Sidmouth Golf Promotion: The full story
- Credit: Sidmouth GC
A full account of the final match to a great season in which Sidmouth Golf Club gained promotion in the Dartmoor League at the first time of asking, provided by a very proud team captain, Steve Milton
Sidmouth played their final Dartmoor League 3 match away at Exeter on Sunday. The match consists of five pairs pitted against each other with a point up for grabs in each match.
Sidmouth arrived needing one point to secure promotion to League 2 next season or one and a half points to win League 3 outright, a tall order when home advantage makes winning any points at all difficult to say the least.
With closely-fought defeats for captain Steve Milton and George Barber followed by Will Hastie and David Pepperell, Sidmouth were up against it if they were to salvage the required points from the next three matches.
Consistent pair Graham Davies and Paul Hitchcock were next out and by the 13th hole were one up. However, Exeter fought back strongly and by the 17th hole the Sidmouth pair were one down.
With Hitchcock driving under trees on the 18th fairway, it wasn't looking good for Sidmouth and, although he managed to make contact with the ball and scuttle it along the fairway, unfortunately it went under trees on the opposite side of the fairway.
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Miraculously, contact was made again and the ball trundled through a narrow gap beside a lake to finish on the fringe of the green. The putt was dutifully sunk for a birdie to win the hole and secure half a point towards Sidmouth's cause.
Penultimate pair Terry and son Harrison Jones fought a tight match and after 15 holes found themselves one down. A great tee shot from Terry finished 10 feet from the hole on the 16th, followed by a putt to the centre of the hole squared the match.
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Exeter responded by winning the 17th, leaving the match level on the 18th tee. With Harrison deciding to visit the gardens of the attractive houses along the 18th fairway with his tee shot, it left Dad Terry to attempt to salvage something from the match.
This he did, with a testing putt holed on the 18th green to halve the hole and the match, taking Sidmouth's tally to a point ensuring promotion next season.
So, after 50 individual matches across the season, it all came down to the last one to determine whether Sidmouth were outright winners of Division 3 in their first ever season in the Dartmoor League.
Who better to rise to the challenge than final pairing of Moray Bosence and Jim Anderton, only defeated once in their matches across the season. Again, the match was extremely close and after squandering a two-hole lead, they fought back to win the 16th hole to go one up.
After wayward drives by the Exeter pair, followed by poor second shots through the back of the green a good 30ft from the hole, and with Anderton on the green in two, a Sidmouth win looked likely, but then disaster!
Exeter played a truly remarkable chip shot up over the side of the green and into the hole to level the match. Anyone who thinks golf is a boring game should come and watch one of these matches!
Two arrow straight shots from both Sidmouth players left straight forward third shots to the par 5 18th green. Straightforward that is, if you can ignore the 20 yards of water between the ball and the hole and 30 or more spectators gathered around to watch the thrilling end to the match.
First up, Bosence underestimated the adrenaline flowing and fired his shot through the back of the green into deep rough, followed by Anderton, who managed to clear the water but left the ball 25 yards away on a tricky undulating green.
With the opposition relatively close to the hole in three, Anderton played his first putt, leaving it a creditable four feet from the hole but with some significant work left to finish the job, especially under such pressure.
After watching the Exeter pair secure their par, it left Jim to decide the team's fate. With hushed silence around the green, he struck his putt and the ball headed slowly towards the hole and after what seemed like an eternity, the ball dropped to give Sidmouth the extra half a point to win Division 3 outright and gain promotion to Division 2 next season.
Overall match result Exeter 3.5 Sidmouth 1.5.