lost in the semi-finals to the eventual winners, McDonald Ellon - who could not come up with a team to defend the title at Nairn this year.
So what has been the secret of Newmachar's success?
John Duff says
"We seem to really enjoy the week which certainly helps us to play well.  Both pairings hit a lot of greens at Nairn this past week, which kept us in contention at virtually every hole and in each of our victories, we have made birdies at key times whenever we have been involved in close matches."
Next year's Northern Counties Cup will be hosted by Tain Golf Club.

Newmachar 1 bt Grantown by three holes
(M McKechnie, C Simpson 2, S Dingwall, G A Hay 0; R Barr, J Duff 1, J Campbell, G H Hay 0)
Inverness 2 bt Nairn 1 by four holes 
(L Chancellor, D Joel 0, F Fotheringham, B Watson 1; C Franssen, K MacKay 5, B Thomson, R Smith 0)
Newmachar 1 bt Inverness 2 by three holes
(McKechnie, Simpson 4, Chancellor, Joel 0; Barr, Duff 0, Franssen, MacKay 1 )
Newmachar's first pairing of Mark McKechnie and Chris Simpson were too strong for their Inverness opponents, winning by four holes, which made all the difference to the overall ouotcome of the final as the Newmachar second string of Richard Barr and John Duff lost by one hole to young Cameron Franssen and Kieran MacKay.

In the semi-finals Newmachar's Richard Barr and John Duff had three birdies and an eagle but only managed to beat Grantown on Spey's John Campbell and Gordon Hay by one hole. 
Inverness's Laurie Chancellor has not played in this tournament since 1973 when they were beaten by Nairn in the final. He has now got his revenge by beating them in this year's semi final, mainly due to the two young brave hearts Cameron Franssen and Kieran MacKay who showed no fear against the experienced Robert Smith and Bruce Thomson whom they beat by five holes.



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