ALTHOUGH Scotsman Ian Watt (8) and Irishman Noel McCourt (13) did not trouble the scorers on too many occasions during last year, they made amends in the final competition of 2011, New Year’s Eve’s FBBB played off three-quarters handicap.
The Celtic Tigers made light of their reduced handicap allowances of six and 10 respectively to add 23 points coming home to their 22 points over the front nine for a winning 45-point card, the only blemish on which was the one-pointer at the 5th hole which was more than offset by Watt’s nett eagle at the 1st.
More regular visitors to the podium, Karl Logan (5) and Anthony Crawley (8), would be forgiven for thinking that the top step beckoned again after reaching the turn with a massive 25 points carded. But a couple of one-pointers - at the 10th and 14th - and a failure to pick up the more or less regulation birdie at the last saw them having to settle for the runner-up goodies after signing their 44-point card.
This was just a point to the good over joint leaders in the Colas Winter League, Stuart Wallace (10) and Robin Crellin (5), and the pairing of Kevin Clarke (8) and Peter Moy (12). A two on Saturday gets a shop credit of £8.50
New Year’s Day saw a big turnout for the drive-in of the 2012 captain John Slattery. Although a bundle of nerves, the 48-year-old retail manager at Shoprite held himself together to smash his first attempt out of sight - at least it was out of sight once it came to earth 160 yards away on the sodden 18th fairway.
Encouraged by the roar of appreciation from the packed gallery, the skipper tempted fate by trying to repeat the dose. Big mistake - the second effort took a violent turn to the right and was last seen entering the Duggan estate at a rate of knots. Nevertheless the post drive-in social in the packed clubhouse saw the captain’s year get off to a cracking fun-filled start.
Action in the Colas Winter League resumes this Sunday after the festive break with the joint leaders - the Savages and tthe Wallace/Crellin combo - no doubt anxious to return to winning ways after suffering their first defeats just before the break. An individual stableford will start the 2012 ball rolling on Saturday.