A day of high winds and even higher excitement saw defending champions St Enodoc squeeze through to Round 3 of of this year\'s Frank Wills competition against a strong China Fleet side. An idea of the wind strength, which was estimated at 30 mph and gusting, saw electric trolleys blown over and on the 144 yard 12th one of the few shots to make the green was Kevin Brenton\'s 4 iron! Although quite wet underfoot the Launceston course was in good condition and other than a few light drizzles we were thankfully spared rain.
After the opening salvos of the match things did not look good as only one of our pairs was in front and that was Dan Witts & Sam Jarvis who were 5 up after 5 against James Harvey & Andrew Sullivan. By the time the wind battered players reached the last 6 holes the match began to look as if it could go either way.
Our first pair Kevin Brenton & John Pease had fought back manfully from 2 down to win 2 up on the last green against Lee Spiers & Ed Sharland. Second out were Nick Evans and Rich Matheron who fought back from what looked like impossible odds of 6 down to “only” lose 2 & 1 in the end. By now it was clear that the final games were going to be vital to win if we were to progress in the competition. Witts & Jarvis were looking good from the off but were pegged back to only 2 in front but ran out winners 3 & 2 against James Harvey & Andrew Sullivan.
The remaining matches were both too close to call with Rich Hawken & Rich Lawrence all square with the 18th to play which was lost on the last green to Andy Foster & Scott Summerfield. So 2 - 2 meant that many people\'s prediction of the last match being the decider came true. Not for the first time the spotlight was on the unlikely, but very successful, partnership of \"Pensioner\" Keith Hawke & \"Young Gun\" Jake Sanders who won the 17th to go 1 up down the last. With all the crowd and players now gathered round a terrific up and down by Lee Frederick and Barry Russell meant that the match was all square so it was back to the first for sudden death.
Both sides were green high in 3 on the into wind 498 yard Par 5 hole (no mean feat in itself), St Enodoc with a nasty “Fried Egg” plugged ball in the bunker on the left and China Fleet in an unplayable in a bush on the right. Having taken a drop they promptly chipped over the green. It looked like advantage to St Enodoc but words of encouragement from Keith to Jake to hit the ball as hard as he could resulted in Jake getting the ball out onto the green – a great match winning shot - and with 2 putts a decided possibility, Keith putted up but not close enough for a concession. China Fleet chipped back and then missed the putt which meant St Enodoc had 2 for it which was sportingly conceded for the win.
An excellent nail-biting match played in a great sporting spirit with the weather really being the opposition for both sides; all credit for which goes to both Captains our own Bob Cruse and China Fleet\'s Mark Fox. The conditions were dreadful and both teams deserve great credit for playing so well and under such pressure and it really was a bit of a shame in many ways that one team had to lose.