Taunton Vale GC on 29 May 2009
Taunton Vale GC opened in 1992 as a fairly open hill-top course with firm greens. It is still rather raw as a course. The greens are also inconsistent in terms of bounce. The teams for the championship comprise six Under 16 players and three Under 14 players. The team result is the total scratch score for the four best scores from the Under 16s and the best score from the Under 14s. There is a trophy for the winning team, the best Under 14 (nett and gross) and the best Under 16 with a further two prizes for the runners up in the Under 16s group. Six counties competed — Dorset, Devon, Cornwall, Somerset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
By and large the squad could not handle the greens in terms of either chipping, pitching or putting. It might have helped to have had a practice round but it was understood that this is not permitted for this competition. The winning total was 378 by Devon, edging out Somerset by one stroke. The Under 14 winners were both from Gloucestershire. The individual Under 16 title went to Matt Richards of Cornwall who scored a gross 72. The runners-up both shot 74. Par and SSS for the course is 70.
Under the circumstances the squad did not play too badly, an average of only two strokes less per player would have equalled the winning score. Both Joe Lovery — who replaced Fraser Dawson at the last minute — and Jordan Howlett did well to play to their handicaps with Robbie Mabb and Rob Condliffe also inside or very close to their buffer zones. Of these players only Joe, George, Billy-Joe and Jordan will be eligible next year.
It was good to have Ian Clark and Dave Steward in support and the parents or grandparents of Harry, Joe, Billy-Joe. George and Jordan who were able to travel to Taunton on the day.