Golf: Stunning success as Durham hit back to sink Northumberland in fantastic style
Durham staged an astonishing rally to secure a magnificent victory over old rivals Northumberland in the Northern Counties League on Saturday.
The Durham side looked set for a home defeat at Darlington when they won just one of the six morning foursomes matches.
But Durham incredibly troiumphed in nine of the 12 singles match-ups to storm to a resounding 12½-5½ overall victory.
In the foursomes, Jamie Birkbeck (Bishop Auckland) and James Glenn of Brancepeth Castle scored a 4&3 win for Durham in the top match.
But Chris Handy (South Moor) and James Wilson (Tyneside) went down 2&1 in a close battle, as did Castle Eden’s Ryan Dixon and Stefan Labuschagne of Bishop Auckland.
Durham City’s Andrew Bell teamed up with Boldon’s Gavin Nesbit to secure a fine half point, a feat matched by the pairing of Martin McCririck (South Shields) and Castle Eden’s Stuart Brown.
The foursomes were finished off by another Northumberland win, taking them 4-2 ahead at the break, as Tom Smith (Eaglescliffe) and James Rogers (Rockliffe Hall) lost 4&3.
Durham fell further behind when Glenn lost the opening singles match by a convincing 5&4 to Phil Ridden.
But Durham then took complete command to storm to an unforgettable victory.
Birkbeck edged home by one hole against Alex Dixon to spark the recovery. Handy cruised to a 6&5 success against Mark Wharton, then Wilson defeated Sean Heads 3&2.
Dixon edged out Kris Gray 3&2 to put Durham 6-5 up overall, then Nesbit saw off Craig Penny by the same score.
Labuschagne was held to a half by Kit Holmes, but that proved temporary respite for Northumberland as Durham swooped for another five victories in the final five matches.
McCririck pipped Karl Mossom by one hole, then Bell outgunned Sandy Twynholm 4&3, before Brown beat Luke Denny 3&2.
Rogers claimed a one-hole triumph against Joseph Robson before Smith finished the match in style with a 7&5 demolition of Brad Robinson.
Durham picked up 10.5 points out of a possible 12 in the afternoon to seal their second win in three games so far this season. Their only defeat was a narrow one-point loss to Yorkshire.
Elsewhere, Yorkshire drew 9-9 with Lancashire, while Cheshire beat Cumbria 10½-7.5.
Yorkshire top the table on five points, one ahead of Durham and Lancashire.
Durham’s next match is against Lancashire at Hesketh on August 11, with the season finishing at Hartlepool against Cumbria on September 1.