Palairet team win Claret Jug

The Claret Jug Team Challenge at Sidmouth Golf Club is a competition initiated by Past Captain Peter Ikin to bring together at the end of the golfing season, those golfers who had represented Sidmouth in the various club teams, writes John Rockey

Each team comprises 8 players and the competition is played as a better ball pairs stableford off three-quarters handicap with all scores counting towards the winning total. This year Paddy Tallon was the proud recipient of the Claret Jug as his Palairet team won the challenge match easily by 11 points with a score of 169. Whilst there were useful contributions from the Paddy Tallon/Jonathan Lee partnership, which included an eagle 3 at the 13th hole, as well as the Neil Bunting/Paul Hitchcock and Stuart Coles/Nathan Brace combinations, the main decider in getting to such a good score was the incredible 48 points from Duncan Taylor and Nick Gingell. The two combined spectacularly to have 9 birdies on their card with Duncan getting 6 of these in a round that suggested that his recent increase to his 3 handicap is only a very temporary pause in driving him further towards being a scratch player. Nick also played some super golf, particularly as he was hampered with a fractured wrist, but this didn’t seem to stop him striking the ball with great power and accuracy as he matched Duncan’s outstanding play.

Rather surprisingly, David Hoare’s Captain’s Team came second with a score of 158 which was bolstered with a good total of 42 points from newcomers to the event, Steve Milton and Mike Dommett. There was a useful contribution from John Carroll and Terry Carter, although Terry appeared to leave most of the first half scoring to his partner who wasn’t exactly on- fire himself! However, David Hoare and John Barnard returned a good score of 40 points which was equalled by Jack Stokes and John Lewis, the latter pair’s score included Jack Stokes making his annual birdie at the last hole for 4 points, a feat which Jack was far from reluctant to share with anyone who could be bothered to listen.

Third on 155 was the Emerton Court Team, who tried in vain to be allowed to play off the forward yellow tees in view of the advanced age of some of the team members. However, in spite of having to play off the back white tees, the partnerships of Bob Welsman and Mick Baden as well as that of Pat McCormack and Pop Banfield both returned very good totals of 42 points each to make up for the rather indifferent contributions from the Alec Salway/John Rockey and Chris Ashley/Douglas Goodall pairings.

The East Devon League Team, who the previous week had secured the League title in very tense circumstances, appeared to have suffered a reaction from their league victory and must have been quite shocked to only come in fourth this week with 154. Only David Bater and David Pepperell got to the 40 point mark whilst team captain Lewis Perry with Trevor Kerridge and Luke Sheppard and partner Will Hastie came in with 39 points each with Mike Knight and Ian Bright getting a par score of 36 points.

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Bottom of the pile was the B Team with 150 points. B Team Captain Keith Newton was hoping for something a bit better having managed to get a long awaited win in their previous outing, but this was not to be. Keith again partnered by Colin Macklin came in with a 39 points total, and in spite of getting a birdie two early on, Keith only managed to contribute on six holes all day, leaving Colin the shoulder the majority of the scoring, but he didn’t complain and said he was fairly used to being the mainstay of the partnership. Gary Adam and John Emmott also scored 39 points with Hugh Dorliac and Brian (Speedy) Leach eventually coming in with 38 points having stormed back with 22 points to offset a mediocre front nine. The pairing of past captain Nick Bater and Keith White was almost a one-man affair, with Keith being happy to let Nick do most of the scoring and only needing to contribute on the last two holes when Nick’s shoulders must have been aching a bit.

This was a great end of season get together with lots of newcomers playing in the competition for the first time and for some of us who didn’t play too well could well be playing in it for the last time if we don’t pull our socks up.

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At the presentation dinner after the match, Captain David Hoare handed the coveted Claret Jug to winning captain Paddy Tallon who duly filled it so that the 40 players could drink to the Paliaret Team’s success in this competition and hopefully their continued success next year in their main goal of returning Palairet Memorial Trophy to Sidmouth Golf Club.

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