The Ayrshire A Team beat Renfrewshire on Sunday 18th October at Bonnyton GC, in the West Of Scotland Inter County league, to claim the championship title for the first time in 27 years.
Going into the match both teams knew that the winners on the day would win the league title for 2015, and whilst Ayrshire were bidding to end a barren run dating back to their last win in 1988,
Renfrewshire were hoping to extend their unprecedented run of successive championship wins to 13, having not tasted defeat in the West League since Dumbartonshire won the title on 2001.
Jack McDonald opened for Ayrshire against Matt Clark and was well ahead early on before Clark found his putting touch and pegged McDonald back to be all square playing the last. In a top class tie, the players halved the final hole in birdie threes to end all square.
Tommy McInally put Ayrshire’s first full point on the board with a 3 & 2 win over Andrew Farmer before the match was squared again when Malcolm Pennycott, who was leading after five holes, lost 6 & 5 following a run of five birdies and an eagle from his opponent.
Keith Hamilton held out for a notable one hole win over Craig Watson to put Ayrshire ahead once more and when Stuart Robin added a 2 & 1 win in his tie, Ayrshire only required a point from the remaining three ties to ensure victory in the match and the championship.
After 14 holes Craig Telfer was all square but lost fifteen and sixteen which resulted in a 2 & 1 defeat, but Ayrshire hopes remained high with both Steven Wallace and John Shanks one hole ahead after fourteen in their respective ties.
Steven Wallace extended his lead to two holes after fifteen and at the sixteenth a par five was good enough for Wallace to win his tie by 3 & 2. Having contributed five wins from five during the series, it was fitting that Wallace’s win gave Ayrshire the required 4 ½ points to win the match.
In the final tie on the course, John Shanks remained one hole up with two to play, but two closing birdies by his opponent was enough to pull one hole back to leave their tie all square and give a final match score of Renfrewshire 3 Ayrshire 5.
Match details (Ayrshire names first) :-
Jack McDonald (Kilmarnock Barassie) halved with M. Clark
Keith Hamilton (Ayr Belleisle) beat C. Watson by 1 hole
Tommy McInally (Loudoun) beat A. Farmer by 3 & 2
Stuart Robin (Prestwick St Cuthbert) beat P. Reilly by 2 & 1
Malcolm Pennycott (Whiting Bay) lost to D. Anderson by 6 & 5
Craig Telfer (Prestwick St Cuthbert) lost to C. Pirie by 2 & 1
Steven Wallace (Prestwick St Cuthbert) beat S. Watt by 3 & 2
John Shanks (Irvine) halved with D. Dickson
AYRSHIRE 5 RENFREWSHIRE 3
The 2015 win is the ninth time that Ayrshire have won the West Of Scotland title since the competition began in 1936, the previous wins being in 1936, 1938, 1948, 1966, 1968, 1970 1971 and 1988,
Following on from the success earlier in the season in the Scottish Area Team Championships at Balirgowrie , this win provided a perfect end to the season for the management team of John Rushbury, Gordon Boyle and Allan Muir.
Over the five match series a total of 13 Ayrshire players took part, from nine clubs throughout the county:-
Ayr Belleisle – Keith Hamilton & Jim Johnstone
Ballochmyle – Craig Hamilton
Irvine – John Shanks
Kilmarnock (Barassie) – Jack McDonald
Loudoun – Tommy McInally
Prestwick St Cuthbert – Steven Wallace, Stuart Robin & Craig Telfer
Royal Troon – Michael Smyth
Turnberry – Gordon Boyle & Scott Brown
Whiting Bay – Malcolm Pennycott