Shocks back on cards in Scottish Area Team event, claims Matt Clark

A return to the old league format for the Scottish Area Team Championship is a positive step, according to the Scottish international behind the change.

Since 2010, the Scottish Golf-run event had been contained to a long weekend under a format that encompassed both stroke-play and match-play.

But, with Matthew Clark as the driving force, it is back to being spread out over the season, starting with four leagues of four teams and culminating in the finals at Powfoot in September.

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The first round of matches take place on Sunday and Clark is confident it can get back to being a better all-round event.

“I believed a reversion to the four teams of four leagues was more beneficial to Scottish Golf selectors potentially as it gets players playing against each other in both foursomes and singles more,” he told The Scotsman.

“At the same time, it will also offer up-and-coming players the opportunity to play against more experienced and better players more often as nowadays the ‘elite’ players rarely play against the guys coming through until such time as these players are at the stage of joining them at elite level.

“I believe young players coming up against experienced players in these matches can help them learn and improve whilst also offering more chances for Areas to play more players than the one-off weekend affords.”

Lothians, who landed a record 14th title triumph last year but a first under the revised format, face North in one of the opening matches at Bathgate on Sunday.

Lothians landed the title in last year's Scottish Area Team Championship in Inverness, where it was played over a long weekend.

“Scottish Golf have been great supporting myself as the individual who started the journey in motion and have supported us to secure Powfoot for the finals weekend in early September,” added Clark.

“Paisley have already agreed for 2023, with venues such as Meldrum House and others eager to see the finals visit in the near future.

“It’s a return to a format I believe players will really enjoy and it also offers the smaller Areas the chance to pull off a shock against the big boys,” added Clark.

“I remember Argyll & Bute beating Renfrewshire at Cochrane Castle with a team featuring a former British Amateur champion in Craig Watson and former British Mid Amateur champ in Andy Farmer - a victory I know still spoken of in A&B circles today.”

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