Leeds duo Ben Hutchinson and Ben Firth fly the Yorkshire flag in style

HOWLEY HALL'S Ben Hutchinson and Ben Firth, of Wike Ridge, helped Yorkshire get their defence of the Northern Counties League title off to a successful start with an 11-7 win over Northumberland at Ponteland.

Ben Hutchinson seen receiving the Yorkshire amateur championship trophy from then YUGC president Jonathan Plaxton after his victory at Moortown two years ago.

Former Yorkshire champion Hutchinson, Firth and Callum Macfie, of Lindrick, all enjoyed perfect returns of two points apiece.

Hutchinson had teamed with current Yorkshire champion Alex Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire) to win the top match in the foursomes 4&2 and followed that by winning 3&2 at the head of the singles battles, against City of Newcastle’s Phil Ridden.

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Firth was out in game two in the morning alongside Damon Coulson (Fulford) and after their 3&1 triumph he secured a 2&1 defeat of Mark Wharton (City of Newcastle) in game four in the singles.

The teams were separated by just a point after the opening foursomes. But Darryl Berry’s men produced a forceful singles showing with the tailenders carrying a real sting, bringing home the full point in four of the five closing match-ups.

n Twelve-year-old Abigail Taylor (Headingley ) put up a notable showing in her first Yorkshire ladies championship by qualifying for the match play stages with rounds of 83 and 85 at Pannal.

She then took England Golf girls’ squad player Nicola Slater (Woodsome Hall) to the 16th green before succumbing 3&2.

To complete a memorable championship, Abigail was runner-up in the net category of an 18-hole competition run by the Yorkshire Ladies’ County Golf Association on the last day of the event.