Disastrous finish after promising start

Dartmouth v Sidmouth: Seniors matches provide great opportunities for friendly golf on some of the best courses in Devon, and Dartmouth is always popular with us all. No surprise, then, that Ray Gunston and Colin Paddon both found it necessary to lead our team there last week.

In the first game off, a fine start put them 2 up, but a strong Dartmouth recovery brought the game back to level and, even worse, our pair went 2 down to the home pair. At this point, Gunston decided to assert his authority as sole leader, and our pair stormed ahead to win four holes in succession for a fine 3 and 2 victory.

Nigel Sharp and I were next off and, in a tough game where nothing was conceded, we lost the first two holes and were struggling to keep in touch throughout. However, persistence paid off and we won 17 to draw level and took a half on the last for a shared point with our opponents.

Derek Geear and Ken Rothwell then earned another point for Sidmouth when they won 2 and 1, and had actually raced to a 5-hole lead before getting a bit twitchy, and they eventually stumbled over the line for a narrow win.

John Bainbridge and Brian Skittrell now had the opportunity to earn the point that would seal victory, but lost 5 and 4 to give hope to the home team captain. However, John Hicks and Ian Brown strolled down the 17th fairway looking at one with the universe and studying the wildlife, so we all relaxed: too soon, as they had already lost,7 and 5.

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The match was now finely poised and depending on the last pair, Graham Vincent and David Roberts, but they lost their game 4 and 3 to complete a disastrous finish for Sidmouth after such a promising start, although Graham did win the visitors’ bottle of wine for nearest the pin on the last. Dartmouth 3� Sidmouth 2�.

Sidmouth v Ilfracombe: It was great to see Doug Warburton back in the Seniors’ side, and he partnered Ray Gunston as they attempted to overcome a 4-point deficit from the away match in June.

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Our pair was receiving shots, but still went 3 down after five holes. They got back to all square after 15, but only managed 2 halves from the three remaining holes so lost 1 down.

In the next game, John Hicks was overcome when he discovered he had been promoted from his usual place in the last game out, but he and Peter Emery were well beaten 4 and 3.

Barry Jones and Terry Blackler fared no better, finding themselves dormie 3 down. According to their wives, these two are made of steel, and they staged an inspirational comeback to win the 16th. Unfortunately, they were immediately worn out by the effort, the comeback stalled and they lost 2 and 1.

With the match already lost, George Hudec and Rob Owen tried to rescue our pride, but were beaten 3 and 1 to leave Ray Gunston wondering whether he could explain to me how he had managed to double the away deficit in the first four games at home.

Vice-captain Colin Paddon was next off with Bob Cook, and after their impressive 5 and 3 win said maybe he should have led off in the first game. He could have been right, if cruel, as John Townsend and Nigel Sharp followed the example to win on the last, leaving the result 4 - 2 for the visitors, despite giving shots on five of the six games on our course.

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