A FREAK accident deprived Ravensworth’s youngest ever champion of a place at Close House, but Nick Waddle has a bright golfing future ahead of him
IT says something about the affection golfers in the North East have for The Journal Champion of Champions that record-breaker Nick Waddle shed a few tears when a holiday accident in the Algarve robbed him of his place in the field at Close House.
This season, Waddle, a student at Emmanuel College in Lobley Hill, became the youngest player in the 105-year history of the Ravensworth club to capture the men’s club championship.
When he won a play-off against Louis Fraser to earn a place in the Champions, he was 16 years, eight months and four days old. It enhanced the victory that the beaten Fraser is a good enough player to have landed a top 50 place in this year’s English Under-18 Boys Open at Broadstone in Dorset.
But in Portugal last week – two days before the end of a fortnight’s family holiday at the Ocean Complex in Praia da Luz – Waddle gashed his toe taking a running dive into the swimming pool. He needed eight stitches and was ruled out of last weekend’s Champions on the Colt Course. His father Chris, a property manager based at Newcastle Business Park, who lives in Wrekenton, Gateshead, said: “We saw a doctor right away. But it was the following day, when we went back to have the injury checked, that the doctor said he would not be able to play golf for a week to ten days. By that stage, it was only four days to go to the tournament. When Nick knew for sure he was out of the Champions he shed a few tears, but only in front of me and his mum.
“He got over it right away and then was very brave about it all, and we immediate rang the golf club in Ravensworth from Portugal.
“Louis stepped in as a substitute for the Champions and Nick made sure he wished him the best of luck at Close House. How much Nick had been looking forward to the event and his practice round on the Colt was a big talking point on our holiday. It was a huge disappointment for him.
“But you have to put it into context. It could have been far worse had he fallen on his head rather than catching his toe on the stone on the side of the pool.”
At the Champions, it seemed as if the event had claimed another injury victim in Bryan Ross, the Durham County player from the Heworth club who organises the Marshall North East Masters Series of 36-holers.