This was each Club’s first match of the season in this league, for players with handicaps of 14 and below. Conditions were good, with little wind, and Cornwall’s lawns playing quite fast.
Teams were; Cornwall – David Edwards (capt) handicap 6, Peter Cutting (6), Des Honey (8), and Russell Moore (14). Taunton – Margaret Huckett (capt) (10), Derek Beard (4.5), Stephen Custance-Baker (8), and Roger Buckley (10). With the addition of Buckley, this was the same team with which Taunton were undefeated Southwest area champions in 2013. Perhaps it was as well that Cornwall seemed not to have noticed this!
The morning’s play consisted of a doubles and two singles – Edwards & Moore taking on Beard & Huckett in the doubles, giving Cornwall 3 bisques. After a little preliminary skirmishing, Moore got in, and ran a superb break of 9 hoops with no bisques, which could have been 10 if he had not declined to run rover. Edwards, not yet on form, struggled in his wake, and was pleased to use Moore’s 3 bisques. Taunton never quite recovered from Cornwall’s opening, and the game went to Cornwall 26-8. In the singles, Cutting continued in his so-far unbeatable form this season, with a comfortable win 26-11 against Buckley. Honey had a much closer struggle against Custance-Baker, and as time approached, either could have won, but in the end it went to Taunton by 20-19 on time. So at lunch, Cornwall were 2:1 up.
The four afternoon singles continued with Cutting never looking in danger against Beard, winning 26-14, in the process reducing his handicap to 5. Honey got involved in a rather dour low scoring game against Huckett, and failing to hit his normal form, went down 10-14 on time. Moore fought hard, but never looked likely to beat Custance-Baker, who won 26-13. What turned out to be the crucial match was Edwards against Buckley. Edwards got off to a cracking start with an all-round 12 hoop break, but Buckley with 4 bisques having got the innings, steadily accumulated hoops, giving Edwards no easy chances to advance his second ball, marooned on hoop 2. However, the Taunton defence finally cracked, allowing Edwards to advance. In the end game phase, all was to play for, the scores being equal. Edwards had one ball on peg, one on 4-back, with Buckley on rover and penult. Things looked good for Taunton with Buckley having a good set up to run penult, and Edwards on the long boundary. However, Edwards hit in, and completed his hoops & pegged out, to give Cornwall the win.
Final score: Cornwall 4 Taunton Deane 3