Halfway through the Natterjacks and the Order of Merit is still wide open.

The story so far……

With half the season played and half still to come here’s a summary of who’s in contention and some of the likely outsiders. In fact, with the last round abandoned there are more chances to come than gone and anybody with a good run can still win! Just to remind everyone; the winner will be the player with the best six scores after the final day on 27th March. Some players are regulars in the Winter Alliance and might have missed out so far but could stage a late rally for the Natterjack title and with each of the six remaining weekends offering two chances to play and score there’s every chance for them to do so. But some players have already posted three good scores and might take some catching. So let’s get started with who’s done what and when so far and in no particular order.

Mens

Ian Swarbrick has played just three times but they total 55 points, including his 20 pts back in round 1. Peter Warren had a 20 back in November and has 53 from his best three rounds. Alan and Antony Holmes are among those playing Winter Alliance and while only having 33 points each could be among those who represent a late threat. Last year’s winner Geoff Freeman got off to a slow start of his defence but had an exceptional November playing four times and accumulating 57 from his best three attempts. Geoff’s regular playing partner [and brother-in-law]Dave Clark may become his biggest rival having posted 59 points from just three rounds. Men’s Captain Davey Boyce came close to winning twice, in rounds 4 & 5 and has 60 points on the board. Ken Noakes and Robert Bell have only managed two rounds each and have work to do off 32 points each. Dave Warren seems an unlikely contender but is due a good round and is playing off a useful handicap. Doug Myers is another to have only played three times but has posted 53 points from those. He is also playing in a four-ball which has produced consistently good scores. Martin George looked to be running in midfield until posting a winning score [on count-back] of 22 in round five and has 55 from his three best rounds. Playing partner Vernon Edmonson could be another dark horse. With a useful handicap and 53 points banked he is well capable of adding a significant score. Joe Shaw and Ryan Carter have only played once each and are level on 17. With lots of potential, great handicaps and age on their side the future could be theirs. Peter Clark’s three rounds may have only produced 52 but Peter is a proven winner, though off his lowest ever handicap! Paul Goodrick has spent a lot of time away and only played once but with 19 to his name could be a contender if more available in 2022. Tony Waugh must be the current favourite, with 63 points banked, another 19 pointer that could count and the most consistent score so far. With his highest handicap to date and with talent to burn his tilt at the title may depend on his travel plans to Australia. His broken ribs are healing and he’s hoping to be back for round 7 this month. Brad Steel has 52 and is another dark horse, having yet to play to his full potential in this competition. Stephen Lloyd had 20 points and a podium finish to his name in round 1 but will he get the opportunities? James Mallon has 50, all from early rounds but sons Finn and Todd have struggled so far. They too have time and talent on their side. Scott Steele featured for a long way in last season’s Natterjacks but shift-work commitments have reduced his appearances so far this time around. He has 35 from two rounds. Pete Fry had 20 in round 2 and is definitely not out of this, counting 56 from his best three rounds and has the ability to be consistent. Conqueror of the Xmas Comp Alan Eastwood has too many family commitments to play many Natterjacks but don’t be surprised if he walks away a winner of a round in 2022. The Celtic Trio: Dave Maclardie [46pts], John Phillips [44pts] and Ged McGrath [58pts] all have the ability and the handicaps to produce an exceptional score as Ged proved in winning round 3 with a massive 24 points. Any repeat of that would make him a serious contender but can he? John Simpson produced 21 points and nearly won round 4. Another with an ascending handicap and bags of ability! Club champion Ed Robertson may only have 51 points so far from three rounds but this could all change should he turn his attention to winning this year’s edition. Fresh from his operation it was good to see John French returning to the fray and recent practice has gone well. He has a lot of ground to make up but off his handicap of 18 he could feature soon. Life on the Links is proving tough for Jon Holmes off his handicap of just 11. Yet he did post 21points in round 3 and has 51 in total. George van Boyd only has 31 from his two rounds to date but is another proven winner who we may see more of. Was it 3 or 4 years ago that Gary Turner cleaned up in comps? He was off a handicap in the 20’s back then and is now off 13.9. Yet to feature in this year’s Natterjack’s but could be a winner at any time. Neil Robertson has 52 points from the best of his rounds and is another who will play Winter Alliance. We all know how good he is but could he be a late contender? Joe Burch [32pts] and Richard Roberts [38pts] also play Winter Alliance and have only managed two rounds each so far but Richard’s includes a 21 pointer from round 3 and is another who could win at any time.

Ladies

With a separate prize for the ladies it could well be that the Ladies Winner and the overall winner turns out to be the same player. We have had two outright winners from among the ladies so far and there are probably more to come. Joan Myers has commitments at other clubs but has still managed to play three times for a total of 48 points while Diane Clark has also struggled with her winter form compared to her summer exploits, posting 41 from 3. Yvonne Goodrick won round 1 with 22 points but has been away for long periods, restricting her to just one round. Will travelling plans intervene again? Chris Lloyd-Rogers won with 24 points in her single appearance but has moved to Kendal now and might not want to travel during these troubled times. Another with a useful handicap, Sue Bilgri has only appeared once herself for 17 points and if the French authorities are kind we might not see Sue Driver for a while, after posting a total of 32 from 2. So we have a definite favourite for this race too, with Helen Holmes dominating. Her 60 points from 3 rounds have her way out in front and a major threat for the overall Order of Merit.

Round 7 is January 15th & 16th

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