FIVE ladies representing Bolton Old Links Golf Club were edged out of winning a national competition by the narrowest of margins in the final in Spain.

They reached the last two out of more than 150 ladies' teams from all over the British Isles who entered the inaugural Annodata Matchplay Championship after battling their way through five rounds of knockout matches between May and September this year.

That earned them one of four places in the finals at the picturesque Montecastillo course in Jerez where they beat a team from Kibworth, Leicester, 3-2 in the semi-final to set up a showdown against fellow finalists from Bude in Cornwall.

They could scarcely have got closer to ultimate victory as they went down 3-2 after a tough contest on a challenging course.

Old Links took the game to the 18th green of the last match before narrowly missing a putt which would have taken it to a sudden-death play-off.

The Old Links team was made up of 2017 club lady captain Karen Sawyer, 2017 Lancashire Ladies County seniors president Marie Miller, Sally Ann Attwood, Elizabeth Taylor and team captain Carol Helme, who, while naturally disappointed with Old Links coming so close to winning the competition, was full of praise for the winners and the organisers of this new tournament.

She said: “Of course we would have liked to have won, but getting so near was a great effort.

"We have finished as runners-up in a national competition and have had tremendous support, not only from members of our own club but also from the rest of the Bolton Golf Association and Lancashire Ladies.

"We have put Bolton ladies golf on the map and the camaraderie shown by the wider golfing community across this region can be gauged by the number of goodwill messages we received throughout the week on social media.

"Thanks to Annodata for running this event, a new venture for them, and we wish them every success in the future, and of course to the team from Bude who were worthy winners. We will definitely be trying our best to go one step further in 2018.”

The team were grateful to long-standing club members Marian Kirkman and Edna West who accompanied them, acting as caddies and giving support.