2014 Premiers – The Grange
(L – R) Manager – Nick Cheary, Jack Williams, Ben Tucker, Justin Crowder, Ben Stowe, Matthew Lisk, Andre Na, Scott Webb
The Grange has won its 22nd Simpson Cup and first title since 3-in-a-row from 2007-2009, after defeating Kooyonga 4 matches to 3 in an epic final, won on the 18th green in front of a huge gallery.
Played in fantastic conditions on the remodelled East Course at The Grange Golf Club, the Grange fielded four players not involved in last season’s loss to Kooyonga . They were; Ben Stowe, Andre Na, Ben Tucker and Scott Webb replacing Chris Brown, Anthony Murdaca, Nick Cheary and Rudi Du Plooy.
Kooyonga only had one change to their 2013 winning team, with Zak Fuller coming in for Jordan Bishop who had played 6 minor round matches. A gutsy call by Kooyonga, with Fuller only playing one match for the season in the last minor round and in the Bonnar Cup.
Fuller, a big game player was gunning for his 5th straight flag after winning 3 in-a-row with Tea Tree Gully from 2010-2012, before moving to Kooyonga and winning 7&6 in last season’s win.
Fullers grand final experience was no match however for Grange number 7 Scott Webb who himself has won a number of flags playing Division one Football with powerhouse side Goodwood Saints and simply knows how to win. Webb took the match 2&1 to give Grange the early lead.
At number 6, Cocks versus Tucker would be the only minor round rematch. In their round one meeting, Cocks won 1up, taking a mental advantage into the clash. In the final, he again proved too steady, to win 3&2 for Kooyonga, squaring the ledger.
Grange hit back with Andre Na disposing of Charles Shaw 3&1. After Na bludgeoned his first tee shot down the middle of the fairway to the gasps of the crowd, Shaw was going to be in for a tough day. Shaw was valiant though considering his recent wretched run with injury.
Before long it was back to 2-2 after Daniel Speirs defeated Grange Skipper Justin Crowder at number four.
With the Junior and Women’s A1 finals presentations completed, the crowd started to swell with Kooyonga supporters in light blue and The Grange in green colours.
Kooyonga then hit the front to lead 3-2 courtesy of the ever-reliable Heath Riches, defeating Ben Stowe, an important scalp considering Stowe had won all 7 minor round matches and was named The Grange player of the season.
The number 2 match was another intense battle with Matthew Lisk from the Grange going head to head with Tim Baker. Lisk was looking to redeem himself after going down in his previous two finals matches in 2011 and last year against Daniel Speirs.
Lisk managed to get the job done winning his match 2&1 to square the overall contest 3 all.
News had earlier, already filtered down to the players in the number one match between Jack Williams (Grange) and Will Somerfield (Kooyonga), that their match would likely be the decider.
At that very stage, the players were on the 15th tee with Somerfield 2up with 4holes to play.
Kooyonga then edged closer to victory, with both players making par on the 124 metre par 3, 15th hole.
On the par 5, 16th Somerfield found the bunker with his second and couldn’t reach the green in regulation, whereas Williams hit an exquisite approach shot landing to within 3 metres. To the cheers of the crowd, Williams made the crucial birdie putt, reducing the margin to 1 with 2 to play.
On the 397 metre par 4, 17th both players were on in two. Somerfield faced a long uphill putt after hitting his approach from the fairway bunker. His birdie attempt was gallant, but finished a few feet past the hole.
After Williams 20 foot birdie putt lipped out, Somerfield had a delicate 3 footer for par, but pushed it past the hole. Williams then calmly rolled his short putt in, to win the hole and square the match and contest.
On the Par 5, 18th Williams was trouble free off the tee, whereas Somerfield going for extra distance, sprayed his far right landing on the fairway of the 1st West Course.
Williams played his second safely down the right side staying well clear of the bunkers, while Somerfield rather than playing blind, decided to follow the line of the opposite fairway.
Up first and under pressure Somerfield played a splendid approach to with 15 feet to stay in the ball game. Up next and with nerves of steel two time SA Amateur Champion Williams, known for his short game prowess, played a stunning approach to within two feet to gain the ascendency.
Somerfield knew he had to make birdie and only just missed, high side of the hole. Williams then stepped up and with the Grange faithful holding their breath, calmly rolled in for birdie.
Williams was duly swamped by his teammates and rightly so after a winning the final three holes to anchor his side to a Simpson Cup triumph.
“I couldn’t ask for anything more" said Williams after claiming his first flag.
Grange Team Manager Nick Cheary was also understandably elated with the win “the result today was amazing and the finish was incredible. The team dug deep for each other and never lost belief in our ability to come through with a win under pressure.” Cheary said.
“It was a quality contest and the club is immensely proud of our players and support crew” Cheary added.
It must be noted the both teams showed each other the uttermost respect, with the final being played within the spirit of the game. Good sportsmanship takes maturity and courage and Kooyonga handled defeat with grace and style, with Kooyonga Team Manager Geoff Raneberg praising the character of the Grange team.
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Jack Williams making birdie on the 18th – The Grange win the Simpson Cup 4-3
Jack Williams wins the 17th with a par to square the final match
Williams wins the 16th with a birdie 4 to be 1 down with 2 holes to play