LANCASHIRE’S golfing young guns secured a dramatic victory in defence of their Four Counties title.
The annual competition pits the boys team from the Red Rose county against their counterparts from Cheshire, Nottinghamshire, and Shropshire and Herefordshire.
Lancashire’s new-look team – only Harvey Talarczyk from Royal Lytham & St Annes had played in the winning line-up in 2016 – again came out on top after a close-fought battle at Shifnal.
After losing two of the top three matches in the opening round against Shropshire & Herefordshire, Lancashire fought back strongly to run out 5-2 winners.
But it was a much closer affair against Cheshire, with Luke Bartram from Rossendale securing a vital point for Lancashire in a 3½-3½ draw.
In the final match out on the course, Bartram was one down after 14 holes but birdied the next three holes – helped by magnificent approach shots under pressure at both 16 and 17 – to grab a 2&1 win.
Lancashire again had to battle for the honours against Nottinghamshire, and while they took the opening three matches they were pegged back to 3-3 leaving Ben Harvey (West Lancashire) needing to pull off the match-winning point – which he did in style, with a great tee shot to five feet at the par three 17th and a successful conversion of the birdie chance.
With Cheshire only halving their encounter with S&H, Lancashire were champions once more.
Southport and Ainsdale’s James Holland led the way for Lancashire, winning all three of his matches, while Talarczyk was unbeaten with two wins and a half.
Lancashire junior chairman Neil Dalton said: “The boys came together as a team and played some outstanding golf, especially at a time when it was required in the matches against Cheshire and Nottinghamshire.
“A special mention must go to James Holland after winning all of his matches and Harvey Talarczyk, who was not well during the tournament but still won two of his matches and halved the other.
“I am immensely proud of the way boys conducted themselves throughout and their achievement in retaining the title against strong opposition.”
Pictured are the Lancashire Boys team after the successful defence of their Four Counties title (left to right, back row) Luke Bartram (Rossendale), Ben Harvey (West Lancs), Harvey Tarlaczyk (Royal Lytham & St Annes), Oliver Ravenscroft (Hillside), Greg Holmes (Royal Birkdale), Nat Bellamy (West Lancs), Grady Rogerson (Royal Lytham & St Annes). (Front) Dr Steven Reid (president), James Holland (Southport & Ainsdale), Neil Dalton (junior chairman).