Emerton men thrive in the dark

CLUB members had another opportunity for a better ball match last Saturday, when two teams played for the Ken Titherington Trophy, writes Terry Carter.

CLUB members had another opportunity for a better ball match last Saturday, when two teams played for the Ken Titherington Trophy, writes Terry Carter. This has been a match played over two legs in spring and autumn each year since 1996, in memory of one of the most popular members of the club. Officially it features the B team versus an Emerton Court/Seniors' team, but many are just happy to play on the day and enjoy the dinner after the game. Ten pairs represented each team, and Emerton Court was attempting to overcome a one point deficit from the spring match. Neil Anthony and Dieter Ritz were standing in as captains for the B and Emerton Court teams respectively.Stewart Coles and Jack Stokes led off for the younger side, and were happy to settle for a half against the more mature Peter Emery and Doug Goodall, but John Game partnering Julian Taylor took the match against Brian Rostron and Pat McCormack to secure the required point for the seniors. Phil Beer and John Carroll won their match 3 and 2, but that surprise victory over Pop Banfield and Tony Salvidge produced the last full point earned by the B team. Malcolm Willoughby and Ron Vanstone lost 4 and 3 to Mike Flattley and Dieter Ritz, and Tony Bickel with Don Cooper scraped a half with Bob Welsman and Harry Baden. This was really a moral triumph for the B team pair, as Tony Bickel had just completed a gruelling round when he was given the good news he had been selected, and could he get back on the first tee. Tony Ralls with Colin Macklin had the distinction of being thumped 6 and 5 by Trevor Kerridge and Ray Gunston, and there was a time during Neil Anthony's original reign as B team captain some years ago, when they would have been presented with a "worst pair" certificate at the after-match dinner. I know because I still have one earned on June 26, 1999 - in a match against Honiton B. I normally wouldn't recall the detail but for some perverse reason, known only to management, it is still on display in our kitchen nine years later.Richard Powell and Steve Crabb did stop the rot when they halved with club trustees John Lewis and Roger Bawden, but normal service was resumed in the following game. This featured Neil Anthony and Brian Leach against seniors John Rockey and Bob Webber, and a 6 and 5 win for Rockey and Webber shocked me. The B team pair were clear favourites among the uncommitted, and it has been suggested that John Rockey must have talked them out of it. The match was then effectively over, which was probably just as well, as a miscalculation of the impact of one hour's less daylight meant the remaining matches were played by candlelight. Terry Jones and Peter Harrington lost their match 2 and 1 to Richard Whiddon and John Hicks and, in the final match, Chris Denning and Matt Squires lost by the same margin to Mick Munro and Jim Shearer. It is not widely known that like me Munro and Shearer both have a strong Scottish heritage, and have always avoided squandering electricity at home by not turning the lights on until one hour after dark. One up with one to play, they won the last comfortably in slightly fading light while Denning and Squires stumbled in the pitch darkness.As usual the day ended with an excellent dinner, fond memories of Ken Titherington and the routine golfing banter. Neil Anthony for the B team then presented Dieter Ritz for Emerton Court with the trophy. Result: B Team 8, Emerton Court 12.

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