In the summer of 1977 the two best golfers on the planet bumped into each other on Scotland’s west coast and produced a Sunday afternoon of epic sporting proportions as Jack Nicholas and Tom Watson slugged out what became forever know as the Dual in the Sun. Exactly 32 years later the name Watson again adorned the winners circle, though sadly for the 59 year old American golfing legend Tom it wasn’t to be at Turnberry. For a much younger namesake- amid the mud, rain and a smattering of dendix- it was a different story however.
Step forward Andrew Watson, more Cardiff than Kansas City, but very much
from the same competitive mould of his illustrious namesake. Indeed with
Gerard Flahive playing the Nicholas role to a tee and the rest of the
field almost out of sight the final outdoor race of this summer’s GP
series encapsulated much of the heroics of all those years ago.
So it was somewhat fitting that after Flahive’s metaphoric 30 footer of
a second run – which up to that point was in excess of 0.6 seconds
faster than any other racer - had laid down the gauntlet that Watson
reacted like a true champion with a faultless afternoon run that matched
the challenge laid before him and led him to a second SSE GP win of 2009.
The fact the Watson was over a full second in front of third place, with
Flahive less than 0.10 behind Watson only emphasised their dominance of
In the ladies race Abby Clifford also made it 2 GP wins in 2009, however
unlike her victory at Silksworth, Clifford this time had it all to do on
run 2. However a faultless display of aggressive racing saw her not only
overturn the slender first run lead held by Cardiff star Alice Hales but
find herself with breathing space on the other side.
With the overall top 6 in the men’s field all fighting out the junior 2
category third placed overall went to Tom Hales the Cardiff racer building
on a slender first run advantage to shed Benn Hall, Daniel Curtis and Adam
Hutchings into 4th, 5th & 6th overall respectively. In the seniors
Andrew Crawford shaded Colin Armstrong on both runs to claim victory
whilst Samuel Stephens eased to a comfortable win the junior 1 category
with Keigan Witts & Nicholas Miller in 2nd & 3rd. In the
children’s categories Ashley Breese overturned a small deficit to
squeeze an impressive James Davies into the runners up category with Mikey
Knowles following home in 3rd. In the youngest category Jordan Fellows
secured victory with Midland racer Nicholas Phelps in 2nd & first year
racer Zak Vinter capturing a fine 3rd place.
In the ladies categories Hannah Parker’s 2nd run DNF opened the senior
door for Lesley Mearns & Vivien Watson to challenge, Mearns doing
enough on both runs to claim victory. In Jun 2 Charlotte Gould claimed 3rd
behind overall winner Abby Clifford with 3rd placed overall Alice Hales
being the meat between a Telford sandwich. Caroline Powell claimed the
honours in Jun1, with Ellen Hathway 2nd & Charlotte Shrimpton in 3rd.
In the children’s categories Sarah Lambden did more than enough to claim
victory though runner up Nia Jenkins pushed her all the way with Beth
Widdup doing enough to hold off a determined Kelly Greenbank for 3rd. In
the children 1 category Megan Jenkins continued to dominate though runner
up Emma Peters pushed her close with Isabella Hathway completing the
Amid the impressive sight of Watson & Flahive’s battle it was
important to also spare a thought for young Ravens racer Rory Farren whose
horror fall on gate 2 cast a shadow over the final half of the men’s
event. Dendix is an unforgiving surface amid a truly unforgiving sport. To
be reminded quite how dangerous ski racing can be is never a nice thing,
to be reminded by an injury to a lad so young is even less so and
hopefully any injuries sustained will heal quickly. Everyone’s best
wishes are with him.