The more things change, the more they stay the same!

The annual competition for the Walking Stick Trophy, open to all past captains of the seniors’ section, together with the current captain, who hosts the event, was won by Peter Emery, writes Terry Carter.

Competition this year was quite fierce, with Peter Emery winning on a countback ahead of John Hicks and Barry Jones, also on 37 Stableford points. Jones had presented the trophy to the seniors’ section in 2003, and he was delighted that a new name had been added to the list of winners. Emery’s golfing reputation is clearly on the up and hopefully his handicap on the down, as in the past month he has also won the Devon Past Seniors’ Captains Trophy, the leader in a field of approximately 100 golfers.

As usual, following the Walking Stick competition, past senior captains, together with their wives, enjoyed lunch in the clubhouse. Twenty one years of captaincy were represented, a significant presence considering that section membership is only available from age 60 and over, and the captains are usually only chosen after several years in the section.

In a short address Colin Paddon expressed his delight that so many notable past captains were present, including Philip Law, Eric Saunders, Bill Bailey and Les Harlow who had held the office in 1990,91,92 and 94 respectively. Nothing much changes over the years, he said, and seniors’ golf continues in much the same vein, with members turning up in slippers and forgetting shoes, forgetting a change of trousers and having to sit through the evening dinner in shorts or even turning up at the wrong course (who me?).

?Bigbury on Sea 4, Sidmouth 1 - In the final away match of the season Bruce Harcourt had the apparent honour of partnering Colin Paddon at windswept Bigbury. After strolling to a three hole lead, they were pulled back to one down at the turn and, in an interesting back nine, levelled on the 10th, lost two golf balls and fell to a three and one defeat.

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Pop Banfield was giving the shots as he and Bob Cook attempted to recover the lost point. In a close game, they lost on the last to put Bigbury two points to the good.

The next game off featured me partnering Terry Blackler, and persistent readers will remember that Terry won the Senior Moment Award at the closing dinner due to venue confusion. Given my own record for venue confusion our captain took a grave risk expecting us both to arrive at the isolated South Hams course on time and without detours. However, all was well and we were flushed with success as we teed off into a gale force wind and giving shots, although, fortunately, my partner received 11 of them. We went two down early in the front nine but levelled the game by the sixth. The home pair then parred the seventh, eighth and ninth to go three up, we pulled it back to one down but bad tee shots lost us the 15th and 16th and the game.

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Peter Emery with Colston Herbert were needed to secure at least a point to carry forward to the return match at Sidmouth. Despite his recent individual successes, Emery seems to have cornered the market in better ball defeats by five holes or more, and continuity was maintained at Bigbury in a five and three loss.

It was left to Charles Brown and Vernon Ruffle to secure what could be a valuable point in the return game, the last match of the season.

Given the gale force winds on his familiar Fife golf courses, Charles found the Bigbury conditions benign, and with Vernon’s handicap just as popular with opponents as ever, they raced to a four hole lead by the sixth. Despite being pegged back to one by the 12th, they steadied down to win three and two for what could prove a critical point. Colin Paddon’s day was complete when although no Sidmouth golfer could keep a tee shot on the 17th green for the nearest the pin wine, he was awarded the bottle as his tee shot finished up in the centre of the 12th green.

Result: Bigbury 4 Sidmouth 1

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