Frinton Golf Club reached the final of the Thornton Cup Plate for the first time in its long history.
The format of the Plate is for the two teams to play 5 matches of singles match play at home and away simultaneously. Frinton had drawn The Burstead Golf Club in the Semi Final – Burstead had won their two previous home legs by 5-0 and on their tricky hard and bouncy fairways were a difficult nut to crack.
Weather conditions were absolutely perfect, with warm sunny weather and very little wind. Indeed, the lack of wind at Frinton proved to be a leveller, almost as much as the poor putting surfaces that prevailed at Frinton – due to planned maintenance work, the heavily sanded greens were very slow and bumpy.
First blood went to Burstead – young Harry Merchant comfortably defeating the out of sorts James Hide. James Taggart then levelled for Frinton, beating Richard Honeyman 6&5. When Tigg Tanner won 5+3 – it was a victory for patience by ‘the engine room’, against the chatty young Noah Andrews. Terry Paine was 2 under par against Rob Trotman as Burstead drew level at 2-2.
The experienced Simon O’Brien restored Frinton’s advantage winning 5+4 at Burstead. 3-2 Frinton. However, in a close encounter, Hamish Stubbs was defeated on the last hole by Burstead’s Ian Nicholson – 3-3.
Frinton’s budding golf professional Joe Bushell was left kicking his heals in the pro shop at Frinton – however his replacement, Freddie Brett turned on the power in the final holes to defeat a firey George Tunbridge by 3+1. 4-3 Frinton.
In an encounter that saw young Reece Balls narrowly defeat Burstead’s Tom Sillitoe after going 3 ahead, only to be pulled back to 1 down – Reece birdied the final two holes to win 1 up. 5-3 Frinton.
Play was now complete at Frinton and as the teams enjoyed their splendid sandwiches in the sumptuous new bar, players and spectators nervously awaited the outcome of the final two matches at Burstead.
Kevin Smith – Frinton’s ‘leader of the pack’ had no answer for Will Fosher’s 4 chip-in’s and lost 4+3. 5-4 Frinton.
The final action in this tight encounter was decided by Frinton’s Mitchell McAuley, whom fought back splendidly from 3 down, with two laser-like shots into the last two holes to win 1 up. 6-4 Frinton.