Our annual trip to Purley Downs is one I always look forward
too, and this years match was no exception.
Moved up from an 8 to a 10 man squad this year, the Purley team was looking stronger than ever….. so strong in fact that they actually fielded a team of 18 players across the 36 holes giving more of their players a great taste of County level scratch golf!
August the 31st, officially the last day of the summer, and as the weather forecast looked bright, sunny and warm, the shorts went on, the sun cream was applied and the course looked in great shape!
Unfortunately, the only sad news came from a text I received from Cameron Langley at 7am saying he had strained his back and could not make the match!
Unable to find a final hour replacement from our Surrey Ranks, a Purley Downs member called Steve Jolly who was about to play in their Saturday morning roll up was gracious enough to fill the void!
The first match was a close call as newbie Hugo Demaya played with Surrey first team player Terry Nichols against Kevin Smale and Richard McGrath.
Both teams were in unbelievably good form as the Surrey Pair shot 1 under to Purley’s 3 under who defeated the away side on the 18th Green.
Next was the oldest fourball of the day!
John Cassidy and Mike Lazer starred into he eyes of fellow seniors Bill Barclay and Duncan Hamilton.
With probably a combined golfing experience of ….. well…… many years…… it was the home team who once again tasted victory winning 2&1.
The experienced James Molyneux took rookie Rob Pountney under his wing in the third match against the ever steady Martin Hayes and Jerome Bostwick.
A game that nearly became match 4 or 5 as Jerome wondered casually onto the tee from the carpark with about 45 seconds to spare!
Never the less, 2 practise swings later and a swoosh into the heart of the 1st green was enough to take an early lead.
A lead that was never matched as they romped home to victory 4&3.
Not looking good for Surrey, a win was necessary to keep the day alive.
A win that was handed to us in the very next match….. Chris Matthews who was new to Surrey at the start of the season, now played veteran to first timer James Tuck.
A shaky start from James off the tee early on, was more than compensated by his excellent putting as he drained putt after putt throughout the mornings round until there were no more holes left for Tom Ross and Oli Blackburn from Purley to keep up with!
The final nail in the coffin was a solid 10 footer on the last for a 1up win.
Sadly for Surrey in the final match, last minute replacement Steve Jolly’s handicap was way into the high teens, and despite his valent effort and remarkable nerve, Steve and I couldn’t force a win against Purley’s Captain Ross Buchanan and steady eddy Justin King loosing 3&2.
The format of Foursomes golf at a county level was just a little too much for Steve and I just didn’t play well enough to carry us through the match!
The only high point was the complete collapse of Purley Captain Ross Buchanan’s concentration on the 18th tee after the match was completed, as he can be seen in the photo below hitting his second from only a few inches past the ladies tee box!
Something which a member passing by was saddened by as he was convinced it was 6 inches shorter! 😂💃
So, the end of the morning’s foursomes and Surrey was down…… way down currently losing 4-1 going into lunch!
A team talk was needed…… no wait, a proper ticking off was in store!
Terry Nichols and Hugo Demaya kicked the afternoon’s fourballs off against the rested Scott Ward and Oli Blackburn.
Terry requested he stay paired with Hugo for the afternoon as they gelled so well in the morning and felt sure a win was possible.
Then, after a near faultless performance through the first few holes, Surrey were 5 up through 6.
Surrey’s intentions were clear from the start and a comeback was certainly possible.
Despite Purley clawing there way back in the game through the next 6 holes, wins at 13 and 14 pushed the game back in Surrey’s favour which resulted in a 4&3 victory.
As word filtered through the games, the next win came quickly in match 3 as Myself and Chris Matthews started incredibly strong too.
I found some form which was a little lacking in the mornings match, and birdied 4, 5 and 8, and sank a couple of key par putts to gain an early lead.
From there, Chris played near faultless golf pushing us over the line 7&6 against a new pairing for the day Mark Kenyon and Lee Ahern.
Then the weather turned…….. the clouds went dark and the rain started to fall….. something which the parings from the first two matches didn’t mind too much as we watched it all unfold from the clubhouse windows!
The next group in sight was an 8 ball walking down the 18th!
Unable to tell if both matches had finished yet or one was still live, we waiting on…… then they stopped….. yards from the 18th tee box all 8 searching for a ball……
It then became clear that one match was still on!
As they came close, it was clear this match was tight!
Then, as word came, “All square”.
Both Purley members missed the green right with John Cassidy in great shape in the middle of the green.
Both Ross Buchanan and Justin King from Purley were now faced with two incredibly difficult up and downs from the wrong side of the green to keep the game alive.
Sadly, both came up wanting leaving John Cassidy 4 feet for the win.
The flag was left in (something I still can’t get used too!) and John held his nerve.
Mike Lazer and Steve Jolly had a great match in group 4 this afternoon, but again, Steve was sadly out of his depth today and unable to help Mike much in this afternoons fourball format losing to a fresh pairing of Nick Murray and Lewis Gibson.
Current standings…… 5-4 to Purley….. all depended on match 5 !!!
Could Surrey pull an unlike draw out of the bag with just 9 players, 1 stand in and 18 opponents….. 😳🤞
Group 5 was in sight, and both James Molyneux and James Tuck both hit great second shots unto the heart of the 18th.
Both teams were now huddled up on the mound of the 18th Green waiting for an indication of the score.
Then it came…. Surrey had lost 4&3 against another fresh Purley team for the afternoon consisting of last year’s Scratch Captain Jevan Ali and Harry Gibson.
It was a very valiant effort from all the Surrey guys today with a very gutsy afternoon win 3-2.
Sadly it wasn’t good enough though as the final score ended 6-4 to Purley Downs, but as always, the spirit of golf was the overall winner today.
I would like to thank Ross Buchanan, Purley downs staff, and all 18 of the Purley Downs squad this weekend for making sure the match was played in the correct banter and spirit it always is.
A special thank you must go to Steve Jolly (Jolly by name, Jolly by nature!) who stepped in last minute and playing both rounds despite the mountain of talent he had to contend with! Now just don’t lose my cap and ball! 😉
Surrey A Team Captain
Steve Jolly, the Purley Downs player who heroically helped the County A Team out against his own Club for 36 holes
and earned himself a cap and ball!