GOLF: Wiltshire bid to defend title
WILTSHIRE will field five of last year's title-winning side as they attempt to defend the English men's County Championship Finals trophy in Staffordshire this weekend.
The county lifted the trophy for the first time in their history at Ganton, in Yorkshire, last year and, after victory at South West Week at the Cumberwell Park club in Bradford on Avon earlier this summer, earned the right to defend their trophy at Beau Desert GC, starting on Friday.
Lancashire champions in 2010, are among their rivals, while the other finalists are Suffolk, representing the South East, and Midland champions Worcestershire.
Wiltshire's line-up included five of their title-winning side from last year in the Loughrey brothers, Ben and Josh (Wrag Barn), Jordan Smith (Bowood), Ali James (Cumberwell) and Tom Burley. Ben Stow is absent at college in the United States.
Ben Loughrey and Jordan Smith are England internationals while Smith was a semi-finalist in this year’s English Amateur Championship.
Fellow Bowood member Garry Slade is the county champion, while teammate Robbie Busher (Salisbury & South Wilts) finished runner-up.
Burley won the English Mid Amateur champion following his victory in the Logan Trophy at Saunton.
It will be Wiltshire’s fifth appearance in the finals in the past six years after romping through the south west qualifier at Cumberwell Park by 25 strokes, while Ben Loughrey was the individual winner on 139, nine under par.
The finals are played on a round robin basis over the three days. In the first round of matches, Lancashire play Suffolk and Wiltshire meet Worcestershire.
Wiltshire: Tom Burley (Broome Manor), Robbie Busher (Salisbury & South Wilts), Ali James (Cumberwell Park), Garry Slade (Bowood G&CC), Jordan Smith (Bowood G&CC), Ben Loughrey (Wrag Barn), Josh Loughrey (Wrag Barn).
DON'T MISS A FULL PREVIEW OF WILTSHIRE'S COUNTY FINALS BID IN THIS WEEK'S GAZETTE & HERALD AND WILTSHIRE TIMES