Derek Cole led his team to his last match, at Fairwood Park, last Wednesday. The seniors do have one more match to play, but the team will be led by Mick Whale in the final game against Derllys Court. To end Derek’s successful season around the courses of Pembrokeshire and South Wales he picked Phil Carpenter to help him overcome the challenge from home captain, Paul Barrett, accompanied by Peter Smith. He was hopeful of a good performance, again mainly due to the glorious sunshine on this well-presented parkland course.
The lack of wind and the warmth put everyone in a great frame of mind and even the dogs, in the nearby kennels eased back on their barking. This first four-ball set the scene with everyone putting in a good performance. It was so invigorating that Derek and Phil between them were only three over par after nine holes. Needless to say it was a close encounter, as were most four-balls in this penultimate match. The excellence of the performances was reflected in the fact that, between the four players, they were only three over par after eighteen holes. Fortunately, for Derek and Phil, they were the successful duo winning by two and one.
The friendliness of seniors’ golf was epitomised on the final hole in the match played by Mick Seal and John Richards. Close all the way they were level as they landed on the eighteenth green, in their match against Clive Wescott and Norman Taylor. Clive was eight foot away from the hole and Mick was nine foot away. Clive sportingly declared that a half was a fair result so they amicably shook hands and retired to the clubhouse.
There was another half reported to the captain and that was the match played out between Steve Decosimo partnered by David Rees. They were up against Barry Williams and Dave John. Steve said that he was there to back up David, who was putting in a good performance. Unfortunately, they found themselves behind for most of the afternoon. They did manage to recover on the back nine to level the score. They started the final hole with a one-hole advantage but then failed to complete the task. They lost the hole and ended up all square.
Stan Hudson and Keith Hubbard looked a fair bet to manage a result for the captain. It was not to be as they found themselves engaged in a close struggle against Gary Jones and Andy Williams. Despite Stan scoring a couple of birdies they were three down after nine holes. With consistency and determination, they recovered to be all square after fourteen holes. However home course knowledge and some consistent putting enabled Gary and Andy to recover their lead and run out winners by two holes with one to play.
Allen Watts and Des Stone set off with high hopes. They won the first, lost the second, won the third and lost the fourth in a match that, again, was very close. Mal Watson and Gerald Tomaszewski were the opposition and in this struggle it was often a missed drive off the tees that determined which pair would come out on top. All four miscued and all four played some good approach shots. Two down Des and Allen won the seventeenth to allow them a chance of stealing a half. A telephone pole and a ditch did not help in their final approach. They ended up losing by two holes instead of stealing a half.
This was Bob Forrest’s first visit to Fairwood Park and he was looking forward to the experience. He had Mick Whale to help him enjoy his day as they faced Andy Crocker and Nigel Havard. Much to Bob’s dismay he discovered, when they exchanged handicaps, that he was giving up nine shots to the opposition on their own course. What a set back! How would he cope? He was cheered up when Mick Whale scored a two on the sixth, while in the distance they could still hear the training session for Swansea City footballers. Despite the five-hop shot on the fifteenth, by one of the Fairwood boys, which then skipped across the green into the hole, this match remained competitive right until the last. It could have gone either way but it was the home team, in the end, that stole the glory, but only by one hole.
Roger Scholfield and Jim Martin found themselves four holes down after six. Not a good start in their match against Alan Davies and Derek O’Brien. They clawed it back to all square only to lose it again, against a long hitter off the tee in Alan. They could have kept level had they managed to find some accuracy with the putter, a long one in Roger’s case. After a slow start Jim picked up the pace over the back nine but it was not enough to repair the damage. They, eventually, finished the eighteenth two holes down.
That just left the final pairing of Ross James and Robin Hagley. They entered the clubhouse with big smiles having earned a point for the captain in their match against Mark Provis and Jim Watkins. Coupled with Robin’s consistency Ross had obviously recovered from his unfortunate errors on tour as they won by five and three.
One senior was dismayed to discover that he had left his change of clothing at home so had to remain unwashed until he got home while another senior managed, on arrival, to roll his ankle as he got out of the car. He ended up flat on his back on the tarmac. He recovered and completed his round. It was like being on tour again.
Derek was full of praise for the welcome, the camaraderie and, in particular, the weather and the course. He was pleased to announce the winners of the two’s competition, who were Mick Whale and John Richards and then informed the gathering that the result was five-three to Fairwood.
On Wednesday, 19th September Mark Edwards and Steve Watkins won the Welsh Golf Union Greensome Foursomes event played at Morlais Castle. This is the third time in succession that Tenby pairs have won this competition following wins by Austen Davies and Jerry Whitehouse in 2017 and Ross James and Loz Philips in 2018.