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Upminster's play-off win sets up Leslie Wood final date with local rivals Romford

PUBLISHED: 10:30 09 August 2019

Paul Berner contemplating his putt on the 18th green

Paul Berner contemplating his putt on the 18th green

Archant

Upminster and Romford will go head-to-head in the Leslie Wood Championship final next month after winning their semi-finals on Sunday.

After losing the first foursomes against Braintree at Chelmsford, Upminster rallied to win the next four.

Ross Driscoll and Scott Pope (6&4), Richard Hood and Ross Williams (4&3), Paul Berner and Greg Fox (4&3) and Nick Nash and Neil Packer (3&2) all combined well to put them on top at lunch.

And the afternoon singles began well as Jesse Martin claimed a 6&5 win to make it 5-1 overall, before Braintree began a revival and took five and a half points from the next six matches to edge ahead.

When 13-year-old Callum Chamberlain, an eight-handicapper and one of the youngest players in the competition, beat Neil Packer (2&1) the writing appeared on the wall for Upminster.

But Nash halved his match and Fox followed up with a 3&2 win, leaving Paul Berner to battle it out with Tony Bannister in the last game on the course.

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Bannister took a one-hole lead at the par three 15th and still held the advantage on the 17th tee.

But Berner managed a good par to take the match up the last and, with a three-figure crowd looking on, both men had putts for par having missed the green and chipped on.

Bannister missed his to make bogey, but Berner sank a 15-foot putt to halve the match and set up a play-off.

Hood then took on Matt Proctor, with both hitting good tee shots on the first hole but missing the green.

After Hood chipped on, Proctor came up short and the Upminster man held his nerve to hole his putt to win the match and take his club to the final for the first time since 1985, when they last won the title.

A spokesman said: "It was a thrilling day's golf, played in good spirit all day by both teams and it was a shame that someone had to lose."

Romford, meanwhile, booked their place in the final for the first time since winning the competition in 2016 thanks to a 8.5-6.5 win over Chelmsford at Chigwell.

The two local outfits will now start their preparations for the big date, before they meet at Harlow's Canons Brook course on September 1.

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