THREE is the most inspirational number for Malton and Norton Golf Club captain Eddie Ruddock.

He signs off his reign as captain next week in what will be his 33rd year of membership of the Welham Park-based club. And to crown his eventful captaincy he has led Malton and Norton to a hat-trick of handsome silverware.

The triple treat was completed - and fittingly on home territory - by an emphatic victory in the York Union of Golf Clubs' Cross Trophy to supplement the capture of the Shouler Cup and the prestigious East Riding Alliance championship.

Enthused ten-handicapper Ruddock: "Not only has it been an honour to have been captain, it's been brilliant that we have managed to win these three trophies. There's been a real buzz about the place."

Top spot in the Cross Trophy ratings - 12 events are staged at the dozen YUGC member courses throughout the winter - was confirmed in the last two fixtures at Kirkbymoorside GC and Malton and Norton.

Malton's Eddie Fisher and Eric Rix posted a superb score of 58 to win Cross Trophy 11 at Kirkbymoorside ahead of Tony Dale and David Pearson (Forest Park), who were second on 62. That gave the leaders an unassailable lead going into Cross Trophy 12 on their own course.

Though the final event was won by Scarthingwell GC duo Peter Gosney and Robert Dale, Malton and Norton had no less than four pairs in the top ten led by the third-placed partnership of Richard Harsley and David Midgley to seal a 49-point triumph from their nearest rivals.

That success had been preceded by victory in the Shouler Cup, which is contested annually by Malton and Norton, Driffield, Kirkbymoorside and Flamborough.

But without doubt the biggest prize in the hat-trick of conquest was the East Riding Alliance crown.

All of York's clubs vie for that honour alongside those of Humberside and other clubs stretching out to the East coast up as far as Whitby.

"That's the big one," declared Ruddock, a self-employed building contractor. "That's run each Wednesday and involves the best players from 26 clubs. It's only the fourth time Malton and Norton have won the event in 50 years, so I am really thrilled to have done it in my year as captain."

Ruddock paid lavish tribute to Malton and Norton's esteemed professional Steve Robinson, who has been at the forefront of the club's ascendancy into one of the most successful in North Yorkshire.

"He's a true driving force. He's a great pro and helps to coach us all. That's created a great team spirit within the club and right across the age range we are very competitive. It's been a great year to remember," said the 56-year-old Ruddock.

KILNWICK Percy GC's Texas scramble played on the back of an entertaining captains' drive-in was won by Carol and David Kilford and Sue and Brian Hodgson with a net 55, one shot ahead of Phil Curtis, Craig Martin, Neil Williamson and Peter Williamson.

The best gross of 64 was on count-back by Will and Toby Gowthorpe from Kevin Beattie and David Burrows.

This year's club captain is Steve Wilcox with Carol Kilforfd and Iona Buckle sharing the ladies' captaincy.

Kilnwick's junior section, led by new captain Lee Eastoe, is anticipating a hectic programme starting with its Easter competition next Thursday and including the men v juniors match, the new adult/junior trophy, and a visit to the National Golf Centre.

IT'S a magnificent seven for Malton and Norton GC's veteran player Jim Hamilton.

The 14-handicapper bagged his seventh hole in one when he aced the club's 147-yards par-three 13th hole in a friendly four-ball event.

The former club captain, who has been a member of the club for 51 years, now heads the list of Malton and Norton aces topping Robert High and Robert Kirby, who each boast six holes-in-one.

Updated: 09:07 Saturday, March 26, 2005