The Devon Senior team’s 4th Senior Channel League match proved a much tighter affair than the previous contests as they entertained our nearest and dearest rivals, Cornwall, playing at Thurlestone Golf Club.
The course was superbly presented in the bright summer sunshine, whilst a brisk and strengthening wind made play more and more interesting as the day progressed. Devon made one change from the side that defeated Gloucestershire, Jez Binch playing in place of Colin Papworth.
Pete Bicknell (Torquay) and Chris Audin (Exminster) led off against Mark Blaber (Carlyon Bay) and Kevin Mula (Newquay), the Cornish duo taking an early lead and retaining control throughout the match, running out 2 up winners. Churston duo Rick Osborne and Simon Knapman opened with an eagle 2 and retained an advantage throughout their match with Charlie Phillips (Newquay) and Colin Kitt (China Fleet) winning 2/1.
Tim Aggett (Warren) and Jez Binch (Teignmouth) took an absolute pasting from the West Cornwall pair of Steve Barnes and Malcolm Edmunds losing the first 4 holes before an excellent iron shot from Barnes within 3 feet of the hole at 6 ended the game. Mark Evans (RND) and home player Dave Eva continued their unbeaten season as a duo, defeating Lawrie Bridges (Bude) and Andy Rowe (Looe) 2/1, though the Cornish pair did manage something no one else has done to them this season – took a hole off them.
That left Tiverton’s Tony Allsopp and Tim Jones of the Warren playing Warwick Holland (W Cornwall) and Richard Jones (Bowood Park), a game the Cornish duo took control of early and ran out 3/2 winners. Cornwall 3-2 up at lunch.
It felt as through a fast start was needed in the afternoon, but Devon didn’t get it, Blaber proving too strong for Osborne with some sub-par golf and putting the first afternoon point on the board early for Cornwall, 5/4. With both Evans and Bicknell at 2 and 3 in the order down to Jones and Phillips respectively the pressure was on.
The middle of the order from 4 to 8 were all winning, Aggett putting the first afternoon point on the board by defeating Holland 7/5, whilst Audin, Binch, Knapman and Jones were all up.
There were then two crucial fight backs, first Evans coming back from 2 down after 14 against Jones to salvage a half, then Bicknell doing the same against Phillips as the Cornishman’s tee shot at 18 went Out of Bounds. Those two half points felt huge, and for two reasons. They turned two defeats into points scored giving Devon more room for manoeuvre, and changed the flow of the game back in Devon’s favour.
First Audin completed a 4/3 win over Barnes, finally getting away from a determined opponent who refused to lie down. Binch suffered an excess of chipping and putting at 15 to give a hole back to Andy Rowe, but then won 16 and 17 to close the game out 3/1. Knapman had control of his game with Laurie Bridges, another one to win 4/3, which took Devon to 7 points, needing one more to complete the win.
Allsopp was struggling against Kitt, the Cornishmen completing his own 4/3 win, but Devon were up in both the remaining games. In the anchor match Eva made a great birdie 2 at 13 to move 4 up on Edmunds, but then drove it into the fairway bunker at the next. Attention then turned to Jones, who had at one stage a big lead in his game with Mula, but was back to 2 up standing on the 16th tee. A solid par at that hole was enough to secure his point, as news also came through the Eva had also won the 14th to defeat Edmunds 5/4.
It all added up to a 7-3 singles session win and an overall 9-6 victory for Devon.
Team Manager Aggett expressed himself very proud of the effort from the team during the afternoon, paying particular attention to the two vital halved matches which were so important in changing the momentum of the match on Devon’s favour
Full match result detail click here
Attention now turns to next week’s SW Counties Championships at Bristol and Clifton as the side seek to qualify for the English County Finals