The annual challenge match for the Sussex Salver took place on a windy June 8th at Farnham Golf Club in Surrey. After an indifferent league performance the previous Sunday, the Sussex team were in the right frame of mind to take on two strong opponents in the 9 hole foursomes, 18 hole singles match.
With a regularly strong wind and occasional rain, the day was always going to be a good test for the boys but the standard of golf in the conditions was exceptional from all three sides. The decision to go ahead with the match despite the weather was vindicated by the quality of the golf.
In the morning, the very strong top of the order for Surrey made their point with 5 wins out of 6 in the top three matches, Hampshire made 3 wins out of their 6 leaving Sussex with a solitary win from Nathan Longley and Jack Sutton. It could have been better but they somehow managed a double bogey from the fairway not far short of the last green to lose out by one hole to Surrey. Sussexhad a big turn around in the last two matches with Thomas Harrison and Elliot Isted beating Hampshire and halving with Surreyand then a star performance from Davis Jones and Lucas Durrant who beat both counties by good margins to gain 4 points. The 7 points from the last two matches put Sussex in 2nd place after the foursomes withSurrey enjoying a healthy lead going into the afternoon.
Hampshire soon put their morning’s problems behind them and started the afternoon by winning all their first 3 singles quickly adding 12 points to their score. Joe White for Sussex had a hard time against two high performing players but Nathan Longley continued his fighting display to see off Surrey and gain Sussex’s first afternoon points. It could have been better but the Hampshire Captain played the last 5 holes in three under par to sneak the match away on the last hole. Jack Sutton, Billy Aspital and Tim Finnerty all battled hard to earn good points but the Hampshire roll continued with a spectacular gathering of points. James Huggett found his opponents in good form which he couldn’t match as did Elliot Isted and for once Thomas Harrison came away empty handed with two narrow losses on the 18th green. Lucas Durrant also had a close tussle to the last but it was left to the undoubted Man of the Match, Davis Jones to finish his day in marvellous fashion by beating both his opponents heavily. His victories may not have won the trophy for Sussex but they did have a say in who did win it with Surrey (the holders) pipping Hampshire by just 2 points in a hard fought, sporting and exciting victory which came down to the last match on the last green.
In matches played off scratch, the Sussex boys suffer because their handicaps are generally much higher than those of the other county boys so it’s a great credit to them when a performance like this occurs, earning good points off the other counties. It is satisfying and with the improvement comes some optimism for the future.
The travelling/playing reserve Joshua Davis played two opponents whose handicaps were exactly half his but illustrating that anything is possible, Josh beat one in the morning 9 holes and then only lost his two matches in the last couple of holes in the afternoon.
Man of the Match – DAVIS JONES
|Please click here for the match result|