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Thetford golfers win county title again after amazing escape

PUBLISHED: 19:10 25 September 2017

Thetford are NCGU Scratch Trophy winners for the second year running. Pictured after the final at Eaton are (from left): Graham Turner (NCGU president), Steve Locke (competition organiser), Iain Yule, Giles Evans, Kevin Cooke (team captain), John Stapleton, Paul Pearce and Ian Farnham. Picture: Malcolm Grubb

Thetford are NCGU Scratch Trophy winners for the second year running. Pictured after the final at Eaton are (from left): Graham Turner (NCGU president), Steve Locke (competition organiser), Iain Yule, Giles Evans, Kevin Cooke (team captain), John Stapleton, Paul Pearce and Ian Farnham. Picture: Malcolm Grubb

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After an unbelievable recovery to beat Bawburgh in the morning semi-final, Thetford went on to beat King's Lynn in the final at Eaton on Sunday to make it back-to-back wins in the Norfolk CGU Scratch Cup.

Team captain Kevin Cooke said: “Credit to all the players in performing under great pressure. Thanks to all players and supporters – it is a team game and they all helped.”

It was an amazing escape against Bawburgh.

The format is five singles matches and Thetford were trailing 2-1 in matches and were also behind in the last two games on the course.

Playing the 17th John Stapleton was two down and Paul Pearce was one down.

The Bawburgh players just needed to halve one of those remaining holes to win the overall contest — the Thetford players had to win all four holes just to gain a play-off.

Stapleton won the 17th and the 18th to halve his match and keep Thetford hopes alive.

Pearce rolled in a 25-foot putt on the 17th for a winning birdie to make his match all square.

At the 18th his drive clipped a tree and dropped down 235 yards from the hole. A five-wood to 15 foot answered the pressure brilliantly and his opponent came up just short. Pearce had a chance to win it with his birdie putt, but just missed — and his opponent was also just off target with his par putt. Pearce won the match one up and the overall score was 2½-2½.

Iain Yule, who had won the top match, returned to the course for the play-off and held his nerve to win on the first extra hole.

That amazing momentum swing stayed with Thetford as they secured a 3½-1½ win over King’s Lynn in the final to keep the trophy in their cabinet. After Yule finished all square in the top match, Giles Evans was five up with five to play but only won on the 18th. Stapleton won his match by a comfortable 3&2 while Farnham just lost out on the final green. It was Pearce who made sure of the overall win with a 3&2 success in the bottom contest.

The win came in the same week as the club’s purchase of the Thetford course was confirmed — what a great double!

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