Practice makes BG Cup perfect

BARNS-GRAHAM CUP champions: Mark Norman (left) and Dave Jenkins combined impressively to win the 2018 Barns-Graham Cup men’s pairs at Poverty Bay on Sunday. Picture by Paul Rickard

PLENTY of practice balls have rained down on Watson Park from the clubs of Dave Jenkins and Mark Norman.

Some smart Alec claimed Jenkins had been allocated a personal parking space, such were the regular sightings of his Country Foods truck at the beachside reserve.

All that practice paid off for brothers-in-law Jenkins and Norman on Sunday in the form of a piece of illustrious silverware — the Barns-Graham Cup.

Jenkins, 63, and Norman, 58, defeated 70-plus-year-olds Colin Christie and Cliff Poole 5 and 4 in the handicap final.

Both pairs navigated a minefield of four rounds of matchplay to be the last two standing in a cup first presented by then club captain John Barns-Graham in 1951.

History was on the side of Poole and Christie. The course set-up probably wasn’t.

Poole is a two-time winner of the BG while Christie’s name is on the trophy once.

But it was always going to be tough for them to add to those records when they fronted up on Sunday to see the championship blue tees placed at near maximum distance.

In contrast, Jenkins and Norman disguised gleeful smiles, as the extra metreage ate into any advantage their opponents might have in the driving accuracy department.

The combined performance of Jenkins (off a 9-handicap) and Norman (off 13) increased the ascent of that challenge to a Tour de France stage through the Pyrenees.

Christie was getting seven shots off Jenkins while Poole received six, but they needed more as Jenkins threw 11 pars at them over the duration of the match and Norman chimed in several vital times, including a birdie on the 10th.

The winners later worked out that they were a combined 1-over the card when hands were shaken.

It was the first BG Cup title for a pair, who bar a few years, have played in it together for probably 20 years.

Jenkins said before this year, they had never made it past the third round.

The BG Cup semifinals were held on Saturday. Jenkins and Norman beat father and son Vance and Nick Richardson 2 and 1 while Poole and Christie overcame David Situ and Ewan Atherton 3 and 2.

Dave Pirimona needed skill, steely resolve and stamina as he retained the Bryan Cup subsidiary title albeit with a different partner.

Pirimona won it in 2017 with Steve Palmer. This year he had Stefan Andreassen alongside him and they needed overtime in both their matches at the weekend.

Sunday’s final was an encore performance. Having beaten Clive Dean and John Williams on the 19th on Saturday, Pirimona and Andreassen repeated that extra hole drama against Tene Goldsmith and Glenn Burnside in the final.

On both occasions, Pirimona and Andreassen were 1-down playing the 18th.

Pirimona could also point out that the pairs who knocked him out of the Barns-Graham Cup this year and in 2017 went on to win the crown.

The demise of defending BG champions Neil Mackie and Paul Mullooly, who failed to even make the 32 qualifiers this year, had a silverware lining.

They beat Craig Bauld and Les Gunther 5 and 4 in the final of the Barns-Graham Plate for non-qualifiers.

Mackie completed a treble of the BG Cup, BG Plate and Bryan Cup in his many years as a member of Poverty Bay.

Despite the embarrassment of failing to get past the qualifying hurdle, lawyer Mackie preferred to focus on the positive of going through the competition unbeaten in matchplay for the second year running.

An accurate but weak closing address.

PLENTY of practice balls have rained down on Watson Park from the clubs of Dave Jenkins and Mark Norman.

Some smart Alec claimed Jenkins had been allocated a personal parking space, such were the regular sightings of his Country Foods truck at the beachside reserve.

All that practice paid off for brothers-in-law Jenkins and Norman on Sunday in the form of a piece of illustrious silverware — the Barns-Graham Cup.

Jenkins, 63, and Norman, 58, defeated 70-plus-year-olds Colin Christie and Cliff Poole 5 and 4 in the handicap final.

Both pairs navigated a minefield of four rounds of matchplay to be the last two standing in a cup first presented by then club captain John Barns-Graham in 1951.

History was on the side of Poole and Christie. The course set-up probably wasn’t.

Poole is a two-time winner of the BG while Christie’s name is on the trophy once.

But it was always going to be tough for them to add to those records when they fronted up on Sunday to see the championship blue tees placed at near maximum distance.

In contrast, Jenkins and Norman disguised gleeful smiles, as the extra metreage ate into any advantage their opponents might have in the driving accuracy department.

The combined performance of Jenkins (off a 9-handicap) and Norman (off 13) increased the ascent of that challenge to a Tour de France stage through the Pyrenees.

Christie was getting seven shots off Jenkins while Poole received six, but they needed more as Jenkins threw 11 pars at them over the duration of the match and Norman chimed in several vital times, including a birdie on the 10th.

The winners later worked out that they were a combined 1-over the card when hands were shaken.

It was the first BG Cup title for a pair, who bar a few years, have played in it together for probably 20 years.

Jenkins said before this year, they had never made it past the third round.

The BG Cup semifinals were held on Saturday. Jenkins and Norman beat father and son Vance and Nick Richardson 2 and 1 while Poole and Christie overcame David Situ and Ewan Atherton 3 and 2.

Dave Pirimona needed skill, steely resolve and stamina as he retained the Bryan Cup subsidiary title albeit with a different partner.

Pirimona won it in 2017 with Steve Palmer. This year he had Stefan Andreassen alongside him and they needed overtime in both their matches at the weekend.

Sunday’s final was an encore performance. Having beaten Clive Dean and John Williams on the 19th on Saturday, Pirimona and Andreassen repeated that extra hole drama against Tene Goldsmith and Glenn Burnside in the final.

On both occasions, Pirimona and Andreassen were 1-down playing the 18th.

Pirimona could also point out that the pairs who knocked him out of the Barns-Graham Cup this year and in 2017 went on to win the crown.

The demise of defending BG champions Neil Mackie and Paul Mullooly, who failed to even make the 32 qualifiers this year, had a silverware lining.

They beat Craig Bauld and Les Gunther 5 and 4 in the final of the Barns-Graham Plate for non-qualifiers.

Mackie completed a treble of the BG Cup, BG Plate and Bryan Cup in his many years as a member of Poverty Bay.

Despite the embarrassment of failing to get past the qualifying hurdle, lawyer Mackie preferred to focus on the positive of going through the competition unbeaten in matchplay for the second year running.

An accurate but weak closing address.

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