Joy for Royal Portrush Ladies as they win Ulster District Senior Cup

The winning Royal Portrush Ladies team.
The winning Royal Portrush Ladies team.

Royal Portrush Ladies are celebrating after winning the Ulster District Senior Cup at Malone Golf Club.

There was disappointment for Ballycastle though in the Plate final as they lost out to Bangor.

On the first day Royal Portrush’s Lucy Simpson, Gemma McClenaghan and Naiomh Quigg secured early wins against Shandon Park with 4/3, 7/5 and 7/5 victories over Jenny Young, Helen McCarthy and Diane Nickels.

In the first of the plate matches neighbouring clubs Bangor and Holywood keenly contested for a semi-final place with Bangor finally getting the win. Lurgan and RCDL’s decision not to participate in the Plate competition resulted in a walkover for Ballycastle and Bangor into the final of the Plate.

In glorious sunshine, Royal Portrush played against home club, Malone, in the first of the morning’s semi-final matches. The experienced Helen Jones claimed the first win of the morning for Royal Portrush with a 4/3 victory over Becky McNiece, which was followed by Hannah Henderson’s 3/2 win over Miriam Doherty. Further wins of 2up and 1up by Lucy Simpson and Gemma McClenaghan over Louise Coffey and Paula Metcalfe clinched a place in the Final for Royal Portrush, despite a spirited performance by the Malone ladies.

In the second of the Semi-finals, Clandeboye versus Belvoir Park, Clandeboye got an early boost with experienced Nikki Currie’s 5/4 win over Jenny Gibson. The other matches were robustly contested until eventually Caroline Adams and Jessica Ross won their matches 2 up and 1 up respectively over Belvoir Park’s Olivia McClurg and Violet McBride.

Spectators of the final of the Plate competition were treated to an exciting series of matches between Ballycastle and Bangor. Rita McCormick’s early win of 4/3 over Jacque Hamilton gave great encouragement to the Ballycastle team and their supporters. However Finola Duncan’s 3/2 win over Fiona Glass balanced the scores. The next two matches were decided on the 18 green, again maintaining the balance. The final match was eventually concluded in Bangor’s favour, when Rachel Graham won her match against Una McQuillan on the 19th hole.

For their final match Royal Portrush fielded 4 of the morning team, with Emma Forbes replacing Helen Jones whilst the Clandeboye team remained unchanged. The experienced Naoimh Quigg’s 4/3 win over Caroline Adams was soon followed by Jessica Ross’s two up win over Lucy Simpson.

The score remained at one game each until Emma Forbe’s 4/3 victory over Sonia Hopley gave Royal Portrush the lead again. All eyes were on the second and fourth matches as both teams battled for a place at the National Final in Greystones in August.

News of Hannah Henderson’s win had not filtered back to the 18 green before the indomitable Gemma McClenaghan halved the hole to claim her match against Nikki Currie 1 up.

Needless to say Royal Portrush were delighted to win the District Senior Cup but acknowledged that Clandeboye had provided very strong opposition in all matches.