Date: July 13, 2015
Author: Christian Puccini / Golf SA

2015 Simpson Cup Champions – Kooyonga Golf Club

/> 2015 Simpson Cup Champions – Kooyonga Golf Club
L-R Tim Baker, Daniel Speirs, Sam Gava, Zak Fuller, Heath Riches, Will Somerfield, Joe Hodgson, Peter Johns.

Kooyonga has won the 2015 Simpson Cup after defeating arch enemy The Grange 5.5 – 1.5 in a final played in arctic conditions at Kooyonga.

Despite the gale-force winds and extreme chill factor, the contest was tight throughout, with both sides giving their all to claim the Cup.

In a surprise move, The Grange chose to select both Ben Tucker and Jack Thompson over Mark Demasi who had played all seven minor rounds matches, Tucker and Thompson had both played four. However, with The Grange also in the Bonnar Cup Final the decision was perhaps less arduous.

Both teams fielded two players each not involved in last year’s epic final. Kooyonga brought in young gun Joe Hodgson and 2009 SA Amateur Champion Sam Gava, while Grange played junior state rep Jack Thompson and the experienced Alex Hendrick, back this season after a long layoff.

The final was tight early and after nine holes Grange was leading in three matches, Kooyonga in two, while the remaining two matches were square.

At number seven, Zak Fuller was 2up over Jack Thompson at the turn and maintain his lead to score the first point for Kooyonga with a 3&2 victory.

It was a tough ask for Thompson who was up against the most experienced finalist in Fuller, who was playing in his sixth straight Simpson Cup final after winning 3-in-a-row with Tea Tree Gully from 2010-2012 then winning in his first year with Kooyonga in 2013.

At number six, Joe Hodgson played Ben Tucker and led 1up through nine. The match was back square after 17 and it would come down to the last hole to decide the match. With nerves of steel, Hodgson prevailed winning the last to take the match 1up and give Kooyonga a two nil lead.

Sam Gava was having an almighty tussle with Alex Hendrick at match five, coming back from being four down after six holes and then narrowing the margin to two through nine.

The match was back all square after 14 and then Gava edged ahead by one with a few to play.

At the same time Daniel Speirs and Justin Crowder were doing battle at number four, in the only rematch of last year’s final which Spiers took 3&2. And it would be more of the same with Speirs again winning 3&2, to claim the third match for Kooyonga, putting his side in the box seat.

At that stage Gava was on the 17th green with a one shot lead and The Grange were leading in the top three matches.

With the Kooyonga Junior’s winning the Sharp Cup title earlier in the day and now amongst the crowd the Kooyonga supporters were prominent in their light blue colours.

Despite the pressure scenario, Gava didn’t hold back attacking the cup to nail a long range putt in front of a large gallery to win his match 2&1 and the Simpson Cup for Kooyonga.

Despite Andre Na leading Heath Riches 1up thru 16 in the number three match and Stowe 3up on Tim Baker and Williams 1up against Will Somerfield, all matches were immediately halved as an overall result had been achieved.

Kooyonga Captain Heath Riches was delighted with how his team performed especially the lower order.

“After having such a close game last year, it’s pretty good to get up. I know Will Somerfield was very disappointed after losing last year, so it’s good for him and all of us to be on a winning team this year,” Riches said.

“It was pretty close, when I got around to nine, we were down and yeah they just came over and said on the 17th hole it was all over and that we won the first four matches, so the last three games picked up,” he added

“It was a pretty good effort from the last four guys especially as the weather out there was pretty rough. It means a lot to the players but the members love pennant here at Kooyonga, the Pennant dinner tonight will be off the rails”

“We set our team up to get four wins, so for the last four guys to win the first four games was a great effort, it was huge. As I said we didn’t even finish the last couple of games which was a bit of a surprise. It’s great to get first wins for Joe Hodgson and Sam Gava and for our reserve Pete Johns.”

“Everyone is pumped; the players are pretty pumped and the members.”

Kooyonga Team Manager Geoff Raneberg was elated with the result after the 4-3 loss to Grange last year.

“Absolutely delighted with the result, given the hard work and the commitment the squad has made and given the result from last year, which steeled the players into action to make sure the result was a bit different this year,” Geoff Raneberg said.

Raneberg made special mention of his ‘bottom four’ and new players into the side.

“Sam Gava is a welcome return to Pennant Golf and Joe Hodgson who is in his first year of Simpson Cup; we will see more of him and Zak Fuller and Danny Speirs were consistent, solid performers all year,” Raneberg added.

Once again respect was evident between both teams, with the final being played within the spirit of the game.

The win is Kooyonga’s 33rd Simpson Cup, they now move 11 clear of The Grange.

Final Results

Facebook Photo Albumn

Video below of Sam Gava nailing his putt to secure the win for Kooyonga:

Video below of Presentation Ceremony: