TURNING 50 has spurred Barbara Laird on to a rich vein of form.

She won the Cheshire Senior Championship at the first attempt and was a semi-finalist at the Northerns.

'I have never won a Cheshire title in 17 years of trying, but I won the Northern 23 years ago. I've been around a long time,' she said.

Laird, of Harvest Close, Moulton, is a two-handicapper at Sandiway where her husband Bill is the club professional.

In her native north-east where the couple met - on a golf course, naturally - she won the Durham Ladies' Championship three times, but honours in Cheshire have always eluded her until now.

She qualified in second place at the three-day event at Sale GC and then beat Dawn Hodge (Heswall) 5/3, followed by clubmate Isabelle Slater 5/4 and, in the semis, Jan McGowan (Bromborough) 4/3.

Her momentum carried off the trophy 4/3 against Alanna Vince, of Stockport. And her winning streak continued across the Pennines at Ilkley GC right up to the Northern semis. En route she beat Jane Rogers (Lancs) 3/2 and Julia Smith (Yorks) 2/1) but lost by one shot to Elaine Elliott (Northumberland).

But her accomplishments mean she will lead Cheshire Seniors in the inter-county Richardson Cup and represent the North against the South, Midlands and Scotland at Cromer in August.

The three-times Sandiway club champion added: 'It is hectic for seniors at this time of year, but I have played well since moving to the senior tees.'

Age, it seems, has its consolations.