Bater tops Handicap Cup players

There was a good turnout of 65 players on Saturday at Sidmouth Golf Club to compete for the Handicap Cup, which is played as a medal round.

After a week of intensive work on the greens and with generally bright weather overhead, the course was set up for some good scores and indeed that’s what players had.

At the top of the pile was David Bater who scored a gross 67, which off his six handicap equated to an excellent nett 61. David, who two years ago had a handicap of four, which gradually went out to seven, has shown some very good form recently and is relishing the chance of a successful season off his new handicap of five.

Second with a nett 63 was John Welch who has not been out of the prizes during the past couple of weeks since he has been back on leave from his Irish Sea ferry driving.

John just edged out Mike Williams into third place on a countback, by virtue of chipping in for an eagle two on the last hole.

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The best score of the day came from Duncan Taylor who scored a level par round of 66 which off his handicap of two meant that he could only manage fourth place.

•In the Friday League at Sidmouth Golf Club james Spiller posted a magnificent 43 points to easily take the win. His score could have been even better had he not had a blob on the 11th hole, but was still three points clear of second place. In that position with 40 points was Mark Lavers who plays most of his golf at East Devon Golf Club, but takes part in Sidmouth’s weekend competitions. Mark went around the course in 65 shots with birdies on the first two and last two holes.Third was Jonathan Lee who just pipped Mick Sheery and Carl Sheehan on a countback, with 39 points and as a result of his good score Jonathan had his handicap cut from 4 to 3.

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Chris Roberts collected only 3 League points, but stays in first place just ahead of Mark Lavers with Lee Wenham third who was once again absent, possibly still nursing his head injury.

•Sidmouth Golf Club’s 10 man team of seniors taking part in The Emerton Court Trophy this year played their first away leg against Thurlestone last Monday. The Emerton Court Trophy is the only countywide knockout competition for senior players and is played between 44 clubs all over Devon on a home and away basis with the overall winner going through the next round of the competition.

The away leg at Thurlestone was played in atrocious conditions with very strong winds and driving rain making a very difficult game even more so. Everyone struggled to keep hold of their golf clubs and just keeping one’s hands warm and relatively dry was a near impossibility.

Eventually after a very frustrating afternoon only team captain Bob Webber and John Rockey managed to get a half and the Sidmouth team came away with a 4 � to � loss with a lot to do in the return leg.

At home for the return leg, Sidmouth had to win all 5 matches, or at least only halve one game and then win a playoff, if they were to progress further in the competition and team captain Bob Webber changed some of the pairings in order to achieve such a turnaround. However, things did not go according to plan and whilst Sidmouth won 3 matches when Trevor Kerridge & Peter Spooner, Pat McCormack & Pop Banfield as well as Alec Salway and Bob Welsman all got victories, Dave Hoare & John Rockey could only manage a halve after losing a 4 up lead no less!!! So with the possibility of a playoff pending, it was left to the result of the final match on the course to decide Sidmouth’s fate. Unfortunately team captain Bob Webber and his partner Peter Harrison couldn’t quite get the necessary win and so Thurlestone won the tie by 6 matches to 4 and Sidmouth will have to wait until next year to renew their interest in the Emerton Court Trophy.

•The annual Picture Match between Sidmouth Golf Club and East Devon Golf Club, is played over two legs, the first away leg for Sidmouth being last Sunday, writes John Rockey.

This match is very much part of a long tradition of both clubs where the best players from each club battle out eight foursome matches in the morning followed by 16 singles in the afternoon. The ultimate prize being the bragging rights to hang ‘The Picture’ in the winning team’s clubhouse.

Under the captaincy of Michael Knight, the Sidmouth team fared well in the morning foursomes, just going one point down by 4 � to 3 �. Sidmouth’s points were scored by Duncan Taylor and John Jones, David Bater and Mark Thomas as well as club captain Paul Hitchcock and team captain Michael Knight gaining a win when their opposition didn’t turn up! To add to these wins, Nick Gingell and Andrew Thomson gained a valuable half.

In the afternoon singles, Sidmouth got off to a great start when Neil Holland won the top match and then Duncan Taylor got a very good half in the second match to bring the overall team score level.

However, this was soon changed when Lewis Perry lost followed quickly by John Jones going down to bring the advantage back to East Devon. But all was not lost when Stuart Coles came in with a good win, immediately followed by David Bater’s victory to square the team totals. This capped a good weekend for David as not only did he win the Handicap Cup the previous day, but his singles win also gave him a 100 per cent winning record for this match.

The Sidmouth side then went three down when Neil Bunting, Nick Gingell and Will Hastie all lost in quick succession, but back came the away team in the form of Mark Thomas to get a win and with it get a double victory for the day. At two matches down overall, Sidmouth held this deficit when Luke Sheppard lost, but this defeat was cancelled out by Marc Shoobridge when he got a good win.

With four games still on the course, there was still time for Sidmouth to put some more points on the board, but any chance of a winning lead being taken back for the home leg was dashed when Paul Hitchcock, Michael Knight and Andrew Thomson all lost to give the home team a five point advantage.

However, last man out Paddy Tallon put the disappointment of last weekend’s Manchester United quest for the Premiership behind him and stormed in with another win for Sidmouth to cut back the overall deficit to four points.

So in the return leg later in the season, Sidmouth have a difficult, but not impossible task of overturning a four point margin and, on past performance at home in this fixture, could well do this.

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