Big beast of Sussex golf avoid each other on PAV Trophy

EAST SUSSEX NATIONAL and Worthing, the big beasts of the PAV Trophy, avoided each other in the semi-finals of the Sussex inter-club matchplay competition.

Defending champions ESN take on Seaford while Worthing must wait until July 30 to find out their opponents when Lewes and Copthorne settle their unfinished fourth round differences.

That quarter-final was called off after seven holes as mist on the cliff-top course at Lewes made the course unplayable.

At Seaford Head and elsewhere, rain fell in torrents and, together with the strong winds, the conditions made life tough for competitors.

Worthing, vanquishers of Seaford Head, went through 8-4 after leading the foursomes 2.5-1.5. “It was really tough,” said team manager Graham Roberts afterwards.

“We had to grind it out.”

Worthing, without Toby Tree and Scott Nightingale, suffered an unexpected reverse when Joe Doherty, the Sussex champion, lost 4 & 3 to Matt Smith. A bad back found Doherty not on his usual game while David Tulley was beaten 3 & 2 by Spencer Elliott.

“They are a great side,” said Bob Allen, Seaford Head’s team manager.

“The result could have been a bit closer but it was a big ask for us.

“It was, I think, the furthest we’ve come in the trophy.”

Seaford (East Blatchington) won 7-5 at Sweetwoods Park with a re-shaped team. Level pegging after the morning, Seaford managed an early foothold thanks to Craig Poulter and Martin King.

It was Clive King, in his late 50s who stepped in for team captain Martin Landless and secured double points. With Butch Walker, the Sussex champion of 1972 when a member of Hollingbury Park, won his foursome and then overturned Ashley Clinton 3 & 1.

Paul Hills also bagged a double for Seaford.

ESN won 9.5-2.5 at Sedlescombe, where Derek Howe, the visiting team manager, expressed astonishment at the improvement of the course.

“I think it was seven years or so ago when we last played there,” he said.

“Then the course was very poor, particularly the greens... what a transformation. It is very well presented and the greens particularly good.”

A name to note in the champions’ line-up is Mark Budd, who graduated from the juniors and came in for Rob Bury. “He has won two of our scratch competitions and was runner-up in the club championship. He is a particularly fine striker of the ball and is one to watch.”

A surprise came when J.J. Grey and Ashley Rees only halved after being two up. Howe regarded that as the only blot on ESN’s performance.

Looking ahead to the semi-finals, he said: “We are looking for revenge against Seaford. A couple of years ago, when our aggregate handicap was plus four, we were turned over by Seaford. It looks like being a hard game.”

In the Plate, the bad weather meant it was agreed to scrub the singles between Willingdon and East Brighton, leaving Willingdon 8-4 winners.

RESULTS. PAV Trophy, 4th round: Seaford Head lost to Worthing 8-4; Sweetwoods Park lost to Seaford 7-5; Lewes v Copthorne postponed until July 30; Sedlescombe lost to ESN 9.5-2.5. Semi-finals draw (August 13): ESN v Seaford (at either Worthing or Lewes or Copthorne); Worthing v Lewes (at either ESN or Seaford). Plate, 3rd round: Willingdon beat East Brighton 8-4 (foursomes only); Crowborough beat Haywards Heath 6.5-5.5; Brighton & Hove w/o v Royal Ashdown Forest; Royal Eastbourne lost to The Dyke 6.5-5.5. Semi-finals draw (August 13): The Dyke v Brighton & Hove (at either Crowborough or Willingdon); Crowborough v Willingdon (at either B&H or The Dyke).