On a nice sunny day but with a chill wind blowing from the East, Sussex welcomed Devon captains to Willingdon Golf Club for the first match of the season.
Our Captain, Ian Potter, is hors de combat but he was on hand to welcome our guests and cheer on the stout yeoman with cries of “Fore Harry and St Gorge”.
With the dedication and discipline of committed athletes an excited team tucked into a lunch of sandwiches and chips. The Devon Captains had prepared for the afternoons battle by arriving a day early and spending the preceding evening in the pub. They were clearly up for the fight.
As the commentators dusted off their superlatives it seems this was going to be an exciting contest between some incredible athletes…or maybe not.
The First Match of the Season was underway.
Nigel Wates (VC and market trader) and Mike Joly (Willingdon Captain) entertained Phil Webb (Devon Captain) and Dave Smith.
Phil and David set a demanding lead from the first, even though we were all driving well. However, Nigel and Mike recovered from their poor start to claw themselves into a healthy lead with some better putting. Won 2&1.
Phil Williamson and Peter Ward took on Lew Easter (President) and Rob Pearce.
After halving the 1st hole, Lou from Dartmoor holed a monster putt on the second for a three to win the hole. Peter and I thought we were in for a tough round but it was not to be. On the 12th tee Lou asked the way to Beachy Head, Pete said “you're only four down it's a bit early to go there”. Won 5&4.
Ron Adams and Richard Cowlard played David Jack and Steve Spicer.
The match started well but fell away on the back nine. David and Steve proved too good for the Sussex lads. David, playing off 24 never missed the fairway. Apparently, we must make allowances for the Scots. Lost 3&1.
Kieran Laverty (Potter’s Driver) and Nigel Powell challenged Malcolm Jordain (83) and Roger Bawden (86)
A great start from Roger Malcolm took them into a quick lead. Malcolm also made an excellent two on the par three, fifth. Fortunately, Nigel and Kieran pegged it back to all square after nine. It looked like Sussex would secure an easy win but a little wobble over the last four holes meant the win was only secured on 18. Won 1Up.
Ken Penfold (One More Club Ken) and Peter Snook faced Graham Heaman and Rick Clark.
The Devon pair were very competitive. This was a great match played in excellent spirit (aren’t they all? Ed.) All four played well at times, Willingdon were just a bit more consistent (Ken, weren’t you playing for Sussex?) Peter says we ham and egged well. The game was won on the putting. Won 2&1
Mark Terry and Garry Winwood took on John Smith (ave it!) and Bill Hammett
What a wonderful day. The weather came good, as was the company. We were the luckiest pair so when a par on the 5th sleeper hole went in our second shot took the biscuit (Have you been at the gin again? Ed.). Won 3&2.
Alan Butcher and Mitch Clark (DJ) against Brian Waggett and Malcolm Hughes
An in form 20 handicapper beat two out of form Sussex Captains. We took one for the team. (A few more than one by the looks of it! In fact you might say that you got Butchered. Ed) Lost 6&5.
Peter Brookshaw (Pencillist) and Pete O’Neill (Firestarter) played with Jeff Laing (VC) and Bob Beeson.
We were up against it from the start, having lost the first. Bob’s four wood was amazing, but he wouldn’t let me see how far I could throw it. The match finished with a very generous half. “Well played partner” said Pete or Peter. A Half.
The result Sussex won 5 1/2 to 2 ½.
A winning start for our captain, Ian Potter. Even though he didn't get to play and spent the day watching fantastic golfers hack their way round a rather lovely golf course, it's always good to begin the season with a win. There is no food update today that Joe wasn't playing, although the reports on the Long Man Bitter, were very positive.
One final note, a big thank you to John Payne of Willingdon GC who kindly acted as starter.