Last Sunday saw another lengthy drive for the Blues, 2 hours 15 minutes in one of 2 cramped and sweaty-smelling Volkswagen Polos, as the 8-man team endured a bum-numbingly long journey to Royal Ashdown Forest, site of their penultimate match of the term. The journey was a mercifully uneventful one and all the team arrived at the venue with plenty of time to make the most of a complimentary coffee and a perfectly crispy bacon butty, fuelling their stomachs before venturing out onto the course.
The first game of the morning saw captain-in-spirit for the day Elliot Ebert pair up with big-hitting grad fresher Matt Davey to take on Royal Ashdown Forest’s top partnership of John Daly and Rob McKellan. Both Davey and Ebert were on so-so form coming into the fixture, but a tidy opening birdie on the par 4 1st quickly put paid to any concerns about swing efficacies and the Blues frontrunners would continue their imperious play all round, edging out a resurgent Daly and Mckellan to notch up a W on the last. Andre Neto-Bradley and Will Trinkwon were next out for the Blues and with both players still smarting over a pointless two matches at Aldeburgh, fired up and hungry to get a victory on the frost-frazzled Ashdown course. But Neto-Bradley’s driver began misfiring around the turn and despite briefly pulling ahead with a textbook birdie 4 on the always difficult 12th hole, a late missed Trinkwon 5 footer and a pair of a couple more wild tee balls from Neto-Bradley proved too much of a handicap to surmount. They would take their match to the 18th but lose it one down. Rohan Gupta and Mihir Patel also returned to the clubhouse having spurned the chance of a point. Neither Rohan nor Mihir got anything going all morning and in the end admitted their 4&3 margin of loss was quite flattering. Despite being saddled with a misfiring Richard Bevan-Jones, however, Seb Hickman managed to drag his partner through to a 1 up win on the 18th, playing some of his best golf of the season to keep Cambridge level as the teams trouped back in for their lunch.
Owing to pressures on daylight, it was decided the afternoon matches were to be reduced to just 15 of the 18 holes. Given the Cambridge boys had been struggling on Ashdown’s fiendishly difficult closing stretch this was a decision that sat well with the team and, bolstered by generously-apportioned hog roast in their bellies, the Light Blues were feeling an afternoon romp. With a hot Elliot Ebert out first, albeit with a less-than-brilliantly swinging Neto-Bradley, the anticipated Light Blue rampage looked set, but when Elliot and Andre lost the 2nd and then the 3rd and then the 4th and then the 5th and then the 6th and then the 7th, halved the 8th and then, returning to old ways, lost the 9th, Cambridge’s first pair were sent back to the clubhouse packing before they’d even had a chance to make the turn. Fortunately, for the Light Blue’s scoresheet, Cambridge’s 2nd pairing, Matt Davey and Will Trinkwon managed to fare a little better in their afternoon match-up. Despite going down early on against ex-pro Rob McKellan and an in-form Matt Mockridge, a par on 14 and a rude 30 foot snake of a putt finding the bottom of the cup courtesy of Trinkwon a hole later proved enough to get the boys back from dormie 2 to securing a valuable half. All square was also the result of the 3rd match, though Seb Hickman and Mihir Patel were disappointed not to come away with a victory as they’d stood on the 13th 1 up, before missing a tiddler of a putt to lose 17 and then failing to capitalise again from close range on the straightforward 18th. A final match win for Cambridge was needed, then, if the Light Blues were to hold Ashdown off to a halve overall, but when Rohan Gupta and Richard Bevan-Jones’s vault at birdie slid low across the cup on the last, Cambridge’s anchormen were forced to settle for a half point and the overall match went to Ashdown Forest. 4.5 to 3.5, the final result.