Norfolk pair defy the odds to win in Morocco
- Credit: Archant
A pair of amateur golfers from Norfolk claimed the pairs title at the 2016 Morocco Matchplay – after only joining the grand final as late replacements.
Betting-shop manager James Crosby, 39, from Tunstead, and locum shop manager Matt Craske, 30, from North Walsham, just failed to book a place on the plane to Marrakech in October's regional qualifying final in Northumberland.
Instead, the Mundesley Golf Club duo were listed as first reserves – but when one pair dropped out Crosby and Craske were quick to grasp the opportunity presented to them, losing only one match on their way to victory in the four-day event and beating Scottish pair Scott and Archie Logan from Linlithgow 4&2 in the final.
They had continued to defy the odds throughout the tournament, as four-handicapper Craske explained.
'We were four down with six to play and we came in one up to get into a play-off for the final,' he said. 'And then we got through to the final on the third play-off hole with a birdie from James.'
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His partner, who plays off 13, commented: 'As first reserves, going to Morocco was like winning anyway. When we got there that helped and the momentum carried us along. We felt like it was ours to win, coming in as we did.'
Craske added: 'We started off really well in the final with a few birdies and got three up. They pegged us back but we got another on the way. We'll certainly be looking to defend the title next year – we've got to try anyway.
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'The event is very well organised and we've been very well looked after out here. We'll be recommending it to all our friends.'
Four national competitions reached their climax at the PalmGolf Marrakech Palmeraie course last week, the singles, pairs, mixed pairs and senior pairs.
Each finalist had played up to four qualifying rounds merely to reach the regional final.
The 32 competitors in Morocco received complimentary return flights, five nights' accommodation and four rounds of championship golf on the Robert Trent Jones-designed course, The competitions were sponsored for a third year by the Moroccan National Tourist Office.