Kenwick Park bid for grand final return after pain in Spain

The Kenwick Park squad stand on the first tee, from left - Lewis Hackett, Gary Spencer, Sam Done, Mick Upton, Stephen Ashby, Ashton Turner, Kieron Spencer-Chaplin EMN-161128-162528002

The Kenwick Park squad stand on the first tee, from left - Lewis Hackett, Gary Spencer, Sam Done, Mick Upton, Stephen Ashby, Ashton Turner, Kieron Spencer-Chaplin EMN-161128-162528002

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Kenwick Park will be bidding to go one better next year after missing out on an historic double at the Mail on Sunday Club Classic grand finals in Spain.

They were looking to become the first-ever club in the competition’s history to win both the men’s and ladies’ titles, having started their odyssey back in February along with 3,157 other teams.

The Kenwick Park squad were one of just four clubs to reach the grand finals - 3,158 team entered the national competition. From left -  Gary Spencer, Kieron Spencer Chaplin, Ashton Turner, Sam Done, Lewis Hackett, Mick Upton and Stephen Ashby EMN-161128-162515002

The Kenwick Park squad were one of just four clubs to reach the grand finals - 3,158 team entered the national competition. From left - Gary Spencer, Kieron Spencer Chaplin, Ashton Turner, Sam Done, Lewis Hackett, Mick Upton and Stephen Ashby EMN-161128-162515002

The men’s five-strong squad of captain Stephen Ashby, Mick Upton, Kieron Spencer-Chaplin, Lewis Hackett and Sam Done came within a whisker of forcing a play-off in last Tuesday’s semi-final against South Staffs.

But their stirring fightback on the back nine fell agonisingly short as they succumbed to a narrow three-and-a-half points to one-and-a-half defeat.

“Hopefully we can go back there next year and have another try,” said Ashby.

“We were really unlucky in the semi-final. We all played really well, but in my game the other guy had two 60ft chips go straight in the hole so I knew it wasn’t my day.

“All the games were close; we just didn’t get the luck.”

Park quickly picked themselves up for the following day’s third/fourth place play-off, but were beaten on the first hole of a sudden death play-off after the match against Porter’s Park had ended in a tie.

Birdie Dawson, a member of Kenwick’s winning ladies’ team from 1995, was there at the El Rompido Golf Resort, in Andalusia, to support, but it was County Durham club Consett and District who took the honours with a 3-2 win over South Staffs in the final.

“In the play-off we were really strong up front with two wins and Sam (Done) got a half to take it to sudden death,” Ashby added.

“It could’ve gone either way, it was nip and tuck, but there’s always only one winner.

“There were four good teams and all four were winners for getting there, but I would have liked to have been number one.

“We were disappointed not to win, but it was such an achievement.”

Ashton Turner was unable to play in the final after turning professional in the weeks following their thrilling quarter-final victory over Cleckheaton, but travelled with the team and caddied for Done.

Ashby said: “I would have stepped aside if Ashton had been available and I think we might have done a bit better, but it was an absolutely fantastic experience and we got a nice trophy for the club.

“To have 200 people watching as you are announced on to the first tee, it was like playing in a major.”