Moss Vale was the host venue of the Illawarra pennant finals on Sunday. There were nine clubs represented in the finals with Links Shell Cove, Kiama and Wollongong each having two teams competing. All games were extremely close with extra holes in a number of matches, play-offs required in both the White Horse Cup and Encourage Shield and Gibraltar’s Brendon Dodds scoring his first ever hole in one.
Links Shell Cove have claimed third consecutive title in division one of the Illawarra pennant with a 3-2 victory that went down to the wire. Mark Hungerford ensured Kiama got off to the perfect start with a 6/4 win over the previously undefeated Jason Kast in the number five match. Links Shell Cove number three Danny Nesbitt made it one-all accounting for James Malin 4/2. One-all soon become two-all with the number four and one matches finishing at the same time. Kiama’s Beau Fraser held off Thomas Holz 1 up in the number four match and Links number one Colin Mitchell was too good for Eddie Ward 3/2. The number two match between Anthony Brunero and Adam Stojanovic would be the decider. Brunero’s putt on 15 horseshoed the hole and stayed out saw Stojanovic one up with three to play. The match was back to square when Brunero holed a twelve-footer on 16. After knocking it on the par five 17th in two Brunero two-putted for a birdie to take a 1up lead into the last. After hitting it into the trees and unable to reach the green for his second Brunero appeared to have let Stojanovic back in, however, Stojanovic hit his approach long. Both failed to get up and down and Brunero’s 1 up win secured the title for Links Shell Cove.
Division two of Illawarra pennant between Wollongong and Shoalhaven Heads was another tight contest, with Shoalhaven Heads prevailing 3-2. Shoalhaven Heads were two matches up early when Andrew Jacobs accounted for Hayden Daley 7/5 and Ian Asbury a 6/5 winner against Bryan Munkman. Wollongong hit back when Justin Craig defeated Lachlan Maddinson 3/2. Garry Roche and Garry Murphy required overtime to decide their match, with Roche’s win on the 19th hole sealing the title for Shoalhaven Heads. The final match saw Wollongong’s Stephen Webb a 1 up winner over Mark Johnston.
Links Shell Cove claimed the club’s second pennant with a 3-2 win against The Vale in the B pennant. The teams previous match ended 2.5 all, however the Links were able to get over the line when it mattered. Rob Andreeski 3/1 over Brett Murphy, Curtis Heniuk 7/6 over Darren King and James Toomey 2/1 over Ben McMechan were winners for Links Shell Cove. Steve Hailstone 5/3 over Mitchell Phelps and Greg Murphy overcame Owen Jones on the 19th were The Vale’s winners.
After losing their first two matches of the season Kiama made it six wins in a row to seal back to back title in C pennant with a 3-2 win against Port Kembla. Kiama’s bottom order sealed the victory with Graham Murtagh a 3/2 winner over Russell Hayes, Wayne Cox was a 6/5 winner against Tony Arnold and Garry Johnson 2 up against Mark Brown. Port Kembla’s winners were Herb Bell 3/2 over Steve Starr and Mark McDonald 2/1 against John Keiley.
Gibraltar won their first White Horse Cup in the club’s history and consigned Jamberoo 1 to a third successive finals defeat after losing to Kiama in 2017 and 2018. Jamberoo’s winners were Peter Francis 5/4, Shane Townsend 3/2 and Pat Paris 2/1 who won their matches against Scott Fleeton Paul Knock and Brendon Dodds respectively. Gibraltar’s winners were Greg Morgan 6/5 over Dylan McDonald, Wayne Knapp 4/2 over Tim Young and Dennis Harelle whose win on the 21st hole against Bryan Nicoll saw it finish at three matches apiece. This meant that Gibraltar’s Brendon Dodds and Jamberoo’s Pat Paris would playoff to decide the winner, with Dodd’s earning the victory for Gibraltar on the first extra hole.
The Encourage Shield final between the undefeated Wollongong and St George’s Basin-Vincentia like the White Horse Cup final required a playoff after the teams finished 3-all. St George’s Basin-Vincentia’s winners were Sienna Clarke 3/1 over Josh Hayes, Jake Lord 4/3 over Lara Thomsen and Callum Heywood 4/2 over Aksel Thomsen. Wollongong’s winners were Mimi Thomsen 2/1 over Charlie Curyer, Bradley Adams 3/2 over Chad Beehag and Coopar Nianios 3/1 over Daniel Marsden. Marsden atoned for his loss winning the play-off against Nianios to see St Georges Basin-Vincentia claim the win.