|The Auld Enemies Cup 2003|
Monday September 15 to Thursday September 18.
Though a little damp underfoot at Helensburgh Golf Club, Scotland made the most of 3 glorious days of near perfect golfing conditions, to send the English back over the border reeling tae think again...! Now unbeaten in three years, and in fact, losing only once in the last six clashes against the Auld Enemy, Scotland racked up another impressive victory.
Congratulations to the entire team, players and guides! Now we've taken the overall lead in the history of the tournament, and the home of golf is now also firmly, the home of the Auld Enemy Cup!
Don't forget the guides.... Congratulations go to:
As our team arrived in Helensburgh I think we all knew that we had a very strong team and that the course was going to suit us. Helensburgh has some long carrys off the tee and We knew we could cope with them. After practice on the Monday it came down to choosing the pairings for the foursomes on Tuesday. I wanted to mix the handicaps up as much as possible but we were in a position where one of our pairings on both Tuesday and Wednesday would probably have a low aggregate handicap.
A lovely calm, mild day welcomed us for the opening ceremony at Helensburgh Golf Club and the hairs on the back of our necks were brought firmly to attention as both teams were piped out onto the course to be introduced to the captain and a good sized crowd who had gathered to watch. I chose to have Gerry Kelly and Jim Gales leading us out and they were picked to play Ron Tomlinson and Malcolm Elrick. As soon as I heard this draw I was delighted and it proved a very solid point for the team. I paired John Imrie with Rog Jeffrey to have a nice mix of handicaps and to match a new internationalist with a player with a load of international experience. They played against the very strong pairing of Jay Cookson and Derek Field who turned out to be just too strong. Ally Reid and Bennett Ward strolled to a comfortable victory against Mike Loten and Mike Mayo. Sam Sloan and I paired up for the first time in what was our 'low handicap' pairing of the first day and enjoyed a very > comfortable win against Barry Ritchie and Derrick Sheridan. John Miller and Peter Philip struggled to cope with some great play from Simon Cookson and Mike Tippett and then Stuart Wilkie and Ken Freeman wrapped up the first day with a convincing win against Roy McKnight and Bryan Richards.
Day two brought an even nicer day with warm sunshine and light winds. I decided to stick with the mixed handicaps and indeed decided against tradition to keep two of the pairings the same. Stuart Wilkie and Ken Freeman stayed together, went out first and won a narrow match against Roy McKnight. Peter Philip and John Imrie followed them out and came back with a great win against the tried and tested pair of Mike Loten and Barry Ritchie. Bennett ward and I paired up for a good win against Mike Mayo and Neil Baxter and when our 'low handicap' pairing of Sam Sloan and Ally reid won our fourth consecutive point against Derek Field and Derrick Sheridan I was absolutely delighted. Gerry Kelly and Jim Gales were paired up again and played Simon Cookson and Ron Tomlinson. An epic match was finally won by the English pairing on the seventeenth after a fantastic fightback from Gerry and Jim. Jay Cookson who was in great form and Malcolm Elrick proved just too strong for Myles Clark and John Miller.
With Scotland in the strong position of 8 - 4 ahead going into the singlesI brought Rog Jeffrey back in to the team to lead us out. He as I imagined would draw one of the Cookson boys and as he had disposed of Simon last year I felt that it was a correct decision. As it turned out he got Jay Cookson in the first match and as well as Rog played he could not beat Jay who was still playing fantastic golf. Ally Reid who played brilliantly throughout the week was second out and gave Mike Loten a really hard match, winning comfortably in the end. John Imrie had a struggle against Roy McKnight and came out all square at the end of the day. Gerry Kelly and Mike Mayo had a terrific match which Gerry won by two up. Peter Philip got another tough draw and took Simon Cookson all the way to the seventeenth before losing. I played in a great match withDerrick Sheridan to come from behind and nick it by one up. Stuart Wilkie also had an epic with Malcolm Elrick before losing out at the eighteenth. At this point we had three and a half points and needed only one more. We got it when Ken Freeman comfortably beat Barry Ritchie. The Auld Enemy's Cup was ours again and in true Ryder Cup tradition I was whisked back out on to the course after my match to confirm to the rest of the team that we had done it. I arrived just as Sam Sloan was tying up our fifth win of the day and after Myles Clark and Bryan Richards had sportingly called their match a half, Derek Field had overcome Jim Gales and John Miller had conceded his match against Ron Tomlinson.
The feeling of pride that washed through me at that moment is very difficult to describe. We had come so close in the previous two years and here it was at last. The team were terrific, top to bottom, players guides and supporters. The English team were strong but I believe their team spirit could not match ours and the result was nothing we didn't deserve. We were all treated royally at Helensburgh Golf Club and they deserve special praise. For me to go back there, to my home town and club was very special indeed and to have my parents, Sue and a lot of our friends watching made it even more special. I have thanked them already but once again to our team, our match winning team, thank you, you were brilliant. Same again next year !
Iain Prime, Captain.
Click on this image below to open up in a new window, Its the rogues gallery that won the Auld Enemy Cup 2003...