No joy for Somerset on the English Riviera

Match Report – Devon V Somerset at Torquay GC – 7 September 2023

Captain David Bate led his Somerset team for their final match against Devon at Torquay Golf Club hoping to find another win in a season where close finishes and narrow defeats seemed to be the norm.

Lovely September weather greeted the Somerset team in Torquay despite a little sea mist appearing every now and then. The course opened in 1909 but has evolved over the years with some holes being re-routed resulting in what is currently played on a green swathe of land near Babbacombe with great views all along the South West coast.

David Bate and Rich Bartin led the way against a tough pairing of Devon Captain Phil Webb and home Club Captain Phil Bragg, a 4 handicapper who knew the course like the back of his hand. Despite this, the Somerset pair held their own and even opened up a lead before the home pair woke up and notched up three birdies and two net birdies. The resulting half for David and Rich was a great result.

Somerset President Roy Parmiter and Rob Hirons took on Dave Smith and Stuart Darke in Match 2. Despite their best efforts, Roy and Rob could not hold off the home pair, even though one Devon second shot had to be played from the Ladies tee! A loss for Somerset and an early lead for the strong home team did not bode well.

Andrew Cardus-Hall and Nick Prince were out in Match 3 against Kevin Robson and Graham Heaman. Andrew and Nick enjoyed the day and the home team’s company as well as the excellent condition of the course. But the match was always going the way of the home pair, and it ended on the 14th green with Devon winning 6&4.

Geoff Rooke and Chris Hyldon were out for Somerset in Match 4 against Ian Edwards and Brian Steer. Despite taking an early lead the visitors went two down at the halfway point. A better back nine saw Geoff and Chris hold the home pair but could not prevent a loss by 2&1.

John Whitewood and Peter Dawson took on Brian Rice and John Mitchell in Match 5 and raced into an early lead. The home pairing played great golf to peg Somerset back and a fine match was closed out on the 18th with a half for what everyone agreed was a fair result.

Match 6 saw Nigel Phillips and Rob Darvell take on Cliff Harris and John Bailey. A very close encounter saw Nigel make use of his shots, particularly on the par 3s, and dovetail well with Rob. A match played in great spirit went the way of the visitors on the 17th green with a terrific 2&1 win. Nigel was so pleased he decided to try to break into the Ladies changing room!

In Match 7, Mike Poole and Colin Mantle played Mike Boxall and Robert Vookght. Mike and Colin reported that they had no luck and met two players in great form. Birdies were needed to win holes and Somerset couldn’t halt the slide with the home pair running out 5&4 winners.

Rob Ford and Keith Wiggins were out in Match 8 against Malcolm Jordain and Jeff Laing with the overall match well out of Somerset’s reach. Rob and Keith described the match as a lesson in steady golf which ultimately ended in a 5&4 win for the home pair.

The end of a long, often wet, and sometimes hot season, saw Somerset lose the Devon match 6-2 and end up with a record of won 4, halved 4, lost 7. In a season with a few tough away fixtures and too many close games going the way of the opposition, this was just about a fair reflection of our performances. But it could easily have been so different.

Thanks to every last one of our Captains for their support this season and to all of our opponents for their friendship making up the unique experience of Captains’ golf. Special thanks to our Match Managers and finally to Captain David Bate, a true ambassador for SGC, for his stamina in playing so many games, for his warmth and friendliness and for telling so many jokes!

Ian Gover

Minehead 2021