HELENSBURGH Golf Club’s Winter League competitors gathered at the clubhouse on Friday night to celebrate another successful year for the popular tournament.

With Ivor Jones, convener of the competition, acting as MC, the evening began with a minute of silence in recognition of the passing of Frank Shields, who died recently at the age of 92 and had been a Helensburgh member for 72 years.

Seventy-four members were present, including Ivor’s supporting team of Crawford Howat, Angus Macdonald and Alan Latham, who processed, verified and recorded more than 300 score cards during the competition.

READ MORE: Fantastic scores in final week of Helensburgh's Winter League

Ivor also recognised the achievements and generosity of club professional Fraser Hall who had provided the cocktail party at the start of the series, along with his assistant, Dominic Taylor, in their roles of keeping the competitions flowing, along with the skills and dedication of the greens team under the direction of Robert Bacon, who had presented the course in excellent condition.

Finally, he complemented Stuart Graham who had managed the photography, website administration and weekly reports on the latest action.

Appreciation was also extended to the clubhouse staff for the bar and catering services.

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The series had suffered a delayed start, with the first week having to be postponed due to the weather, which also had a notable influence in later weeks, with frozen conditions requiring two rounds to be played on winter greens.

Fifty-six prizes were awarded over the seven weeks of the competition, plus another 14 on the night of the dinner.

In addition, 15 raffle prizes were won over the seven weeks and a further 10 were added on the night. The ‘Lotto Bonus Ball’ draw produced eight winners.

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There were 102 recorded ‘twos’ during the series – 16 more than last year – while the 2019 total included remarkable eagles by Gary Potter, David McCarthy, Michael McKechnie and Neil Sloan on the par-four sixth.

Substitutes played on 75 occasions, so that there was a full field every week, displaying tremendous support for the club at a quiet time of the year.

Of the 96 players, only four pairs did not receive a prize of any kind, demonstrating the philosophy of the Winter League as a fun competition with lots of winners.

READ MORE: Winter League week 5: Kennedy and Cairns are the pick of the bunch

The average score was higher this year than in 2018, at 39.66 stableford points, with the 11th hole being the highest scoring and the 13th being the lowest.

The highest single round score during the series was 54 points, achieved by Garry Potter and David McCallum in the penultimate week of the tournament.

The eclectic competition provided an exciting finish with Paul Rattrey and partner Jonny Boult achieving 62 points to ease ahead of Dougie Singleton and John Gallacher.

READ MORE: Winter League week 4: Substitutes catch the eye on day of high scores

The team event was also closely fought. Don Griffin’s ‘Bridesmaids‘ team repeated their 2018 performance by finishing second, beaten by the team under the leadership of Alan Bell, who overtook them in the final week to finish on 1,292 points, only 15 ahead of their nearest challengers.

After the presentation, guest speaker Bill Copeland, a retired lawyer who practiced in Lanarkshire and whose mission statement is to adopt his grandfather’s old adage of ‘leave them begging for more’ took centre stage – and his audience certainly considered his mission to have been achieved.

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