Jack Mewton tees off at Perranporth's 17th Hole
With hopes still high that Cornwall could clinch the 2018 Channel League title the Duchy team recorded an emphatic 13.5 - 1.5 win over Wiltshire at Perranporth on Sunday in what was for Cornwall the last match of the season. County Captain Ian Veale demanded a win from his team and they handsomely delivered the skippers wish. Veale was well aware that at the same time Gloucestershire were playing away to Glamorgan and was hoping the Welsh might do the Duchy a favour. Going into the game with Wiltshire, Cornwall and Gloucestershire were tied on points at the top of the table but held a game points won advantage. He was also well aware Gloucestershire had a further game in hand and thus a win over Wiltshire was essential.
Following the gale force winds on the preceding day the Cornish and Wiltshire teams gathered at Perranporth on a beautiful benign day, dominated by subnshine and the gentlest of breezes.
Sandy Kirton looks to the skies as his ball heads onto the 15th green
Veale opened the morning foursomes with the pairing of Matt Richards (West Cornwall) and Sandy Kirton, playing on his home course. Richards & Kirton established control of the opening encounter, against Tom Law and Paul McMullen, eventually closing out the match on the 17th hole. Behind them the Trevose duo of Steve Davies and Joe Reynard were having a battle against Wiltshire Captain Ali James and partner Garry Slade, but also claimed a point winning at the 17th . Playing at number four in the order but claiming the third point was the tried and tested partnership of Josh Greenway (St. Enodoc) and Richard Jasper (Launceston), who comfortably defeated Scott Brown & Chris Graham on the 15th hole.
Cameron Gurd plays into the 15th
The next point would come from the home pairing of Conor Wilson and Cameron Gurd who were involved in a nip and tuck affair with the Wiltshire combination of Dan Pulham & Alex Ballard. Throughout the morning the match would swing both ways but a fourth point was notched up for Cornwall when the Perran duo signed off on a one-hole victory. A 5 - 0 lunchtime scoreline certainly looked on the cards for Cornwall when Aaron Stephens (Newquay) and Jack Mewton (Truro) took a two-hole lead standing on the 17th tee but a strong finish from the opposing pairing of Graeme Wright and Simon Dymoke salvaged a half point for Wiltshire as they birdied the 18th hole.
Captain Veale looks on as Aaron Stephens lines up a putt
The singles opened with a magnanimous gesture from the Wiltshire Captain, Ali James, as he agreed to share the spoils with Sandy Kirton, who had suffered a nasty sprain of his ankle during the latter stages of the morning contest, making it very uncomfortable for him to walk. The gesture evidenced the good nature shared between teams and individuals on the amateur county scene.
Next up was Wilson versus Slade, and after 10 holes Wilson was one-down to a dogged performance from his opponent. Around his home course, where he won his second County Championship in 2017 Wilson was in no mood to yield and proceeded to reel off five holes in a row, including an eagle two on the 15th to record a 4&3 victory !
In the third match Richards had a full point snatched away from him as Law birdied the 18th for half a point leaving the score at 6.5 - 1.5. This left a remaining seven singles points to play for, and what followed was a Cornish procession! Davies won 7&6 (he was five under par through 12 holes). Perranporth youngster Gurd chalked up another point winning on the 16th against Ballard. Reynard won 4&3 against Pulham, both Greenaway & Jasper won 5&4 defeating Brown and Graham respectively, meaning Jasper went through the 2018 Channel League series unbeaten (10 wins & 2 halves). Mewton defeated Wright 6&4 before Stephens claimed the final point beating Dymoke on the 14th hole to secure the impressive 13.5 - 1.5 victory for Veale's men.
In his post match speech Veale thanked the Perranporth General Manager, Sue McDevitt for the club's hospitality, before thanking his team for their efforts, not just during today's match but throughout a long season. In addition he thanked the President, Mike Ellis, Vice-President Andrew Clotworthy and their respective wives for being ever present and walking miles in caddying throughout the campaign. Veale continued by thanking the Cornwall juniors that had caddied during the home games, in particular Thomas Stephens who has caddied in every match.
Veale closed by thanking Dave Stephens of Ace Group, Newquay, Nick Datson of Datson Consulting, St. Austell Brewery and Peter May of P S May Accountants & Co for their generous support of his team throughout the 2018 season. Both Veale and the Wiltshire team commented on the excellent condition of the course with the greens in particular providing an excellent putting surface.
As the teams travelled home news emerged that Gloucestershire had gained a halved match away to Glamorgan and in turn this means a Gloucestershire win next weekend away to Gwent will be enough to secure the Channel League title for them. Anything less, even another halved match for Gloucestershire, would see Cornwall crowned champions. Were Gloucestershire to win then Cornwall could only reflect on the 8-7 defeat experienced at their hands back in April this year after Cornwall had led 4-1 at the halfway point. We can but hope!