Gloucestershire Seniors got their 2021 Channel League season off to a victorious start against Gwent at Bristol & Clifton on Thursday 27th May.
With the gradual easing of lockdown restrictions, both teams arrived at a sun-drenched venue to resume battles and friendships of years gone by. With the course looking in such fabulous condition each and every player was itching to get the morning greensomes underway. This format has been introduced as a trial this year and Gloucestershire will certainly be advocates after comfortably winning the morning session 4 – 1. With the home advantage it’s understandable that Gloucestershire went into the afternoon singles feeling confident that they could close out the match with a win. However, Gwent were out to make a statement. That, they definitely did with some excellent golf witnessed from the sidelines.
In the top match, Gloucestershire’s Steve Yorke halved with Mike Britton in a duel where neither player gave his opponent a significant opening. With golf of the quality displayed by these two a half was a fair result. The first Gloucestershire singles win came from Vernon Chappell who closed down Chris Hunt on the 18th. Chappell’s wedge to three feet was one of the shots of the day. Captain Nick Morris said, “he does it all the time!”
In the third match Gloucestershire Seniors Champion Andy Wright boarded the thirteenth tee three down and was looking forlorn. A twenty-foot downhill putt with a severe right to left break on the 16th was the moment when Wright sensed he had the excellent Nigel Evans on the ropes. With a solid five from Wright on the last, Evans had to concede that this was one that got away. Again the quality of golf from these two champion golfers was of the highest order.
The next three matches went Gwent’s way with Gloucestershire’s Brian Mitten, Rich Wood and Darryl Wheeler losing out to their respective opponents. From Gwent’s point of view, to get three points against this quality trio would have given them hope of getting something out of the match and rightly so.
Gloucestershire’s tension was eased by classy wins from Pat Murphy 4/3 and Steve Prosser 6/5. The point secured by Prosser effectively won the match but should it have come down to Gloucestershire’s Carl Gyde in the penultimate pairing, Morris’s “safety net” would have done its duty. In the final match Gwent’s David Bailey was never behind in his match with Bob Broad. Not many people have been able to say that. Ever!