Fortwilliam Painfully Pipped in Holt Shield Final 16/10/2013

It was a fitting final for the competition's 50th anniversary. The outcome was eventually decided with the final putt, on the final green in the final match.
 
Fortwilliam travelled to Carrickfergus with a slim advantage of 2 points and 7 holes. When Mark McKenna and Stephen Benson were beaten 5/4 and Gary Brown won 3/2 the tie was deadlocked. Brendan Loy was dormi 2 down but won the final two holes to earn an amazing half. So it was the final match between Gary Armstrong and Drew Meek that was destined to decide the outcome of the 2013 final. Gary was 2 up going to the 15th hole but Drew, as he did against Stephen Benson in Fortwilliam fought back to be all square standing on the 18th tee. Drew hit the green in regulation and Gary missed to the left. His tricky chip came up 12 ft short and when Drew two putted for his par, Gary had to hole the 12 ft putt to force the tie into a play off. His putt slipped agonizingly past the right lip and Carrickfergus started to celebrate their second ever Holt Shield victory.
 
Drew Meek is now favourite to win the inaugural Bobby Conroy trophy created to acknowledge Bobby's 25 years as Holt Shield honorary secretary. The new trophy is to be awarded to an outstanding individual performance in the final and there would be no better candidate this year than Drew Meek. His dramatic wins on the final hole in both matches makes him the likely recipient of this award.
 
Although Fortwilliam didn't make it an 8th title, they deserve great credit for their efforts in the defence of the title they won last year. Gary Armstrong won Fortwilliam's order of merit award for the second year running. Although this may be small consolation he should not be too disappointed with Sunday's result as his match play record throughout the season was largely responsible for Fortwilliam reaching the final.
 
Paul and I would like to thank all those supporters who attended the final, the Captain and President who supported the team throughout the year and of course the players and caddies who have given up their time to practise and represent Fortwilliam since last April. It's a massive commitment which we both fully appreciate. For those players who will not be eligible to play in the Holt Shield next year we wish them well with their future involvement in other teams. Their experience playing Holt Shield can only make them stronger and more competitive.
 
Roll on the 2014 campaign.