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Match Report - Ulster Cup 4th Round V Dunfanaghy GC, 2nd Leg

After the narrow victory in the First Leg the team and caddies emigrated on mass to North-West Donegal. As a result of the distance involved we headed down (up?) on the Saturday for a practice, an overnight stay and the match on the Sunday.

After the practice on the Sat, the squad adjourned for a meal where we were joined by “Doris” Day, as is custom with this crowd, there’s a fair degree of banter when we sit down to eat, this being no exception. The squad did however pressurise me to name the “Batting Order”, but in true diplomatic fashion I was able, on Gordie’s request, to keep his position in the line-up up my sleeve.

Although virtually all of the playing members departed for “their scratcher”, one or two of the party did call in for a nightcap and if it was not for the ambiance of Sulphur!!!, they might have stayed a bit longer to sample the delights of Jive Bunny, the slush puppy, Tony Orlando and Bloom/Dawn, and Daz Travolta.

And so to the match. Team: Michael McCormick, Gordon Goodfellow, Darren Majury, Paul Mearns, Michael Carson, Frank Wallace and Gary McShane.

At this stage, let me say that the only agenda was to get though this tie, there may not appear to be any method in my madness but there was actually a plan which by and large came to fruition, the explanation of which, however, is not for this forum at present.

Although we’d only 1 rain shower, the wind was horrendous (although the sulphur had disappeared), and although it was a bit of a “leveller” there’d be no doubt that the Dunfanaghy boys would have played in similar conditions before.

The Devil had been drawn against Paul (who had notched up a very good win in the first leg) and although being helped and assisted by Rip Van Winkle, the Dutch Yachter, struggled in the wind and was a “few” behind by the time we turned after the sixth. Jose Maria had been drawn against Brian Gilfedder, late of this parish, for an intriguing tussle and found himself a couple down after four, Darren had also drawn a short straw and been paired against John who in my humble opinion is the toughest competitor I’ve ever come up against, and by 7th Tee was 3 behind. Mearnsy and the Doc passed by when my back was turned but good news from Frank accompanied by “the bathroom attendant” and Gmac who were 2 & 3 up respectively thro 6.

Thro 9, it seemed that the 1st and 3rd matches were lost, in the second Gordie & Geordie had pulled back to level their match, and whilst Gordie had nailed a drive off the 10th , Brian had hit OOB and the beach, surely we’d go 1 up? 5 mins later Gordie appeared back on the Tee, as his ball had disappeared and was now hitting 3 off the tee!!

Mearnsy had taken a 1 hole lead against another of the Dunfanaghy elite, the wee terrier Nigel, the Doc had got his stethoscope in front by 1, Wallace and Gromit were 3 up and Gmac was 3 up thro 8. Half way thro then and it looked like 2 each with 3 very tight, but in these conditions anything could happen. At the par 3 ninth the guys were hitting from 7 to 4 irons into a 104 yrd hole due to the right to left headwind and in some cases chipping 40 yrds directly into the wind for their second shot !! Not easy.

Buggy forward to 12th green/13th tee, to see the first match succumb, Gordie was teeing off at the 13th 2 up, Darren and John approached the 12th and after a couple of putts each hands were shaken, 3.5 out of 5 required then. Gordie lost the par 3 13th, to remain 1 up. Mearnsy was hunting in the hay to the left of the 12th Green and after establishing that he was 2 up I headed back down the 12th. Michael was holding his 1 hole advantage after 11 Frank was nowhere to be seen and Gary was now 5 up thro 10, as I turned I spotted Frank and his opponent way out left, semaphore with Childsy told me he was now 3 up thro 11.

Mearnsy had slipped to 1 up thro 13, his match would go to the wire as none of these two would give anything away cheaply, buggy over to 16th to see how the second match was going, a semi-hidden clenched fist from Geordie was accompanied by the news that Gordie was Dormy 3, buggy back to 13, Michael was 3 up thro 13, Frank still 3 up thro 12.

Buggy up to the 16th Green, to see the guys heading to the Par 3 17th Tee, Gordie down to 2 up then, we watched the tee shots and headed to the green, Gordie  in the greenside bunker, Brian’s out wide left. Brian putted and left the ball just short of the green, Gordie played a beautiful bunker shot to 2 feet, Brian putted up stone dead for a four, Gordie with 2 putts for a 2&1 win, yes you guessed it the, er um “silly foul” went for it and left it 3 feet past, and I’m on tablets for high blood pressure. Bless him he boxed the return for a 2&1 win.

Mearnsy was now 2 up after 14, Michael won the 15th for a 5&3 win, Frank was 4 up with 5 to play, news came forward that Gary had won 7&6 but a recount established that he was dormy six so they went back to hit off from the 13th. Frank lost the 14th, 3 up with 2 to play, and the 15th 2 up with 3 to play. Just as Gary won the 13th for a 7&5 victory, the Club Captain phoned to inform me that Mearnsy had also secured a win 3&1.

So Frank was called in, his match being officially declared a half, for a 4.5 away win, a great result which confirms that this really is a good squad.

My thanks to the players and Caddies, to the Club Captain for the wine, to Margaret at the BnB and to Clarkey for the use of his house. To the Dunfanaghy players and officials my thanks for their hospitality and Craic, next time please don’t make it so tough, special mention to John and Nigel, both hard as nails but gentlemen to boot. To Danny, Prakesh sends his love.

Onwards and upwards.