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Shrewsbury have high hopes

By David Kidby

SHREWSBURY Golf Club is celebrating its 125th year and has ambitions to perform well in this year’s Walker Cup Handicap League.

The Condover club’s previous performances in the Handicap League have never been spectacular. “In past years we have not been focussed on this event and as a result not progressed to the next round. In our anniversary year we are keen to change this and have assembled a team that has been practicing and are keen to do well,” said team captain Phil Millar.

Phil’s strategy is to build team spirit and an understanding of strengths and weaknesses within the team’s pairings Shrewsbury will pit against the opposition.

Local company, Maesbrook Care Home, is backing the team, providing team shirts to help generate a unified feel on the course. “It’s a great psychological lift for the team to be able to see their team mates on other holes in the team colours and realise they are part of something greater than their individual match,” says Phil.

William Hilditch and Geoff Slater, owners of Maesbrook Care Home, are keen to support local community activities and enjoy their golf. “We have a great association with Shrewsbury Golf Club, and we are very pleased to be supporting the Handicap League Team in their quest for a good result in the league this year. It’s important to feel part of a team and we are proud to be helping their league team achieve this. I hope they play well and enjoy their forthcoming matches,” said Geoff.

This year Shrewsbury competes against Lilleshall and Oswestry in the first round. Matches are played both home and away with two points being awarded for a win. Each match is decided over six games and each team is composed of a player with a handicap of 12 or below playing with one of 13 to 24 in a fourball betterball format.

The first match was played at Shrewsbury. Brian Reid and Will Arthur, from the Shrewsbury team, lead the field out on a glorious day playing Ian McCaffery and Nick Collins from Lilleshall. A close match with some strong play by Ian and Nick on the last holes saw Brian and Will fighting to half the match unsuccessfully on the 18th. Andy Mallett and Ian Bunker faired better against Lilleshall’s Phil Harris and Mat Williams in an equally close match that resulted in an honourable draw. Mark Schofield and Ian Moseley took a commanding lead over Rob Butler and Kevin Weston relatively early in the game and sustained this to beat their Lilleshall opponents on the 15th. However, a Napier and Cole partnership from Lilleshall responded strongly beating Jake Wootton and Chris Jones on the 15th to put Lilleshall back ahead. Will Schofield and Alan Smith beat Phil Millar and Alan Campbell to take a further lead after a close fought match won on the 18th. Their victory was consolidated from some good late play on a further tightly contested match between David Kidby and John Rigby and Andy Sutton and Alex Cleland. While the Shrewsbury team were ahead on the 11th Lilleshall rallied to win three holes in succession, concluding the match on the 16th.

“We had a really good day with fantastic weather and great opposition. Both the weather and the company was excellent and some great golf was played, each match could have gone either way. The team looked resplendent in their burgundy tops, thanks to Maesbrook, that helped engender the team spirit. We are looking forward to playing Lilleshall at their home course in June,” said Phil.