at West Cornwall GC
Monday 12th August 19
Thanks to the courtesies extended to us by West Cornwall GC, our preparations for this match went smoothly
The course is a classic, old style, links course with a wildness to its design and rough areas - quite a contrast to the more manicured condition of many modern layouts. It offers a stern challenge in any conditions and is certainly not the kind of layout that can be attacked, aggressively, via reliance on high trajectory approach shots. Appreciation of the course’s idiosyncrasies was evidenced by our opponents including 4 x club members in their line-up. The standard of play of a few other new faces demonstrated that Cornwall Seniors are in the rudest of good health – as we had appreciated from some of their earlier SCL match results
Early on, the portents were not encouraging. The 1st hole is a Par 3 which, in Match 3, our opponents started with a hole in one. In matches 2 & 4, we needed some help from Lady Luck amidst very tight finishes. We didn’t get it – and both matches went against us leaving the hard earned half gained by James Ward & Simon Rudd in the top match as our only return of the morning
It was axiomatic that we needed a very fast start in the pm singles which we certainly didn’t get – although the top three singles proved to be very closely fought affairs. Simon Rudd gained another hard earned halved match but, elsewhere, we came up short. One of our two singles winners, Steve Thomas, had to recover from being two down with three to play to win on the last green via an excellent birdie. Playing in his familiar “anchor” role, Martin Cashnella produced a solid performance to win on the 15th green. However, the die had already been cast by the results of the matches in front
Overall, we were decisively beaten by a fine Cornwall team which was well marshalled by their playing captain, Andy Rowe. Certainly, they should be “in the mix” when the league title for the SCL is determined over the coming weeks
This fixture marked, after a very long wait, Barry Simpson’s 10th representative appearance for SGU Seniors. Accordingly, during the post-match formalities, he was awarded his full county colours
Captain, SGU Seniors
SENIORS v GLOUCESTERSHIRE
WESTON-SUPER-MARE GOLF CLUB
Thursday 4th June 19
The match took place in excellent weather – dry and sunny with, unusually, scarcely a breath of wind
The course was in excellent condition and very well prepared for this fixture. The greens were superb with fresh holes cut just before play started. The Club’s preparedness to reserve the 1st tee for 30 minutes before play started in both the am foursomes and the pm singles was appreciated by all concerned and, as a result, play proceeded without interruption
The vittles’ provided pre-match, at lunchtime and post-match were well received – and eagerly consumed by all players. At the post-match afternoon tea, the chocolate / orange cake and Victoria sponge were sublime!
The am foursomes produced our best results YTD. George Ceely’s return to the team enabled him to re-new his partnership with Paddy Maclennan. They didn’t disappoint with the biggest winning margin – a 4&2 success. Earlier, wins by two of our most experienced pairs – Simon Rudd & Frank Ward followed by James Ward & Matt Lazenby gave us our best start ever. Our two “comeback kids” Danny Dowell and Mike Robinson played solidly to halve their match. Gloucestershire’s only success came from the vastly experienced Robert Broad and Rob Stephens who beat our Steve Thomas and Jeremy Parrott. So, at lunch we led 3.5 – 1.5
In most circumstances, such a lead should prove decisive but not in this case. Gloucestershire are a fine team, now, most ably led by Rob Stephens. They’ve beaten us comfortably during the past two years and both their “kent faces” and their new ones played excellent golf throughout the afternoon. Our only winners were James Ward and Mike Robinson with George Ceely and Jeremy Parrott produced halved matches – the latter requiring the winning of the last two holes to achieve it
For the rest, there were a number of close calls and several tales of what might have been. However, heads never dropped and every player kept going right to the somewhat bitter end. As always, we’ll evaluate our performance to seek to improve. Next up, we’ve got to prepare for the SWCGA Stroke Play championships at Tiverton
SENIORS v GWENT
NEWPORT GOLF CLUB
Wednesday 19th June 19
The match took place, initially, under leaden skies with some light rain a constant threat. However, during the pm singles, as the weather got progressively brighter – our prospects for success seemed, unfortunately, to get progressively darker.
Newport GC was presented in excellent condition – a testament to excellent work by the greens staff
As ever, the am foursomes were keenly contested and the strength of this new look Gwent side was obvious to us all. Following a loss, on the final green, in the top match, Simon Rudd and Frank Ward, in Match 2, needed another Houdini act (which they’ve managed before) on the last hole to try and snatch a half. Frank duly obliged with a marvellous approach to inside 4 ft and Simon completed the task with the nerveless conversion of a 3.5 ft downhill “slider” Wins by Martin Cashnella and Kelvin Green plus Steve Thomas and Jeremy Parrott in Matches 3 and 5 respectively enabled us to go into lunch all square with 2.5 points apiece
In the singles, some really superb golf was on display. In the top match, both players beat par with Gwent’s Nigel Evans edging out our James Ward on the final green. At the mid point in the afternoon, it felt like anybody’s match. However, as play entered the final stretch those fine Gwent players succeeded in turning the screw. Hard fought halves by Simon Rudd and Jeremy Parrott (in matches 4 and 5) were commendable but above and below them we continued to lose ground. As ever, our tail wagged, but the wins achieved by Paddy Maclennan and Martin Cashnella came too late to alter the earlier course of events
We prepared well for this match and all players gave of their best. Win or lose, we always evaluate our performance with a view to improving – and that will get underway shortly
Lest any of the other teams in the SCL be in any doubt, Captain Rob Ware has an excellent team at his disposal. They proved excellent company throughout the day and the “craic” during the post-match hospitality was memorable.
Note: the vittles’ provided by Newport GC were duly appreciated by us all
We wish Gwent the best of good fortune for the rest of their 2019 SCL season and we look forward to hosting them next year.
SENIORS v DEVON
MINEHEAD AND WEST SOMERSET GOLF CLUB
Wednesday 22nd May 19
The match took place in warm sunny weather with, as ever, a sea breeze in evidence. It blew strongly enough for all players to have to factor it into their shot making strategy throughout the day.
Minehead & West Somerset GC was presented in truly marvellous condition with fresh holes cut just before the am foursomes commenced. Both sides expressed their appreciation of the nine holes allocated. At some additional intrusion into club members’ play, we were able to play Holes 1 – 5, then Holes 15 - 18
Once again, the morning foursomes did not start well but all our pairings fought hard. Special mention must go to the two matches which were halved:
In the top match, we were one down on the 18th tee where an excellent tee shot by James Ward finished within 25 ft of the pin. With the Devon pair bunkered, it looked as though we would secure a half. Not one bit of it. Devon played out of the bunker to finish close enough for their putt to be conceded thus leaving us with one final throw of the dice. Matt Lazenby duly obliged by holing for a birdie to win the hole and secure a halved match. A great result which was immediately backed up in Match 2 where Simon Rudd and Frank Ward won on the last green
In the penult match, Paddy Maclennan and George Ceely closed out their match with a fine 2&1 victory then stood back and watched, along with a gathering crowd of supporters of both sides, the desperate battle going on in the anchor match. Steve Thomas and Jeremy Parrott arrived on the 18th tee, one down. So as Martin Cashnella and Kelvin Green had just been edged out on the last hole, it looked as though we’d go into lunch with the overall match tied at 2.5 points each. However, Steve Thomas played a fine tee shot onto the green which the Devon pair failed to match. But, we still needed to two putt from some distance away. Jeremy Parrott’s approach putt was excellent but it still left Steve with a 2.5 ft side hill “knee knocker” to secure the halved match – which he duly holed
So, we finished 3 – 2 ahead at lunch. Just how vital that single point, secured by those two halved matches, would prove to be became obvious as the pm singles matches progressed to their final stages
In the singles, our top order surpassed themselves. We won the first four singles to get within a point of overall victory – but, where would the point come from as our middle order struggled to cope with a determined fight back by their strong opponents? Having lost Matches 5 – 8 (inclusive), once again, we were looking at our tail which needed to wag
Playing in Match 9, Paddy Maclennan was in imperious form and won convincingly on the 15th green to get us the eighth point needed for victory. Finally, in Match 10, Martin Cashnella, having been 4 down arrived on the 17th two down with two to play. He promptly won the last two holes to halve his match
Note 1: Throughout the day, we were well supported by the SGU President, Geoff Ogden (and his wife). Geoff acted as honorary starter for all matches
Note 2: The team was well supported by Barry Simpson (who was the “appointed person” as provided in the Rules, for providing information and advice to all Somerset players – and sharing feedback from players with those playing behind. In addition, Jerry Hodge, as our “communications hub” provided regular match progress updates via judicious use of our short wave radios.
SIMON RUDD WINS THE SENIORS COUNTY CHAMPIONSHIP AT ENMORE PARK 2019
ANDY CHAMBERS WINS THE NETT PRIZE
Presentation by Club Captain and County President
Congratulations Simon Rudd an outstanding score under the conditions. gross 74 on a day when the SSS came in at 74. The 4 handicapper from Oake Manor showed the rest of the field that low scoring was possible. Runner up Simon Harris Bath GC with a score of 77 and on count back from 3 others 3rd place went to Danny Dowell Windwhistle GG followed in by Martin Cashnella Bath GC The 2018 champion Andy Chambers Weymouth GC didn't go home empty handed winning the best nett on count back from Ron Brown Enmore Park. Club Captain and County President presented the trophies and prizes with much praise being given to Enmore Park who's greens staff, in house staff and management team presented the venue in first class condition. The Somerset Golf Union wish to thank Enmore Park members and staff for hosting the Seniors County Championship and look forward to returning soon
Seniors’ Channel League
Home Wiltshire Venue: Kingsdown GC
Result Somerset 8 Wiltshire 7
The match took place in warm sunny weather. Kingsdown GC was presented in excellent condition although preferred lies (with additional relief from fairway bare patches) proved necessary. The course layout held many “traps for the unwary”, this was reflected in the DBG compiled and shared by the players
The morning foursomes did not start well and this warrants attention. After six holes we were down in four of the five games – only Steve Thomas and Jeremy Parrott in the anchor match had their noses in front. Importantly, they kept in front and closed out their match on the final green. Ahead of them, in Match 3, Frank Ward & Simon Rudd staged a remarkable comeback to win on the final green – a 20ft putt from Frank being required to grasp victory from a probable tied match. In Match 4, Matt Lazenby & Neil Folland also staged a late recovery and, ultimately, were disappointed to lose the final hole which produced a halved match
In the pm singles, James Ward played splendidly to win the top match and, immediately behind, Kelvin Green’s halved match against a tough opponent was commendable
Thereafter, the progress of the singles matches ebbed and flowed. The fine Wiltshire players fought hard as we knew they would but they never quite clawed back that excellent start (1.5 points from 2.0) provided by our top two in the singles order. The highlights of our middle order were the excellent wins by our new recruits, Simon Rudd and Frank Ward. However, our middle order also suffered four losses such that it became clear the Somerset “tail” definitely needed to wag
Neil Folland (called into the team to cover Paddy Maclennan’s injury) played at No 9 and Martin Cashnella at No 10. They both won to secure the team’s victory. With the eyes of all their team colleagues upon them (nobody left the course as the drama in Match 10 unfolded), both Nigel Phillips (Wilts) and Martin put on a show for the gallery. With Martin dormie 3, Nigel holed an enormous putt across the 16th green. On the 17th, again it looked as though Nigel would prosper as Martin’s recovery shot looked destined to finish well past the pin. However, it hit the pin – very hard – to leave him a nasty 5ft downhill slider to win. He holed it!
Note 1: SGU President, Geoff Ogden presented half colours to the following debutants: George Ceely, Wheathill Jeremy Parrott, Burnham & Berrow Simon Rudd, Oake Manor Frank Ward, Burnham & Berrow
Note 2: For all the experienced Somerset players who’ve come to know ex player Pete Davies, it was marvellous to see him at Kingsdown lending his support. His current circumstances were all too apparent as his wait for a lung transplant continues. Pete has always been the embodiment of what Scots term “a bonnie fechter” and we wish him well. Richard Jeffery (Wilts Seniors’ Captain), in his post-match speech, asked that the best wishes of all the Wilts’ players be conveyed to Pete – job done!
Captain, SGU Seniors 14/05/19
(Left to right) Paddy Maclennan, Alex Kidd (Captain) and Barry Simpson
Alex and his selectors, Paddy Maclennan (Enmore Park) and Barry Simpson (Taunton & Pickeridge) work hard over the winter contacting all affiliated clubs to identify low handicap seniors who would be interested in competing for a place in the County Senior Team
" In terms of the number of players available to us, we normallyare are able to punch above our weight in the Channel League by finishing mid-table or better. However, in 2018, the improvement in the calibre of many of our opponents was striking. For example, three of the six opposing counties were able to field teams with handicaps of 2 or less. Proof, if proof were needed, that the Seniors Channel League is in fine fettle and should continue to improve and become even more competitive.
It’s vital that our efforts to broaden our talent pool are on-going because many former low handicap golfers do not necessarily seek out opportunities for representative team golf – outside of their own clubs. They are therefore unaware of the competitive opportunities offered by Somerset’s Senior Team
Over last winter, we identified a total of # eleven new recruits who participated in our pre-season trials. held in March and April"
# included a number of “comeback kids” who were unavailable during 2017
The players competing in our pre-season trials came from the following clubs (alpha order):
Bath; Brean; Burnham & Berrow; Cricket St Thomas; Enmore Park; Mendip Spring; Oake Manor; Taunton & Pickeridge; The Mendip; Wells; Weston-super-Mare
A Seniors Factsheet which illustrates the competitive opportunities provided by SGU Seniors can be accessed elsewhere on this page
Any golfer currently over 55 years (or approaching this milestone in 2019) with a handicap of 5 or less should consider finding out more about what’s involved in playing representative team golf at County level. Read the Factsheet (click the button on the right) and contact eithe Alex, Paddy or Barry for any further guidance