Cottingham youngsters hold nerve to humble Hornsea

Cottingham youngsters hold nerve to humble Hornsea

Hornsea and Cottingham faced off for the second time in the day as the Scratch League final followed the junior version around the hallowed turf of Ganton Golf Club.

In golfing terms, this was David versus Goliath. Three of the East Riding's best juniors from Cottingham's impressive conveyor belt aginst three Hornsea players with over 50 years of top level Union, Yorkshire and England golf between them. Hornsea's combined handicap was +4.7 compared to Cottingham's 7.8. Surely Hornsea would continue their impressive run of four victories in this event since 2017? Wouldn't they?

Steve Uzzell led Hornsea off after a 250 mile journey home from Surrey on Saturday evening following a heartbreaking playoff defeat in the prestigious Gerald Micklam Cup at Sunningdale. He was up against Warren Burns (pictured middle) who had a couple of inches on his older opponent height-wise and more than matched Steve's length off the tee.

As they turned for home at all square, not one of the large group of spectators predicted what was to happen next. 

Warren managed to nudge a couple ahead after 14 and unleashed a bomb down the long 15th fairway off the tee. Steve found the left rough and then knocked his second into the thick stuff through the back, but his young opponent failed to find the green and had to hack out of some hay 30 yards right of the green. An ugly double handed the hole and some hope to Hornsea. Back to one.

Roles were reversed at the 16th as Steve found trouble in the left trees off the tee and could only advance his ball into a greenside bunker in three. Warren's 300 yard drive left him a flick with a wedge to 20 feet. Steve made a gutsy up and down from the sand for bogey, but Warren could scarcely believe it as his par putt spun out of the hole. Still one.

Both players failed to par the famous 17th with Steve's five footer sliding agonisngly by. So to the 18th, which Warren found in regulation with an imperious short iron from the middle of the fairway. Steve had found the left trees off the tee and could only thread one out of trouble into the back right bunker. He almost holed from the sand which left the stage clear for Warren to hole from 20 feet for a memorable victory over the East Riding Open Champion.

Could Cottingham find another win from match two or three? 

George Coope (pictured left) looked the most likely as he led Leigh Gawley, part of the YIDU league winning East Riding team only two weeks ago, by two holes early in the back nine. Meanwhile the anchor match was heading the way of Hornsea who brought in the experienced Rees Brown to replace semi final hero Jonnie Fisher. Rees led early and held off the younger Burns brother Callum, (pictured right) winning at the 16th.

Coope kept his nose ahead as nerves affected both players on the greens and got himself to dormie 2up. The match looked all but over as Gawley found the sand short left of the long par 3 17th with George in decent shape short right of the green. An incredible up and down however from the Hornsea player for par kept the match alive and the pair headed down the last.

Both found the fairway and hit short irons to the heart of the green. Gawley's quick birdie putt scared the hole, but slipped by, allowing George the luxury of two putts to take the winners' shield. Although the second was slightly longer than he or the large Cottingham support would have wanted, George kept his cool to deliver the first Cottingham Scratch League title since its inception in 1977.

A staggering performance from three personable young men who will be around for many years to come. Hornsea will be back, but Cottingham showed that hard work, an excellent attitude, a competitive junior section at their club and an insatiable team spirit can make miracles happen. It won't be 46 years before Cottingham win the title again.

Full 2023 Scratch League results 

Jonathan Clark

ERUGC Junior League Secretary




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