Mitchell enjoys the walk...
The first match of Sidmouth’s season was against local neighbours Honiton, and seniors’ captain John Bainbridge was looking to avenge the 6-0 defeat experienced by his predecessor Colin Paddon in last season’s match at Honiton, writes Terry Carter.
John chose Mike Anderson as his partner against Bill Nicholls and Phillip Donne-Davis, with the handicaps closely matched. Ever the perfect hosts, Sidmouth’s pair lost the first four holes before gradually pulling it back to one down at the turn. The game was close but eventful, not least when Bill Nicholls hooked his tee shot on the par three 11th. Fortunately his ball hit the bench by the ladies’ tee, bounced through the gateway and across the lane, leaving him to pitch on to the green and sink the putt. As the only player receiving a shot on this index two hole, he wasn’t embarrassed to claim a net two and win the hole. This stirred Sidmouth’s captain, and his tee shot on the next earned him a bottle of wine for nearest the pin, a birdie, and a point for the home pair! The game was finally levelled by the 17th and won on the last for a home point.
David Bromage, off 15, and Nigel Sharp, off 24, were next against Peter Bates and Ed Backhouse. Sidmouth’s pair managed to keep a straight face as they discussed handicaps on the first tee, as Ed Backhouse was giving them five and 12 shots respectively. However, there were no shots given on the first and second, so the Honiton pair took an early two hole lead before eventually losing on the last, courtesy of a late flourish by Bromage.
Next off were Hugh Dorliac and Peter Emery off 14 and 15, and this time the visiting pair were receiving shots. When reporting to the captain, Hugh apparently said that he didn’t realise he was required to be a carer. A bit cryptic, but in the event our pair lost their game two and one and had to collect the money after the meal.
John Townsend was giving all the shots as he and Terry Blackler faced Honiton’s John Chew and Ron Rogers, but,fortunately, his partner was receiving 11 of them. Six up after seven holes, Sidmouth’s pair never looked like losing, and won six and five for another point.
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The fifth game was a close one throughout, featuring Rod Wallace and Ray Gunston off 12 and 19 against Honiton’s Alec Gosling and Alex Lynn off 18 and 24. With the game all square at the turn, it was settled to some extent when Rod Wallace birdied the par five 13th and par three 14th.
This game was strangely linked to the next and last one, evenly matched and featuring Colin Mitchell and me against Ron Graham and Jack Phillips. Sidmouth’s 10th tee has one of the finest views in Devon, and we all got good tee shots away and enjoyed the long walk down the fairway, before being halted by Alec Gosling, waving his arms about as the players in the game ahead stood by the 10th green.
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It appeared that Gosling had left his putter by the 10th tee and wanted one of us to walk back up and get it for him. My partner made the ultimate sacrifice and set off to look for it, but stumbled back down gasping for breath and saying that it wasn’t there. It was finally discovered in the wrong golf bag, and nearly everyone was happy!
We lost our game on the 17th but the final result was a 4-2 home win to kick off the season for John Bainbridge.
As usual both teams enjoyed the dinner and speeches in the clubhouse, made even better when Alec Gosling rang to say he had left his jacket in the clubhouse, so could someone take it to Honiton for him. Colin Mitchell said nothing.