Durham secure derby delight to finish fourth in Northern Counties League

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Durham completed their Northern Counties League campaign on a high, with a 10-8 derby success against Northumberland.

The victory at Chester-le-Street saw Durham secure a fourth-place finish, a year on from last season’s pointless campaign, only nine and a half game points behind champs Yorkshire.

In contrast, Durham, with three wins in third place in 2014, ended 14 points adrift of top spot.

Durham started well, taking four and a half points from the morning foursomes. Brancepeth Castle’s Richard Aisbitt and James Glenn opened in style, with a 6&4 triumph.

James Wilson and Kris Rae (both Tyneside) claimed a half, then Eaglescliffe duo Sam Donald and Tom Smith edged home by two holes and Jamie Birkbeck (Bishop Auckland) and Castle Eden’s Stuart Brown won 3&2.

John Kennedy of Consett and Boldon’s Gavin Nesbit extended the lead with a two-hole win, though Castle Eden pair Ryan Dixon and Cameron Wallace were outgunned 5&4.

Aisbitt won the top singles match 3&2, but Northumberland rallied to take the next four to level the scores at 5.5-5.5.

Convincing wins from Donald (5&4) and Birkbeck (5&3) steadied Durham’s ship, and they saw out the overall victory thanks to successes by Brown (3&2) and Dixon (one hole), with Wallace adding a half. Nesbit endured a 6&5 mauling.