RND crowned champions as they clinch dramatic Rosebowl win!
On Sunday 16th September our mens team took on Saunton in the North Devon Rosebowl final at Portmore.
We teed off on a windy day under dark skies, boosted by the support of a number of caddies and spectators who came along to help cheer the team on.
The first match saw Paul Wilson and Chris Drew fight it out in what was a close contest throughout. Giving 2 shots, the RND pair could never forge ahead in the match, which was extremely close until a loss at both 15 & 16 appeared to have handed the match to Saunton. However, a brave tee shot with driver from Paul on 17 paid off and the pair won the hole to take the match down the 18th. With both pairs just short of the green in 2, Chris only had one option, chip in or lose the match. He very nearly pulled off the improbable as he lipped out with his chip shot, and our RND pair were defeated by 1 hole. A great battle from our experienced first pairing who just came up short, but can be proud of the way they fought. 1-0 to Saunton.
The second match to finish saw the semi final heroes of Richard Hughes and Martin Gibbs giving 1 shot to the Saunton pair. Its fair to say that neither of our guys brought their best today, with an uncharacteristic display off the tee from Richard, and Martin struggling on the greens. They failed to win a hole in the match, and eventually went down by a 6 & 4 scoreline. Whilst they will disappointed with their performance in this match, Richard and Martin have been one of our strongest pairs throughout our run to the final, and their heroic win on 18 in the semi final to seal the match is one of the highlights of our competition. 2-0 Saunton.
At this point the match looked very much in Saunton's favour, and indeed the 3rd match to finish looked to be going the way of our rivals from across the Taw-Torridge estuary. Steve Flood and Hamish Cameron found themselves 1 down playing the 18th after a couple of short missed putts over the final few holes saw them fall behind. After Saunton had hit the left side of the fairway, Steve played an excellent mid iron down the hill to find the perfect spot in the middle of the fairway from the tee. With only a half needed to secure the match and win the Rosebowl for Saunton, the pressure took its toll and a heavy approach shot found the water.
Hamish held his nerve with his wedge over the water, and the RND pair took the hole and the match went on down the 19th. After the 19th was halved, the 20th was a lesson in how to sew up a tight, high pressured match. Steve hit a long straight drive up the hill finishing just short of the green, and Hamish hit a great wedge shot in to 5 feet, which Steve duly holed to get RND’s first point on the board. A great fightback from our guys, and a fantastic show of composure when they needed it most to finish the match off in the way they did. 2-1 Saunton.
The next match to finish was match 5, which saw the team captain Shaun Loze partnered with Neil Armstrong. Shaun has masterminded the Rosebowl success this year and should be lauded for the hard work he has put in to build a great team atmosphere and keep regularly up to date with how everyone is playing. Neil has been in great form this season and paired with Shaun, the experienced matchplay veteran, the pair were always in control. Despite a few early wobbles the pair took charge of the match late on the front 9, finding themselves 4 up with 5 to play. Saunton rallied late but it wasn’t enough, and the match finished 3 & 1 to RND. 2-2.
With the match seeming very much against us at 2-0, we had fought back brilliantly to level the match at 2-2, and news soon spread back to the last pair left on the course that it was going to come down to them to bring home the trophy. Chris Hampton and Mark Lee had been slightly ahead throughout their whole match, but after losing the par 3 16th they found themselves locked at all square on the 17th tee. When their opponents found the water hazard from the tee, Chris stepped up and hit a solid sensible iron to the middle of the fairway. Both pairs found the green with their approaches, but a 3 putt from long range from RND allowed Saunton back in to steal the half and take the match all square down 18. Mark hit a great mid iron to the middle of the fairway, and with both pairs in good position it came down to Chris Hampton to hit a gap wedge approach from 126 yards, to try and set up a birdie and put some pressure on. With a large crowd now gathered around the 18th green Chris duly delivered. The approach landed perfectly on the front of the green, checked on the first bounce, and rolled to no further than 6 inches from the pin. After the Saunton approach found the bunker, they failed to hole the bunker shot and the birdie was conceded to give the RND mens squad their first silverware in 10 years. 3-2 RND!
A massive thank you must go to the caddies and spectators whose support cannot be underestimated, especially in a match as tight as this one.
A great effort by the players who have been fully committed to the teams this year, attending practice sessions, winter foursomes, practice rounds, and playing a key part in helping to select pairings and teams. The future is bright for the mens teams, and its great to see so many people putting themselves forward to represent the club in our various competitions.
Mens Match Manager