Market Rasen Golf Club shook off the ravages of winter with its traditional season-opener: The Four Captains Challenge last weekend.
In unexpectedly reasonable weather, the four sections of the club came together to do battle in teams of eight, with the best six scores to count, in individual stablefords.
The men’s team, led by captain Gaff Elliott, were confident of hanging on to the trophy for a further year, but they hadn’t reckoned with the up-and- coming junior team, captained by Charlie Elliott.
Six of his eight players had never played the full course before, but thanks to regular coaching from professionals Dan Clarke and Joel Cant, and junior section organiser Grant Hinchliffe, they carved out a score of 219 points to beat the men by just five points.
The seniors, led by their captain Keith Lovering, were third with 195 points, while the ladies, led by their captain Sheilah Mitchell, were always at a disadvantage because of tee placements, finished fourth.
Des Cawsey, who instigated the competition and donated its trophy in 2002, his captain’s year, made the presentation and provided the players with refreshments.
* The Men’s Captain versus Vice-Captain match was under-supported because of a clash with an away fixture for several members.
But captain Gaff Elliott, paired with Steve Curtis, and his team managed to avenge last year’s defeat at the hands of immediate past captain Les Brumpton, by beating vice-captain Ian Ribey, paired with Clive Wilson, and his team 4–2.
* Despite the vagaries of the weather and course conditions an average of 60 men took part in each of three winter fun competitions.
A pairs stableford New Year March was won on countback by Paul Moore and Neil Vickers from John and Fred Doughty with 66 points.
Colin and Chris Law had a better back nine to take third spot on countback from Alan Lowe and Ken Routledge, each with 63 points.
* A Winter Greensome Stableford attracted 30 pairs with Laurence Cook and Adam Ramsey winning with 38 points, one ahead of Mark Bedford and Nick Keast.
The next three places were decided on countback after John and Fred Doughty, Steve Forbes and Adie Sawyer, and Mark Briggs with John Boulton all scored 35 points.
* The Winter Waltz was for teams of three, but this didn’t stop father and son John and Fred Doughty, who recruited Steve White, being outright winners on 70 points.
Laurence Cook, Adam Ramsey and Mark Bedford continued their good form by finishing second with 67 points.
Ronnie Ryan made a welcome return to golf after knee replacement surgery and, along with Benny Hinchliffe and Rick Dale, took third place with 64 points.
* To cap a fine winter season, John and Fred Doughty beat Steve Ayres and Steve Curtis in the final of the John Hornsey Trophy (Winter League Knockout play-offs) 5 and 4.
These pairs had previously beaten Rob Hainsworth and Paul Moore, and Clive Jenkins with Gary Lancaster-Crane in the semi-finals.