Slinfold pair so close to national glory

Slinfold's Karen Ashcroft and Cathy Cowney at the Forets of Arden
Slinfold's Karen Ashcroft and Cathy Cowney at the Forets of Arden

Slinfold’s Karen Ashcroft and Cathy Downey have cemented their claim to be among the best foursomes pairings in the country.

Former English Open venue the Forest of Arden hosted the Daily Mail Foursomes final last week, and after winning seven consecutive matches, the Slinfold pairing were along 16 finalists. And they went one better than last year’s third place finish, with defeat in the final match.

More than 1,500 clubs originally entered the nationwide competition in February, so it was the pick of the country’s pairs which had reached the last 16.

First up, Cathy and Karen faced Bolton Golf Club, and despite having to give their opposition three shots, raced into a four hole lead before they went on to secure an emphatic 7&5 victory to reach the quarter finals.

In the last-eight, the Slinfold duo had to give eight shots to their opposition from Royal Tarlair in Aberdeenshire. But that did not deter them, as they cruised to a comfortable 5&3 win.

The next morning saw another early start, against high calibre opposition. Truro Golf Club’s Sarah-Jayne Boyd, the 2012 British Amateur Strokeplay champion, playing off +1, and her partner Nathalie John, off eight, conceded nine shots. It would take a impressive performance - and Cathy conjured up something special on the 17th with a chip-in to secure a 2&1 win and a place in the national final. It proved a step too far however, as the pair from Stocksbridge & District Golf Club in Sheffield proved too good as five rounds in two and a half days took its toll. Drained of energy after the tense semi-final, Cathy and Karen had to settle for second place.

Karen said: “An incredible achievement to finish second in a National competition. This is an amazingly consistent performance.”