Representing Lincolnshire for the fourth time in the last five years, Spalding put in another sterling performance to again finish fifth in the England Champion Club tournament played over two days at the picturesque, par-72 Trentham course, Stoke-on-Trent.
The Spalding trio of Andy Grimwood (handicap -1), Mark Mitchell (0) and Simon Richardson (-4) equalled last year’s performance in achieving Lincolnshire’s best finish since 1984.
A total of 34 county champion clubs contested the 36-hole strokeplay tournament, with each team consisting of three players, with the lowest combined scratch score winning the competition, and with all three scores to count.
Lying in third place after round one, Spalding finished 15 strokes behind the winners after Grimwood (74+75=149) +5, Mitchell (78+77=155) +11 and a great performance from Richardson (69+69=138) -6 gave them a 442 +10 total.
Southport & Ainsdale, Lancashire, were the runaway winners with 427, -5 total, 10 strokes ahead of Hindhead, Surrey, with +5 and defending champions Coventry, Warwickshire, on +9.
Hesswall, Cheshire, were also on +10 with Spalding but were awarded fourth place on countback with a better final round.
Richardson had 11 birdies over the two days and his six-under-par 36 hole total was the best of the 100-plus golfers present.
It looked really good for Spalding for a while, up to second place after 27 holes, but after a very average combined back nine holes it was not to be.
However the players, caddies and supporters were pleased with again being ranked the fifth best team in England.
The Lovell Cup competition was won by Mike O’Brien and Andy Rafferty with a score of 43 points.
In a greensome Stableford format, for pairs in different handicap categories, they lifted the trophy with a single-point winning margin from a field of 51 pairs.
In second place was Stuart Armstrong & Darrel Cross on countback from James Crampton & Rob Dunmore, both scoring 42. Ollie Mitchell & Joe Slater edged fourth spot, also on countback from Neil Clarke & Chris Lambe, with 41.
Other leading scores: 40 – John Goode & Keith Hearne; 39 – Maurice Crunkhorn & Andy Thomas, Phil Wakefield & Steve Phillips, Phil Tweddell & Martin Ackers, Rod Filby & John Walker; 38 – Vic Davis & Reg Stubbs, Simon Rothwell & Mark Crozier, Martin Baker & Chris Flynn, Matthew Richardson & Mark Payne.