St Enodoc - stunning views and surroundings which yesterday suited Cornwall perfectly
On a morning befitting the impending arrival of summer, St. Enodoc Golf Club welcomed the teams of the Cornwall Golf Union and Gwent Golf Union for their annual Channel League encounter. A stiff breeze blew across the hallowed links; this was a day when golf was going to be tricky. Despite this the Duchy recorded a second win over Gwent within the space of a week. The Seniors had beaten their Weslh opponents in a tight encounter 6 days earlier but this Mens Channel League match was to be a very one sided affair with Cornwall almost totally dominating proceedings.
County Captain Ian Veale and Vice Charlie Phillips entrusted the opening foursomes to the pairing of Rob MacGregor and County Champion Conor Wilson, who together put in an assured performance to seal a win on the 18th green (2 up) against Mitchel Reid and Rhys Briscoe. Despite playing in the second foursome the pairing of Matt Richards and Tom Fox would secure the first point of the day when they recorded an emphatic win on the 11th green (8&7) against the unfortunate Gwent pairing of Lewis Brown and Luke Anderson. Richard Jasper and George Leigh were tucked into the middle of the foursomes order and despite a shaky start they got into their stride to sign off with a comfortable 4&3 win against Julian Sansom and Rob Smith.
It was the response that Veale was looking for from his team after the disappointment of the narrow 8-7 defeat in his opening Channel League match against Gloucester two weeks ago. However the Gwent team signalled their intent when first Laurence Vargas and partner Paul Taylor defeated Josh Greenaway & Joe Reynard (5&4) before the experienced pairing of Johnathon Davies and Leighton Pollard won the final two holes to record a one-hole victory against Aaron Stephens & Jack Irwin.
Cornwall took lunch with a 3- 2 advantage, but having held a 4 - 1 lead just two weeks ago Veale had reason to gnaw a few nails before tucking into his meal! Veale and Phillips once again asked MacGregor to lead out the troops, this time in the top singles encounter and he answered their call with an inspired exhibition of golf which would lead to the first point of the afternoon with a 6&5 victory over Reid. George Leigh followed his team mate MacGregor, and would again show a maturity beyond his 15 years to record a handsome victory on the 14th green over Taylor, being three-under par in the process. When Richards, in the third singles match shook hands with his opponent Briscoe on the 15th green to claim yet another Cornish point the lead was extended to 6 - 2.
Tom Fox and Greenaway playing at four and five in the order respectively against Vargas and Anderson were locked in close games and it was Jasper who would provide the seventh point for Cornwall as he inflicted a second 11th hole defeat of the day upon Brown who was last seen walking towards the Camel Estuary! With the scoreline standing at 7 - 2 Veale and Phillips arrived at the 17th green just as Vargas was shaking the hand of Fox, who had secured the all important eighth point of the day with a 2&1 victory guaranteeing Cornwall the win and Veale his maiden Channel League victory as Captain.
Greenaway, who at one stage stood three-down in his match fought back to hold a one-hole lead after 11 holes, but a tee shot that plugged just off the fairway on the 12th hole which was only spotted after the five minute allowance and a narrow birdie miss on the 13th hole would see his match all square. Cue a four-hole burst from Anderson of birdie - par - birdie - birdie and Gwent would get a point on the board from the afternoon singles (8 - 3).
Meanwhile Wilson turned the screw on his opponent Smith to register a 15th hole victory (5&3) and on the same hole Irwin secured his point against Pollard (4&3) allowing Cornwall to reach double digits (10 - 3). Despite standing on the 15th tee two-down, Cornwall Junior Captain, Joe Reynard exhibitted a steely never quit attitude by reeling off the next three holes against Sansom before halving the 18th hole in par to claim another vital point (11 - 3) and when Stephens holed out from three feet on the 17th hole for a par he secured the final point of the day against Davies to afford the Duchy a handsome 12 - 3 victory.
Veale was understandably delighted with the victory and said "I asked the boys for a big performance after the disappointment of the opening game two weeks ago and they delivered in style. There is a great spirit in the camp with everyone playing for each other and I am very proud of the team". Veale continued "I would like to extend my thanks to the Cornwall Under 18's manager, Gary Andrew, who coordinated members of the junior team to caddy today.....whilst I'm sure the boys (Cameron Gurd, Thomas Stephens and Lewis Bradley) enjoyed the experience of being around the men's team and hopefully learned from watching and being at close quarters to the action, it is also invaluable for my players to have that kind of support".
Further thanks were extended at the after match meal to Nick Datson of Datson Consulting Limited, who is the official Cornwall Golf Union Channel League ball sponsor. Veale also thanked St. Austell Brewery Limited for providing liquid refreshment for the team on the golf course, and lastly but by no means least thanked St. Enodoc Golf Club as a whole for their warmth and hospitality in hosting the match.
Not even the passing ducks could derail the Cornish effort yesterday as Joe Reynard putted at the 9th. The picture of which Yorkshireman and CGU Vice Captain Charlie Phillips is very proud instantly aroused his northern passion with a rendition of "On Ilkley Moor Bah Tat.........where the ducks fly backwards!" (sic) For more information on how to chide your lover for not wearing a hat in the cold winds please speak with Charlie who will be only too happy to enlighten you further.