ONE thing is definite - there will be an Accrington Golf Club name on the Observer Golf Shield on September 11.

The four semi-finalists are all from Accrington as they battle to follow in the footsteps of last season's champion Great Harwood's Gary Byrne.

Favourite is Jason Ashworth, the youngest at 20 who plays off one, and whose highest place previously has been the last eight.

He has, however, had final experience as he was caddy for his friend Aaron Duxbury when he won the final in 2003.

Jason is up against his practice partner Martyn Slack, who plays off six, in the semi-final and the two will clash at Whalley.

"We go out every Saturday morning and play a round so we know each other well," said Jason, who beat another friend Shaun Taylor on the last hole in the last eight."I get nervous before every game but is should be a good match."

Jason has had a hard path to the semi's facing 14-year-old Nathan Dunn who knocked out a few names this season including last year's finalist Paul Swan.

"It was a tough game as he was three up after six holes but I eventually won 3&2," said Jason who also knocked out Nathan's dad, Clive.

Jason, who is the Accrington club champion, will have Alex Low, who works on the greens at the club with Jason, as his caddy - he hasn't returned the favour for Aaron.

"I have had Alex all along so I am sticking with him!" said Jason. "Aaron wants me to win though. We were talking about the final the other week and he said that is his one great achievement in golf. He is backing me to win."

Martyn has got the experienced Lee Shaw as his caddy.

"He got knocked out in the last 16 but hopefully he will help me."

In the other semi-final, double finalist Alan Byrom is up against Paul Billington at Green Haworth.

Alan, who plays off 10, reached two finals in the late 80s and early 90s losing to Trevor Foster and Mark Hardman.

"Then I had kids but I am back now!" said Alan who is hoping it is third time lucky to claim the crown.

He has a slight advantage as he has played two of his previous rounds at Green Howarth.

Despite the duo coming from the same club, they have never played against each other. Paul, who plays off 12, has had some tight games so far needing the first extra hole to see off John Wyer in the quarter-finals.

"We were playing by candle light at that stage!" said Paul, who is eyeing a final place as it is at Rossendale and he has played there three times in the earlier rounds of the competition.


Paul Billington v Alan Byrom (Green Haworth)

Jason Ashworth v Martyn Slack (Whalley)

To be played by Sunday 4 September.