Remembering one of Lisburn’s great golfers

THIS photograph of one of Lisburn’s outstanding players, Ellis Williams, has recently been given to Lisburn Golf Club and has stirred memories of one of the club’s greatest ever players.

Sunday, 31st March 2013, 9:00 am
Ellis Williams with the Hilden and Musgrave Cups in 1941

The photograph was hanging in the barber’s shop belonging to D.H. (Davy) Williams, the father of Ellis. When the shop in Antrim Street was taken over by Jim Croskery for ‘Hairlines’ the photograph was packed away and has just been unearthed recently.

The photograph was taken in 1941 when Ellis won the Musgrave and Hilden Cups. They can be recognised in the photograph with their replicas but the third cup cannot be identified. Possibly he won it at another club.

Ellis joined the golf club when it was sited at Chapel Hill. He won the Captain’s Prize on two occasions:-1935 and 1940. These were match play competitions with the finals being played over 36 holes.

Other successes include the Hilden Cup 1938, 1941, 1942 and 1947, Musgrave Cup 1941, Barbour Cup 1946, McKee Cup 1946, Long Kesh Cup 1947, 1951, 1952, 1955 and 1956. In partnership with Fernie Boyle he won the BTNI Cup in 1962.

Ellis played off a scratch handicap for 21 years (1943 to 1964) and represented the club on many senior teams. He competed in the Irish Close and Irish Open Amateur championships in the late 50’s.

In 1947 Ellis played on the Lisburn team that reached the final of the Belfast and District Cup for the first and so far only time. In the final against Belvoir Park he lost to Ulster player Tom Agnew in both matches. The tie finished 7 – 7 but Belvoir won by six holes. In 1948 he was one of three Lisburn players to compete in an Ulster Amateurs v Ulster Professions match at Bangor. He defeated the Fortwilliam professional Gerry Graham by 2 and 1. Bill McNeill, who was also a member of Royal Belfast, halved his match with the Cliftonville professional Joe McCartney. Lisburn’s professional Billy Clarke defeated Max Hadden (Royal Belfast). The professionals won 10 – 5 with three matches halved.

In 1957 he defeated international Johnny Duncan at Lisburn in the quarter final of the Belfast and District Cup match against Shandon Park. Lisburn defeated Shandon 6 – 1 at home on their way to the semi-final where they lost to Malone.

Having been Convenor of the Competitions and House Committees for several years Ellis was elected captain of the Lisburn club in 1968. During that year Lisburn won the Ulster Cup for the second time.

He played right wing for Lisnagarvey First XI when the team won the Irish Cup, the Kirk Cup and the Senior league in 1944 – 45. He was also a member of the winning Lisburn Graham Cup cricket team in 1930.

Ellis lived on the Moss Road and was a representative for a drinks company. He died in the early 80’s. He is survived by his wife Ena and daughter who live near Carrickfergus. His nephew David Long (Shandon Park) won the North of Ireland championship in 1981 and 1982.