Jamie Cantello gave Staffordshire Junior Golf their first major Midland trophy for some years yesterday - the Midland Boys at Erewash Valley - a reward for all the effort the county has put into developing its talent pool.
Cantello, this year's Staffordshire Boys Captain, took the Birmingham Post & Mail Trophy and the Midland title after a sudden death play-off against Cosby's James Billingham, Both had identical rounds of 72 then 71 to finish one under par with first round leader Derbyshire's Danny Tomlinson missing out on the play-off by a shot after his morning 71.
Cantello led his team to victory over Warwickshire Boys last week at Trentham, when they ended the Juniuor Bears unbeaten streak of 12 matches and took pole position in this year's Midland Junior League. There were no high finishes for either Warwickshire or Worcestershire players, after they had walked away with respectively the Post & Mail trophy and the U16s in 2007.
While Cantello was watched by many of his team-mates over the two holes of the play-off, Billingham had little support but he used his excellent short game to stay in the first hole of the decider after Cantello had played Erewash's long third almost perfectly.
Cantello left his eight-foot birdie putt in the jaws of that hole, and made sure of hitting the green of the next when Billingham drove into the trees. When Billingham could only chip out and was still outside Cantello after three, the Whittington Heath Junior added his name to the famous trophy, joining the likes of Sandy Lyle as Midland Boys Champion.
To add the Midland Boys League title to the individual championship, Cantello and his team will still have to beat Worcestershire and Derbyshire in the coming weeks. ..SUPL: