LANCASHIRE won the Daily Telegraph Northern Counties League for the second time in five years after a dramatic end to the season.
They beat Durham 10-8 at Clitheroe then had an anxious half-hour wait before they were crowned champions when they heard Cumbria had despatched leaders Yorkshire by the same margin at Ulverston.
“I did not think we’d done enough,” said a jubilant Bill Bromilow, who could complete his second grand slam since taking over the captaincy in 2008 if his charges prevail in English Finals at Beau Desert at the end of the month.
“We were in the driving seat after winning the foursomes 6-0 but Durham hit back in the singles and gave us a real scare.
“We knew Yorkshire were 4-2 ahead at lunch and with a superior ‘goal average’ they looked on course to claim the title. Then Cumbria did us a big favour and I’m pleased they finished runners-up. ”
Sean Doherty and Jon Hurst gave the Red Rose side a flying start to the singles, both winning 5&4, but when county champion Mark Young and John Carroll succumbed resilient Durham launched a fightback.
They won six of the last eight singles with only Ciaran Doherty, Sean’s younger brother, and Paul Kinnear preventing them from producing a shock result.
Shot of the day was a hole in one at the 14th by Tyneside’s Ricky Lee.
Meanwhile, defending champions Cheshire avoided the wooden spoon when they beat Northumberland at the county club 12-6.
Results Foursomes: John Carroll (Huyton and Prescot) and Jon Hurst (Pleasington) bt Ricky Lee (Tyneside) and Martin McCririck (Heworth) 4&3; Mark Young (Longridge) and Sean Doherty (Bury) bt Stuart Brown (Castle Eden) and James Simpson (Whickam) 3&1; Paul Howard (S&A) and Steve McGlynn (Blackburn) bt Andrew Wilson (Darlington) and Joe Cowper (Wynyard) 5&3; Ian Kenwright (Haydock Park) and Ciaran Doherty (Bury) bt Michael Curry (Brancepeth Castle) and Shaun Embleton (Ryton) 4&3; Richie Blundell (Hillside) and Michael Hunt (Pleasington) bt Daniel Beeson (Tyneside) and Ian McEntee (South Moor) 2&1; Sean Towndrow (S&A) and Paul Kinnear (Formby) bt Gavin Nesbit (Boldon) and Rhys Thompson (Boldon) 4&2 Singles: Young lost to Lee 2&1; Carroll lost to Simpson 3&2; S Doherty bt Curry 5&4; Hurst bt Brown 5&4; Howard lost to McCririck 2h; Kenwright lost to Wilson 3&2; C Doherty bt Cowper 4&2; Blundell lost to Embleton 2&1; Hunt lost to Thompson 5&4; Kinnear bt Beeson 3&2; Towndrow lost to McEntee 1h; McGlynn lost to Nesbit 3&2