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Sidmouth GC Team Challenge 7/8th May 2022

[<<] [>>] by Louise Smith at Sidmouth
10th May 2022 (GC)

The ever-popular Sidmouth GC Team Challenge was held over on 7th/8th May, in glorious sunshine overlooking the calm blue sea. The local home team were joined by teams from Nailsea, Sussex, Surrey, Wrest Park, and East Dorset as well as combination teams consisting of players from Glamorgan, Long Eaton, Wrest Park, Budleigh, and Sussex.

The tournament is loosely based upon the GC inter-counties (Div 2) format with teams competing in a mixture of singles and doubles games to gain points for their team. Players within each team are seeded, and 6 of the 7 singles rounds are devised so that the corresponding seeds from each team play each other. Captains draw a Joker card which indicates which round they may gamble on their singles or doubles players to win and gain extra points if they do so. The final round of each day also allows the Captains to choose their singles or doubles pairing without knowing which players their opposition team will put forward.

The home players, Steve Marsh (2), Steve Pearson (3) and Paul Bradley (3) (The Sharks) had opted for a balanced team in handicaps and led the field for the early rounds on day one. However, as the day progressed Stuart M. Smith (-3), Richard Carline (4) and Viv Heard (10) (Sooty, Sweep & Sue) closed the gap to match them on points by the close of play. The remaining teams gathered a variation of scores with Peter Balchin (-1), Chris Jackson (3) and Marilyn Robinson (4) (Strangers on the Shore) tied not far behind the leaders alongside Les Heard (-1), Steve Foster (2) and Martyn Palmer (6) (The Saints).

Sunday bought around a complete change of fortunes. The Surrey team, Andrea Huxley (1), Louise Taylor (3) and Gavin Taylor (4) (Who's Surrey Now), got off to strong start and won both their opening games for maximum points, but despite using their Joker gamble for extra marks during day two, they did not capitalise on their early performance. The two teams that were leaders from day one, The Sharks and Sooty, Sweep & Sue also began to drop games and points, narrowing the gap for the remaining teams to catch up.

Meanwhile, a mediocre day one for Steve Leonard (-3), Michelle Leonard (2) and Kate Brice (7) (The Three Fivers), saw them languishing in 6th position, but they found some form on day two. Clever use of their Joker cards where their Captain bet on himself to win, gained them extra marks, with Steve Leonard losing only one singles game to Stuart M Smith.

As the last match approached it was clear that local team, The Sharks, had the balance in their hands. A win in either of their last singles or doubles games would have taken them to certain victory. However, Chris Jackson (3) and Marilyn Robinson (4) (Strangers on the Shore) won the doubles easily over Steve Marsh (2) and Steve Pearson (3) (The Sharks), so all rested for The Sharks on the Singles game, Paul Bradley (3) v Peter Balchin (-1). This was a valiant performance by the higher handicap player with defeat at 6/7 on the 13th hoop.

This moved the pressure to The Three Fivers. A full match score would now lead them to victory. The singles match was over fairly quickly with a win for their Captain, all rested on the doubles game, Michelle Leonard (2) and Kate Brice (7) against Andrea Huxley (1) and Louise Taylor (3) (Who's Surrey Now). After a long battle, this was also settled at the golden hoop, giving overall success to The Three Fivers team.


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