THE first inter-club match of the 2013 golfing season was played last Saturday afternoon. It was a first round match in the Ulster Fourball between Banbridge and Rossmore.
Merton McDowell is the captain of the Banbridge team and he selected what appeared, on paper at least, to be a very strong team.
The weather on Saturday was quite good in the early part of the day but, just as the match got under way, it started to rain and it was most unpleasant for the first 12 holes.
Robert Clydesdale and Willie Dickson were first out and they suffered a surprise defeat by 5 and 4. This was not the start that Banbridge wanted.
Philip Strong and Bertie Shaw had a very tight match and they had to settle for a half.
Aidan Lavery and Dermot Magee proved to be a very formidable pairing. They played really well and won their match by 6 and 5.
Kenny Jones and Sean McGreevey have both been in great form in recent weeks. They were far too strong for their opponents from Co. Monaghan and they won by the proverbial “dog licence”, 7 and 6.
The fifth and final game was crucial. Merton McDowell and Dominic Quinn were going along quite nicely until they came to the closing holes. The men from Rossmore pulled out a number of sensational shots and went on to win the game by 3 and 2.
So the final result was a tie, two and a half points each.
In fairness, this is not a great result for Banbridge over their home course. But they will go to Rossmore next Saturday with heads held high. Merton knows that he has the players well capable of winning away from home. The advantage is certainly with Rossmore but I wouldn’t write off Merton and his men just yet.