Golf: Lothians find impressive form in Northumberland

LOTHIANS returned to a happy hunting ground to beat Northumberland for the first time in eight years in an annual friendly.

Keith Nicholson's side won 11-6 at Ponteland, the scene of their last victory in the fixture back in 2002. Four of the morning foursomes went to the 18th. Lothians won two of them and halved another, but the highlight was a resounding 6 and 4 victory by the 'old guys', team captain Keith Nicholson and Keith Reilly over Andrew Scrimshaw and Lewis Fairbairn, two promising youngsters.

In the afternoon Lothians came out on top again, winning eight of the 12 singles.

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Victory was assured when five of the top six matches went in favour of the visitors, but it was particularly apt that Nicholson secured the overall victory when he chalked up another comprehensive win.

However, his haul of five birdies in that match was beaten by an in-form Mark Timmins, who had six birdies in his 2 and 1 victory over Phil Ridden in the second match. Other singles wins for Lothians came from Stuart Smith, David Miller, Steven Armstrong, Stephen Neilson, Dean Muir and Stuart Boyle, the latter having surely made a strong case for a place in the six-man side for the new-look Scottish Area Team Championship with a string of impressive performances in friendlies so far this season.

Nicholson and his team of selectors certainly have some food for thought and will be looking for further pointers in this weekend's Lothians Championship qualifying at Royal Musselburgh and Castle Park.

Match details: Foursomes (Northumberland names first): Simon Lee & Phil Ridden bt David Miller & Mark Timmins one hole; Sean Heads & Mark Penny bt Myles Cunningham & Stuart Smith 4 and 3; Steve Anderton & Andrew Minnikin halved with Steven Armstrong & Stephen Neilson; Andrew Scrimshaw & Lewis Fairbairn lost to Keith Nicholson & Keith Reilly 6 and 4; Craig Penny & Nicky Maddison lost to Tom Blennerhasset & Stuart Boyle one hole; Richard Robson-Crosby & Thomas Rowland lost to Dean Muir & Stephen Simants one hole.

Singles: Lee bt Cunningham 4 and 3; Ridden lost to Timmins 2 and 1; Penny lost to Smith one hole; Heads lost to Miller 2 and 1; Minnikin lost to Armstrong 4 and 2; Anderton lost to Neilson 4 and 3; Penny bt Reilly 4 and 3; Scrimshaw lost to Nicholson 5 and 4; Fairbairn lost to Boyle 4 and 3; Rowland bt Blennerhassett 3 and 2; Maddison bt Simants one hole; Robson-Crosby lost to Muir 2 and 1.