THIRTY-SIX students battled through atrocious golfing conditions to contest the 43rd Durham County Schools’ Championships this week – with a number of promising talents sealing a place in national competitions.

Former English Schools’ Under-18 team member Chris Handy, of Lanchester’s St Bede’s College, clinched the Boys title with a 71 gross score to edge out Durham Sixth Form College’s Aaron McManus by two shots.

While Shannon O’Dwyer, of Hartlepool’s English Martyrs School & Sixth Form College, secured the girls crown with a 78 gross; three shots ahead of Durham Sixth Form’s Natasha Martin.

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Handy and O’Dwyer, who are both lower sixth students at their respective colleges, both qualify by right to play in the North of England Championships next month. The other members of the team will be announced soon.

In the Under-16s category, Dyke House Sports & Technology College’s Cameron Wallace continued his rise through the ranks over the last two years by becoming the Durham champion with a gross score of 78.

And the girls Under-16s champion was Tanfield School’s Alex Stevenson, from Stanley, after she hit an impressive 82 gross which earned her third spot in the older age bracket.

Wallace and Stevenson qualify by right to play in the English Schools’ Golf Association’s Under-16s Championships in July.

The boys’ best overall nett score was recorded by Durham Sixth Form’s Nicholas Hammond when he posted a 68, while English Martyrs’ Amy Sutheran, despite being under 16, won the girls’ version with a 73.

The individual performances were part of an overall team tournament, which saw the best two scores from three counting. Durham Sixth Form College edged out Hartlepool colleges, English Martyrs and Dyke House, to win the mixed competition.

Bradley Young (71 nett), Nick Hammond (68 nett) and Dominic Salmon's (75 nett) total of 139 secured the title on count back and Durham will represent Durham Schools at Woodhall Spa in July.