Cruse Bows Out in Devon Draw
Monday 10th September 2018
Channel League Devon v Cornwall Sunday 9th September 2018 Tavistock GC
Sunday came round and a morning blessed with beautiful weather awaited the teams of Devon & Cornwall as they arrived at Tavistock Golf Club for the latest chapter in the Channel League.
Matt Richards returned to the fold after being absent from the Somerset match and assumed his position with regular foursomes partner Joe Cruse (above), who would be playing his final match for Cornwall before turning professional in October. The Cornwall pairing came up against Jack Philpotts and Devon stalwart, Adam Bridgewater, a member of the green staff at Tavistock. His knowledge of the links would prove vital as Devon claimed the first point of the day.
Jack Irwin & Kieran Faulkner, who trailed in their match for much of the morning against Bradley Scott & Harrison King fought back to arrive at the 18th tee all square, but all their hard work appeared to come undone when Irwin mishit his approach shot into the bunker on the short Par 4 18th hole. When Faulkner narrowly escaped the hazard it looked like Devon would be taking a 2 - 0 lead as they were safely on the green in regulation. A moment of brilliance ensued from Irwin as he made amends for his approach shot by chipping into the hole for a Par 4 to escape with a halved game following a two-putt from their opposition.
The Trevose pairing of Joe Reynard & Steve Davies would restore parity to the match score as they claimed a 17th hole win over Chris McGill & James Reed, which was quickly followed by another Cornish win for Richard Jasper & Aaron Stephens over Dan Rosevear & Sam Dunn. It was left to the Devon Captain, Peter Lawrence and his partner Tom Woodhouse to ensure that the spoils were shared after the morning foursomes when they defeated the Cornish pairing of Conor Wilson and young debutant Cameron Gurd on the 16th hole (2.5 - 2.5)
County Captain, Ian Veale would ask Cruse to lead out the team for one final time in his illustrious County career and he delivered the goods with an assured performance against Philpotts, winning on the 15th hole. Two quick fire defeats would follow for Cornwall; Davies in game two against Scott (5&4) and Richards in game three against Bridgewater (4&3) before Irwin in game four levelled proceedings, himself winning on the 15th against Reed (4.5 - 4.5)
A pattern was emerging on the score sheet with Cornwall handsomely ahead in three of the remaining six singles and Devon comfortably ahead in the others; a drawn match already looking odds on! Playing at number eight Jasper again put the Duchy ahead with a win on the 14th hole over King to remain unbeaten through his 2018 Channel League campaign (8 wins & 2 halves) but once again Devon bounced back with a 14th hole win for Dunn in the tenth game over Stephens (5.5 - 5.5)
Now it was Devon's turn to go ahead when Lawrence, playing at number 5 beat Faulkner on the 17th...........only for debutant Gurd to claim his point in game six against McGill (6.5 - 6.5). Two singles remained on the course and in the seventh game Reynard would guarantee Cornwall a minimum of a halved match when he got the better of Woodhouse on the 16th hole (7.5 - 6.5)
Back on the 13th green and Wilson had fought back to 1 down against Rosevear in the ninth game. The match now hung on this game, and Wilson seemed favourite on the 13th when he found the green in regulation with his opponent 15 yards short of the putting surface. Upon electing to putt Rosevear did the unthinkable, holing from off the green and when Wilson missed the gap was now two, which quickly became three when Rosevear again holed from length on the 14th green. At the par 5 15th Wilson would make an eagle to reduce the deficit to 2 holes before both players made a par on the 16th. A wayward drive from the Devon player enabled Wilson to steal the 17th hole and take the excitement of the match into a final hole as fellow players and supporters looked on. Sadly for the Cornwall contingent it was not to be as Wilson's birdie putt slid by the hole affording Rosevear the luxury of two putts from just six feet, which was conceded leaving the overall match score tied up at seven and a half points apiece.
Both Captains thanked Tavistock Golf Club for their hospitality in hosting the match and the respective teams for the spirit in which the match was played. Veale closed by making special reference to Joe Cruse, wishing him well on behalf of both teams as he takes the leap into the Pro ranks, and also made reference to the magnificent support witnessed on the day despite the match being an away fixture.
Thanks were also noted to Ace Engineering (golf bag sponsor), Datson Consulting (official Channel League ball sponsor), St. Austell Brewery (liquid refreshment on the course), P S May & Co (holdalls) and Ocean BMW for their ongoing sponsorship of the Cornwall team.
Footnote: Cornwall's hopes of Channel League success are still very much alive with one fixture remaining in their campaign. A win against Wiltshire at Perranporth on 7 October will mean that Gloucester will need at least a win and a halved match in their two remaining matches which are both away, to Glamorgan and Gwent.