Sussex v Bucks at Royal Eastbourne

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The final inter county match of the season took place at Royal Eastbourne in warm but breezy weather. The overall match score for the season stood at 6½ matches to 6½ so the season's record stood or fell by the result of the Bucks match.

Several of the Bucks team had stayed the previous night in the town but like finely tuned athletes, they resisted the temptations on offer - bingo, band concert, mobility scooter racing down the promenade - and went to bed early after the customary mug of Ovaltine. Plus it was raining. All were ready for the big test and with some Sussex players experiencing the odd traffic delay - not sure what Frank Edmonds had as an excuse for being last to arrive (I only live a couple of minutes down the road) - lunch of sandwiches and chips was devoured to build the strength to negotiate the first few holes on the course.

In the absence of Captain Brian Street, IPC Jags took the Captaincy reins proving that old Captains don't fade away, they love the return to the limelight. Pairs were announced and the match got underway on time at 1 pm.

REGC Captain John Chamberlen and Jags were up against a canny Bucks pair but the par 9 third hole caused some difficulty enabling the Sussex pair to go one up. With a birdie on the 6th hole, John put the home team 2 up and apparently coasting but they failed to recognise the inspirational effect the intervention of a small and yapping white poodle would have on an opponent at the top of his back swing. Result - Bucks won 3 of the next 4 holes to go one up. Sussex levelled the match on the 14th and then 16 and 17 to win the match 2&1. A great match played in good humour.

In the 2nd match, Alan Butcher and Frank Edmonds found their opposition too tough to handle and lost early by a 5&4 score but in match 3 ever dependable Mark Terry and Nigel Powell were always in control running out 4&3 winners. The overall score levelled again when in match 4 Eric Hardwick (despite nearly getting a hole in one - that's a two then) and David Sinden couldn't bring the par 3 form to the rest of the holes and went down by a 4&3 score.

Sussex sneaked ahead after match 5 where a returning Malcolm Sharpe and ever reliable Andy Plowright were on impressive form dispatching their opponents by a massive 7&6 score-line, Welcome back Malcolm. All went back to even with the result of match 6 going to Bucks by a score of 5&4. Harold Knight and David Schwartz struggled from the third hole after David went down a rabbit hole ignoring the rule that they are meant for rabbits. He suffered a nasty ankle turn - practising for Strictly I guess - and despite Harold's manful attempt at providing piggy back assistance, he had to give that up on the fourth hole. They limped home, well beaten.

Two matches on the course and the overall score 2-2; tensions rising in the clubhouse and darkness approaching, what would be the outcome of the final two matches? To keep nerves jangling, both games went to the 18th and Tim Ingram and John Benoy followed by John Kinnear and Graham Ward both secured well fought for halves leaving the final result at 4-4 and the Sussex unbeaten record of the last five matches remaining intact.

An excellent dinner was provided by REGC, and the entertaining company from Bucks departed with some again staying to enjoy yet more Eastbourne delights. A Scrabble night apparently. Thanks to the Club for their use of the course and for their hospitality and to our superb Secretary and our Match Secretary for guiding us through another arduous season.  Season's score 6 wins, 6 losses and 2 halves - 7-7 overall.


Ian Jaggard

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