Sussex Golf Captains tour of the west country continues. I would like to say that the Captains were taking things seriously by; eating well, not drinking and getting an early night before putting in a solid hour in the gym ready for the next match, but I doubt anyone will believe me.
The mood was bullish following a hard-fought half at Perranporth. Whilst this doesn’t sound like much, it is worth noting that they fielded five home club Captains, this on a course no one knew their way around. Accordingly, our confidence was high.
Sadly, Nigel’s repeated topping up of the drink’s kitty meant that though the mind was willing, the flesh was slightly less so. The prospect of climbing Mount Sid, seemed a bit daunting.
Originally this match was to be played at East Devon, a rather nice course just down the road. Mark drove me up there so that I could look at it from the car park. Unlike today’s course, Sidmouth, it seemed a little flatter!
To set the scene, Sidmouth is situated halfway up the aforementioned mountain. You play along the side of the slopes, with left above right for the first nine and vice versa for the homeward leg. There are seven par three’s, one par five and some great views. It is very similar to the Willingdon, which explains why Ken Penfold did so well!
Following a warm welcome from the Devon Captain, Graham Heaman, and the obligatory sandwiches and chips, we were off.
Peter Brookshaw and our Captain, Joe Angella, took on Graham Heaman (Captain) and Jonathon Lee. It was a pleasure to play against our opponents. The match was very even, unlike the stances, with lots of ‘banter’. We were delighted to learn that Jonathon has only been playing Sidmouth for 48 years; he was helpful in pointing out where to go. He was equally delighted when Joe went 2,2,3...and so it went on. This was a very enjoyable game the home team won 1 Up.
Ken Penfold and Mitch Clark took on Hamish Marshall and Ian Edwards. What a game this was; there was never more than two in it, either way. Ken’s chip-in on 14 and his home club advantage were the killer blows. Mitch writes, ‘my birdie on 17 was the final sword’ before adding ‘great guys, lots of fun'. We won 2 Up.
Nigel Wates (super-golfer) and David Balfour faced David Barker and Ian Black. As many of you know, Nigel’s Trophy Cabinet overflows, so the home team were up against it. This was a high-quality game with lots of fun on a very tricky course. Nigel says he has never played three par three’s in a row, ever. Good to know.
Mickey Grimes and Richard Jays offered a serious and credible threat. A great day was had, although by whom is unclear from the notes. Richard was on fire, and the Devon boys were unable to catch up. This was a 2&1 Win for Sussex.
Mark Terry and Andy Lamb, were suitably confident, given Mark’s magnificent win at Seaford over the Easter holiday. This was an interesting match, where Sussex were never Up in the game. Mark used his shots well and it came down to the last, where two birdie putts were required to keep the game all square. The good company was a bonus.
Ian Potter (Vice) and Phil Manser took on John Bailey and David Taylor. The Devon Captains started birdie, birdie and never looked back. Whatever Ian and Phil did, they matched or bettered. Sussex only got the honour back on the 18th! They were well-thrashed, apparently. We lost 7&6. As a side note, the rousing chorus of ‘How much is that doggy in the window’ in the evening bar seemed to cheer Ian and Phil up enormously.
Richard Bevan’s last-minute stand-in, Norman Milburn, partnered Tony Bauckham against Brian Rice and Keith Thomas. Slow to start, Sussex gradually got used to the course's quirks as they progressed. Their opponents demonstrated their local knowledge and proved too much to handle. Fatigue finally set in over the last three holes, but by then, it was too late. Sussex lost 3&2.
In the final match, Andy Plowright and Keith Talbot (IPC) enjoyed a leisurely round against the larger-than-life Terry Thorne (Vice-Captain) and Mike Badcock (Match Secretary). Andy was quickly off the blocks, winning the first two holes, Keith turned up afterwards, and the dynamic duo established a three-hole lead at the turn. The up-and-down par threes brought the game back to a close encounter before Sussex pulled away again. Despite a sustained search, even the helicopter failed to find Keith’s lost ball. Terry and Mike were brilliant company throughout. Sussex won 3&1.
The overall result was a 4 ½ to 3 ½ win to Sussex.
Can I say that this was a brilliant result? We very rarely win away to Devon, and remaining undefeated after these two games represents a great achievement by all concerned.
For regular readers of the match report, here is a food and drink update. The bar served a very nice pint of Doom Bar, paired nicely with Red Leicester Mini-Cheddars. The highlight of the three-course meal was the syrup sponge and custard. Who doesn’t like sponge and custard?