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Magnificent seven as Lancs begin their defence

Doherty shines as he beats former professional Barker

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Ciaran Doherty, Lancashire Golf

Lancashire began their defence of the Daily Telegraph Northern Counties League title when they beat a resilient Cheshire by seven points at wind-lashed West Lancs.

The reigning English champions did not have things all their own way early in the proceedings and their neighbours looked set to claim the foursomes until Ian Kenwright and James Rooney battled back from three holes down with four to play to prevail on the final green.

As conditions deteriorated, Cheshire remained in contention during the singles with neither side gaining the ascendancy in the top four ties.

Captain Paul Williams said: “Coming to the turn it was all pretty even and in that 25 mph wind anything could have happened but then we moved up a gear and won seven of the remaining eight games.

“Up to that point Cheshire put up a lot of resistance and I admit I was a bit worried. We had five of our top players missing but the lads who replaced them proved we’ve a lot of strength in depth.”

Notable performances came from Ciaran Doherty, who eclipsed former professional Barry Barker 5&3, host club players Louis Tomlinson who dispatched Jon Beesley, who also had a spell in the paid ranks, 3&2, and anchor man James Rooney marking his debut by beating Ashley Sage by a similar margin.

Meanwhile, Williams revealed that Paul Kinnear, playing in the European Tour’s Madeira Open this weekend, and his England team-mate Paul Howard, will be absent for the league match against Yorkshire at Selby on May 31. But they will be available for the Northern Counties Championship at Ganton on June 6, which Lancashire have won for the last four years.

Elsewhere, Yorkshire crushed Durham 14-4 at Fulford and Cumbria overpowered Northumberland 13.5-4.5 at Seascale.

Lancashire 12.5 CHESHIRE 5.5. Foursomes: Paul Howard (S&A) & Louis Tomlinson (West Lancs) halved with James McCormick (Styal) & Tom Lawton (Wilmslow); Mark Young (Clitheroe) & Ciaran Doherty (Bury)  bt Dominic Barnes (Caldy) & David Hird (Wallasey) 4&3; Jonathan Hurst (Pleasington) & Michael Hunt (Pleasington) lost to David Peel (Stockport) & Barry Barker (Stockport) 6&4; John Carroll (Huyton & Prescot) & Sean Blinkhorn (S&A) bt Jon Beesley (Mere) & Joe Armitt (Prestbury) 7&5; Sean Towndrow (S&A) & Joe Brice (Manchester) lost to Ashey Sage (Sandiway) & Chris Harrison (Sandiway) 4&3; Ian Kenwright (Haydock Park) & James Rooney (West Lancs) bt Adam Tuft (Royal Liverpool) & Lewis George (Delamere Forest) 1h. Singles: Howard bt McCormick 1h; Hurst lost to Barnes 3&2; Young bt Lawton 4&3; Carroll lost to Hird 2&1; Towndrow bt Peel 1h; Doherty bt Barker 5&3; Tomlinson bt Beesley 3&2; Hunt bt Armitt 1h; Blinkhorn bt Harrison 3&2; Kenwright bt Tuft 2&1; Brice lost to George 2&1; Rooney bt Sage 3&2.

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