Throughout the week leading up to the third Channel League match of the season, the first one away, Team Manager Tim Aggett had been warning his squad that Gloucester would really be ready for the game, especially following the Southern Counties Foursomes result. He himself admitted to being somewhat stunned by what took place.
Aggett (Warren) was the only change to the team from the tight finish at the Royal North Devon event the previous Monday, replacing clubmate Jeremy Binch. Gloucester had 2 changes, Darryl Wheeler and Simon Hale replacing Nick Barwood and Vern Chappell.
Torquay’s Peter Bicknell and Chris Audin (Exminster) renewed acquaintance with Steve Yorke from Minchinhampton and Mike Jarvis of the Thornbury Golf Centre, but this time the Devonians prevailed 2-1. The Churston duo of Rick Osborne and Simon Knapman came out on top by the same margin against the Lilley Brook duo of Brian Mitten and Tim Clink, holing a big putt to finish out the game on the 8th.
Aggett was back with regular partner Colin Papworth (Teignmouth) and they were always in control of their match with the Long Ashton pair of Richard Wood and Andy Wright winning on the 7th. Coming up behind them were Dave Eva (Thurlestone) and Mark Evans (RND) and they completed their own 3-2 win over Knowle’s Tim Rogers and Gloucester Captain Nick Morris from Lilley Brook.
That left Tiverton’s Tony Allsopp and Warren’s Tim Jones playing host club player Simon Hale and Lilley Brook’s Darryl Wheeler. 1 up through 6 a very solid par won the 7th, another halved the 8th and their match was done, a further 2-1 win for Devon.
It was a clean sweep for the visitors, 5-0 up at lunch.
As the wind climbed to render the course really difficult to play there was always likely to be some reaction after lunch. Yorke screamed out at the head of the Gloucester singles order, putting Osborne to the sword 6-5. Was there a fight back on? From the rest of the Devon order the answer was a resounding 'no!' Evans defeated Jarvis at the 17th, Bicknell went down the last 1 up on Mitten and won it for a 2-up outcome. Audin delivered the third singles victory, again at the 17th, to secure the match win for Devon. Aggett then delivered the fourth afternoon point from the top 5, beating Clink 3-2.
Papworth ran into an in-form Wood who played superbly in the tough conditions to register a 7-6 win but Devon took 3 wins and a half from the remaining 4 matches. Knapman was about to go ahead of Wright after 15 when, sadly, the Long Ashton man’s back injury prevented him from continuing. Anchor man Dave Eva was again sound and dependable recording a 4-3 win over Hale.
That left Jones and Allsopp. Jones had been well ahead of Morris but Gloucester’s Captain staged a brilliant fightback, culminating in almost driving the 17th and the resulting birdie bringing him back level. Both hit it over the back of the long 18th, both chipped back within 4 feet and the half was agreed.
Meanwhile Allsopp had pulled level with Wheeler at 16 and a sound par at 17 put him into a 1-hole lead. Allsopp then produced a brilliant second shot to find the green at the long 18th after hitting his tee shot in the right-hand trees. Wheeler responded with an excellent approach which unluckily just rolled through into the back fringe. He couldn’t make his birdie, and Allsopp 2-putted for a par and to win 1-up
7½ points in the afternoon gave Devon a resounding 12½ – 2½ win. Team Manager Aggett was full of praise for the team’s performance, thrilled with the effort and the outcome in tough conditions on a very hard and bouncy golf course. Three Channel League matches, three wins, a perfect start.