Jim Cilley

Jim Cilley of Beaver Meadow Golf Club sinks a birdie putt during the NHGA Stroke Play Championship at Montcalm Golf Club in Enfield in August. When Cilley found out the annual Tri-State Championship was canceled, he got to work and put together an event for Maine and New Hampshire golfers.

THE NEWS was welcomed like a black cloud making its way toward the beach.

In August, during this year’s New Hampshire Golf Association Stroke Play Championship at Montcalm Golf Club, word spread that the 2020 Tri-State Tournament would not be held because of New Hampshire safety guidelines put in place regarding COVID-19. One of the guidelines mandated that there could be no more than four golfers in a group, and the Tri-State Tournament format requires six players in a group for alternate shot matches, two from each state.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Tri-State Tournament, it’s similar to the Ryder Cup and rotates between Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont courses each year. It features many of the top amateur golfers 21 or older from each state, and was first held in 1935 at Manchester Country Club (New Hampshire won).

The New Hampshire team is usually made up of 14 players, 10 from the regular division and four senior golfers. Most of the players make the team by earning points in NHGA events. There are also at-large spots and the golfers who fill those spots are selected by the NHGA committee. It’s part competition and part good time, and punctuates the competitive golf season.

“I play to win things, but I want to play well in everything so I can earn enough points to make the tri-state team so I can go play team golf at the end of the year with my buddies,” said Beaver Meadow Golf Course member Jim Cilley. “I think it was the final round of the Stroke Play event when I found out the Tri-State matches were going to be canceled this year. I talked with three or four guys during the final round and they’re like, ‘This is just another thing where COVID is screwing us over.’ And I said, ‘Well, it doesn’t have to. Let’s do something about it.’”

What they ended up doing was organizing a team event outside the NHGA flag between Maine and New Hampshire that will be held this weekend at Rochester Country Club. Cilley’s real estate company, On Course Realty Group, will help sponsor the event. Golf & Ski Warehouse, Breakaway Beerworks and Bubba’s Bar and Grille also stepped up as sponsors.

Maine and New Hampshire will each have a 12-player team.

Team 603: Cilley, Mark Stevens (Beaver Meadow), Jamie Ferullo (Rochester CC), Kevin Strong (Rochester CC), Bobby Williams (Lake Sunapee CC), Scott Peters (Lake Sunapee CC), Harvin Groft (The Oaks Golf Links), Craig Steckowych (Portsmouth CC), Brett Wilson (The Golf Club of New England), Ryan Kohler (Hooper CC), Josh Chamberlain (Stonebridge CC) and John Devito (Passaconaway CC).

Team 207: Joe Alvarez (Webhannet GC), Mike Doran, (Brunswick GC), Mike O’Brien (Biddeford-Saco CC), Andrew Slattery (Martindale CC), Joe Walp (Falmouth CC), Johnny Hayes (Purpoodock Club), Brian Bilodeau (Martindale CC), Curt Jordan (Portland CC), Reese McFarlane (Purpoodock Club), Jeff Cole (Martindale CC), Craig Chapman (Martindale CC) and Ricky Jones (Samoset Resort).

“Maine and New Hampshire are usually the two most competitive teams,” Cilley said. “I don’t think it’s as important to (Vermont) as it is to us. Many of their top players don’t participate.

“Everything made sense to do it up in that (Seacoast) area. Not a lot of traveling back and forth.”

There will be a skins game/practice round followed by a cocktail party on Friday. Alternate shot matches will begin 8:30 a.m. Saturday, and there will be 4-ball matches Saturday afternoon. Singles matches will be held Sunday.

“We don’t want to lose, and we make that clear, but we also have a really good time,” Cilley said. “We’re gonna be competitive and it’s gonna be a blast. It should be a good weekend for everybody.”

Former Manchester Central wide receiver Troy Pelletier signed a deal with the Arizona Rattlers of the Indoor Football League (IFL) last week. The Rattlers were founded in 1992 as an expansion team in the Arena Football League.

Pelletier, a Deerfield resident, played college football at Lehigh, where he became the program’s all-time leader in receiving yards (4,216). He also set Patriot League records for career receptions (328), career touchdowns (38) and single-game receptions (16). Since graduating in 2017, he has spent time in training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Cincinnati Bengals.

The 2021 IFL season is scheduled to begin in March.

Seedings for the NHIAA football playoffs will be determined by a team’s won/loss record, regardless of the level of competition that team has played. Teams will not be penalized for playing (beating) opponents from a lower division.

The championship games in Division III and IV are scheduled for Nov. 14. The Division I and Division II championship games will be held Nov. 21. According to the NHIAA web site, all championship games will be played at a neutral site high school.

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