Parker Trophy Team Defeated In Close Quarter Final
Our Parker Trophy team were defeated 2-1 by Exeter last week in the Quarter Final of the scratch county knockout event on a very firm and fast running Tiverton course.
The first pair of Ollie Tanton and Blair McHarg put in a strong performance, led by an excellent display of ball striking from Blair, and the usual magic on the greens from Ollie. They wrapped up the win 2 & 1 in what had been a tight match throughout against high calibre opponents including Harrison Greenberry, the former County and British Boys Amateur Champion.
Our second pairing of Ben Keen and Junior Captain Scott Parker made a fast start in their match, again against a strong pair including yet another former county champion, James Reed. The pair were 2 up through 7 holes, but proceeded to lose the next 5 in a row from a combination of poor tee shots from our guys and birdies from the Exeter pair. They eventually lost 3 & 2, leaving the contest to be decided by the last match, with Steve Flood paired with captain Chris Brown.
Throughout the round a series of long par saves continued to fall in for the Exeter pair, with RND hitting most of the greens but not seeing a birdie putt drop. The longer the game went on with Exeter hanging on with some great scrambling, the more likely it seemed it would go down to the wire.
1 up stood on the 17th tee, Steve Flood played an excellent 4 iron tee shot to the middle of the tight fairway, and Exeter's Jack Pope proceeded to hit his tee shot deep into the trees, giving hope that the match might be about to go RND's way. However, Chris then pulled a 9 iron approach, which the RND pair then failed to get up and down. Exeter duly chipped out of the trees and again got up and down from 120 yards courtesy of another 20 foot putt from Fred Bishop who putted superbly all day.
This made it all square going down 18, and Exeter proceeded to hit driver into the left hand trees, seemingly blocked out. After a very solid ball striking day from both RND players, and taking a 4 iron for safety, Chris hit his second poor iron shot in a row under pressure, this time blocking the ball into the right rough and leaving his partner unable to get to the green.
Both pairs chipped out of the trees, with RND now 100 yards from thw green, and Exeter just 50 yards away. Unfortunately the story unfolded as it had for much of the rest of the match, with RND failing to hole a long putt, and Exeter getting up and down for par to get the win. A good 6 foot putt from Jack Pope under pressure on the last got the win.
A tough defeat to take considering how strong a team we were up against, and how close we came to turning them over on a course which clearly favours Exeter, both in terms of geography and course layout. Credit to Exeter for a great battling performance. They had good support watching the game, and ultimately their last pair kept themselves in it for long enough to squeeze through with a good performance under pressure on the last few holes.
Our run ends for another year, but there were a number of positives to take from the match. Thanks to all the players for their commitment in getting the game played in the short time window we were given.
Chris Brown, Parker Trophy Captain.