Devon v Sussex at Saunton

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First Match: Mark Terry, Bob Webber, Peter Ward & David Barker

Despite the grey overcast sky on Thursday morning, spirits were high as the team gathered for breakfast. Most had dried out (not just from the rain) and Nigel had brought his “Dad” Harold his early morning cuppa. The only absentee was Mike who eventually appeared no doubt tired from his exploits the previous evening! By which I mean his Ironside impersonation – not very PC but highly amusing.

So, fully refuelled, everyone set out for Saunton though the 3 Amigos in Mike’s car went off shopping, thereby missing the introductions and almost lunch.


Saunton is a superb golf club with 2 high quality courses and excellent facilities. We were assigned the Championship East Course which off the white tees is just under 6,500 yds, lined with thick rough and devilish bunkers. The Devon Captains had thoughtfully included a significant number of home players to act as our guides as we went around the course.

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And so, it began…


First off was Captain “Tarzipan” Pete Ward, supported by our invaluable Secretary Mark Terry who is probably the best Sit-down comedian you will ever hear. Their match was a close encounter with never more than one hole advantage so unsurprisingly it finished all square. “Proper job” Pete

Next up was our all-rounder Joe Angella and the parsimonious kitty-holder Ian Potter. Reflecting his experience as a Bank Manager, Ian managed to somehow make a profit; still at least he didn’t lose it (eh Norman.) This proved to be another close contest with our chaps messing up the 18th to narrowly lose 1 down.   

The third game saw our only victory of the day as Nigel Wates, released from his bar apprenticeship, and Derek May outgunned the locals to win through 3&2.

Match four pitted Richard Jays and Brian Street against Saunton’s secretary Trevor and Clive from East Devon. Despite Richard being resplendent in his new trousers, he and Brian ran out of energy after six holes, leaving their opponents to take full advantage. A late rally was to no avail as Devon ran out clear winners.

Then came the Haywards Heath Two on whom our hopes were firmly pinned. Sure enough the “Pastymen” Phil Williamson and Andy Plowright recovered from being one down at the turn to secure a half by the finish.

Our sixth pairing, reminiscent of “Dad’s Army”, had Harold Knight together with Dave “Santa” Wilkins. They started well with a net birdie on the first but gradually declined as local knowledge prevailed. Devon finished them off on the 15th to record another win. (Interestingly the notes had “Santa topping the ball into the water” deleted – strange that…..)

Match number seven had Keith (tea drinking, plant collecting) Talbot teamed up with Mike Davis against an interesting Devon pairing of Brian and David. (Didn’t they record Matchstick men and matchstick cats and dogs? Anyway, I digress.)

The match closely resembled Custer’s last stand with Mike rapidly running out of ammunition. A few triumphs could not delay the inevitable conclusion and the home guys romped to victory.  

In the final game, Pete said he had put a pair of anchors in Neil Smith and Ron Adams. In fact, they whizzed around the course, managing to lose in record time. Apparently, they were entertained by their opponents and laughed all the way round; rather surprising as Match seven thought they were grumpy b******s!

Mind you, Neil does more wind-ups than a clockwork toy, so who knows.

Thus, an overall score of 6-2 to Devon.


So, it was that a disappointed, exhausted but unified team went into dinner. The fare was excellent both in quality and quantity, the banter between the Counties reflecting the great spirit the various matches had been played in.

Undoubtedly Pete won the speeches as Bob Webber, the Devon Captain raised a toast to Hampshire! The old hairdresser/Pope joke was well received as they probably haven’t got the internet yet.

Thanks to Santa’s brilliant reconnaissance mission, our accommodation was close by and of a high standard. This reflected all the tour’s organisation and the work by Mark, Pete and others for which we are extremely grateful.


Keith Talbot


     © Sussex Golf Captains 2019