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Cricketers win the Bat & Ball Challenge
June 7, 2012

The ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship was launched in style this morning, when it was officially launched today by De Vere Club Ambassadors Freddie Flintoff and Harry Redknapp. The pair were joined by some of the headline players in this weeks' championship, going head-to-head in the 2 nd Annual Freddie's Cricketers vs. Harry's Cricketers: Bat & Ball Challenge. Having invited some of their fellow football and cricket stars to Slaley Hall, the pair were joined by European Senior Tour stars such as Sam Torrance, Mark James and Barry Lane to headline the pro-am event over the stunning Hunting Course. The fun event saw Freddie's team of cricketers emerge victorious, and successfully launched the highly-anticipated European Senior Tour event which gets underway tomorrow morning.

Both team captains have been members of the pioneering flexible golf membership since last year and launched the inaugural 'Bat & Ball' Challenge at Slaley Hall last year, with Harry's footballers winning the inaugural event. The tide turned this year, with Freddie's cricketers producing strong performances to emerge victorious and claim the 2012 trophy. The Ryder Cup pro-am format used in the 'Bat & Ball Challenge' sees one footballer paired with a Senior Tour star, going head-to-head with a cricketer and another professional. 1999 Ryder Cup captain Mark James, defending PGA Seniors Champion Andrew Oldcorn, double 2012 Senior Tour winner Gary Wolstenholme teamed with the likes of Manchester United legend Dwight Yorke and Newcastle United defender Ryan Taylor to take on test cricket legends such as Philip De Freitas and Neil Fairbrother. With the match tied at 3 matches all, count-back was needed to split the two teams, where Freddie's cricketers prevailed by 5 holes.

"It's been a real treat being here at Slaley Hall and see up close the way the pro's play the game; it was an incredible morning," commented De Vere Club Ambassador, Andrew 'Freddie' Flintoff. "The course is in fantastic condition and I'm sure I speak for everyone when I say that it's been a great day. I want to say unlucky to Harry who's been an absolute gent throughout, and thanks to everyone for turning out and lending their support. The resort has been first-class and it's been a pleasure to be here and involved in such a fantastic event. I'm already looking forward to defending the trophy next year!"

"The PGA Seniors Championship is one of the most highly sought after titles on the European Senior Tour schedule and everyone's thoroughly enjoyed having Freddie, Harry and their sporting colleagues to launch the week," commented Daniel Hodson, Director of Golf, Leisure and Spa for De Vere. "Freddie's golf seems to have improved since last year and it sounds like his team deserved the win today. There were some tight matches and I think the form man of the European Senior Tour, Gary Wolstenhome, delivered the crucial holes! We have a new headline sponsor in ISPS Handa, who have brought an extra dimension to this year's event through the work they do promoting the sport amongst blind and disabled golfers. With some of the game's best players, as well as the cricket and football legends, it's been a great start to what I'm sure will be a fantastic tournament."

The ISPS Handa PGA Seniors Championship will be competed from 7-10 th June over the beautiful Hunting course at Slaley Hall. Spectators are welcome throughout the week of the tournament, with tickets available to download for free from www.devere.co.uk/golf .








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