Sidmouth establish 5-2 lead after the first of the 2013 two-legged Jurassic Trophy match with Axe Cliff.

Captain Collin Macklin shakes hands with his counterpart from Axe Cliff, Geoff Greenslade, on the pi

Captain Collin Macklin shakes hands with his counterpart from Axe Cliff, Geoff Greenslade, on the picturesque first green at Sidmouth - Credit: Archant

At last some sunshine and Colin Macklin’s Sidmouth B team finally got their season underway with a match against Axe Cliff that had succumbed to the previous weekend’s fog, writes George Carr.

Axe Cliff are the present holders of the ‘ Jurassic Trophy’ which is played for annually over two legs, home and away, by the two clubs. Whether ‘jurassic’ refers to the coast-line that links the two clubs or to the average age of most participants is not known.

However, as is customary, the two captains lead the way. Colin Macklin and his partner Steve Milton receiving shots from the visitors. Axe Cliff captain Geoff Greenslade, a long-standing rival and convivial company over many years, along with his partner Craig Trivett found this challenge a step too far and well as they played they went down 4-3 on the 15th to give Sidmouth the first points of the day; and indeed, the season.

Next up for Sidmouth , Keith Newton and Mervin Baker, both receiving one shot from the visitors, were always going to be hard to beat, and so it proved, although they were taken to the sixteenth by Axe Cliff’s Doug Board and Alex Palmer who went down fighting 4-2.

Brian Leach and ‘Wobbly Bob’ Wellsman got off to a flyer when Brian holed a very slippery fifteen footer for a birdie across the first green to go one up against Axe Cliff’s low handicapper Paul Clode (8) and his partner Tony Snell and the home pair went on to triumph 3-2 on the 16th after a high-class encounter.

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So, with Sidmouth three points to the good, their fourth pair, Martyn French and Kim White, both known for their exuberance with the driver off the tee, might have felt free to ‘give it a go’ but alas dear readers, bandits lay in wait for them in the form of Axe Cliff’s 26 handicapper Ronnie Reed and his steady partner, Tony Snell (14) who disposed of the home pair 4-2 on the sixteenth green to give the visitors their first point of the day and more than a hint of satisfaction as they shook hands.

Fortunately for Sidmouth, the steady duo of Malcolm Willoughby and Paul Renkin defeated Axe Cliff’s next pairing, Chris Glover and Stuart Dixon 2 up on the seventeenth to make the home match safe for Sidmouth at 4-1,

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Sidmouth’s two Bobs, Webber and Skelly, showed no mercy to Axe Cliff’s second single-handicapper of the day Mark Hubbard (8) and his partner Chris Alexander, brushing them aside 6-5 on the 13th green to put the score at 5-1 in favour of Sidmouth.

Now, on a normal day, this would have been the end of the matter; but on the day Axe Cliff had turned up with an extra pair(Simon Palmer and Matt Donnan) and so, being the host that he is Colin Macklin soon found a Sidmouth couple to match them in the persons of Chris Roberts and Craig Melluish - the latter having carded a medal-round net 61 earlier in the day (of which more later). Alas medal form is no guarantee of match play success for they are quite different beasts and the Sidmouth pair were defeated in a close match, one down after eighteen, thus the extended match ended 5-2 in favour of the hosts and they take a three point lead into the second leg.

The only real alarm for Sidmouth on the day came in an after-dinner speech when Axe Cliff Captain Geoff Greenslade threatened to ‘poach’ Sidmouth’s best pairing of the day by far - the superb catering team of Kerry Curswell and Wayne Bartlett but he was put right on the matter in no uncertain terms by the home captain, Colin Macklin. Nevertheless, the return match on the daunting heights of Axe Cliff lies in wait for Sidmouth on August 24 when the fate of the Jurassic trophy will be resolved for another summer; Geoff Greenslade’s Axe Cliff team slight favourites with those in the know - watch this space!.

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