Captain's men take early lead

Golf courses usually go a bit quieter in the winter months, but in Sidmouth, winter seems to be sneaking past almost unnoticed, writes Terry Carter.

Golf courses usually go a bit quieter in the winter months, but in Sidmouth, winter seems to be sneaking past almost unnoticed. The fairways have been busy, but last Saturday saw the first of the season's competitive matches take place as the Emerton Court seniors team tackled the club captain's team in the first leg of the Ken Titherington Trophy. Emerton Court Captain Alec Salway was short of one or two of his star players, and Neil Faulkner had bolstered his team with seasoned campaigners in an attempt to get off to a winning start and wrest the trophy from the seniors. The plan seemed to be working well for a while with David Bater and Jonathan Lee winning 2 and 1 over Peter Emery and Douglas Goodall. The match was all square after 15 holes, and the seniors had the luxury of a shot on the par 4 16th so were looking to take a lead down the 17th. However Jonathan cast aside all thoughts of this year's salary review and shook the club chairman and his partner by hitting a birdie. Bater then betrayed a lack of respect for his elders, by hitting an eagle on the 16th to close the game down and win the first point. They were followed by vice-captain Paddy Tallon and David Pepperell who beat Mike Flattley and David Lane by the same margin to put the club captain's team two points ahead.Pressure of office must have been weighing heavily on his shoulders, as Neil Faulkner and his playing partner John Welch lost to Mick Monroe and Les Pratt on the 18th. The next group out saw Tony Ralls and Richard Powell halve their match with John Game and Richard Whiddon, and a match that was destined to leave everything all square followed this. This was a contest between four past captains, as Alec Salway and his partner Trevor Kerridge took on Chris Timms and John Carroll. I think Timms and Carroll might just have had the edge in seniority as the four traded past club titles on the first tee, due to Chris being the current club president. Salway and Kerridge were clearly not intimidated, and they won by the highest margin of the day at 4 and 3.Keith Newton and Peter Harrington took their point with a 3 and 2 win, and then Nick Bater partnered by John Barnard put the captain's team two points ahead with a 2 and 1 victory. Three matches remained, and the Emerton Court team first pulled one point back when David Hoare and Phil Long won on the 17th. John Rockey and Mick Baden caused some excitement amongst the spectators on the clubhouse balcony as they levelled the contest with a 3 and 1 win over Brian Rostron and Malcolm Willoughby, but the final and deciding point was earned by Ron Vanstone and Gary Adam with a birdie on the 18th to give victory to the captain's team.As usual after these events, the clubhouse was awash with winners and losers discussing the validity of handicaps and the rub of the green, whatever that means. One surprise though was that J Rockey was not his usual subdued self, as with brash confidence he asserted that his third to the ninth green was the shot of the day. Despite their close relationship, his regular partner Mick Baden felt obligated to point out that his second had hit a tree, had managed to stay in play albeit 60 yards behind him towards the 10th green, and that skill had probably played a minor role in the proceedings. The club team therefore take a one point lead into the second leg of the Ken Titherington Trophy later in the season.Result: Club Captain's Team 51/2 Emerton Court Seniors 4 1/2

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