Other than La Grande Mare’s Ollie Chedhomme completing the round-robin stage with a perfect four-wins-from-four record in the singles, the Rocque Balan Royals were never in danger of slipping up at home against the Douit Dodgers on Monday evening and they cemented their place at the top of the final standings with a 23-6 victory to book a showdown with the defending champions L’Ancresse Martellos.
The visitors can take the positives of giving a Scratch League debut to promising junior Daniel Troop, as well as Chedhomme senior as Ollie’s dad, Christophe, made his first playing appearance, and also from the grit and ability they showed against their high-profile opponents, but an upset was never on the cards in this one.
The Royals also had a junior making his debut as Conor McKenna took over from his older brother Rory, who is away shooting at Bisley, and combined to winning effect with Roland Mills in the opening foursomes encounter.
Tim Halden and Louis Sheppard were level with their opponents when the rubber crossed the Mont Cuet Road having completed six holes, but after Mills became the first player on the day to earn a nearest-the-pin bonus to help win the seventh, the Royals pairing pulled away and sealed victory in 14 holes.
Their teammates Dave Jeffery and Wayne Harwood needed just one more hole to see off Troop and Andy Dawson in the second foursomes, but there was the consolation for the LGM pair of Dawson earning a ‘NTP’ point on the 12th where he stuck his tee shot to around 33ft before teenager Troop sunk the birdie putt in fine style.
That matched the earlier efforts of their opponents on the seventh where Harwood won the bonus having flown his tee shot over the flag to a similar distance from the cup and Jeffery holed the subsequent right-to-left downhiller for a two.
In the other pairs rubber, Dale Rutledge and Jeremy Nicolle also picked up a winning bonus by defeating Christophe Chedhomme and Orlando Abreu 5 & 4 with Nicolle adding a NTP point on the 12th.
The singles rubbers proved tighter affairs.
It was something of a Jekyll-and-Hyde performance from Royals captain Tom Le Huray against Rick Le Poidevin, who always rises to the challenge of facing a category one player.
Le Poidevin’s cracking chip that won him the 12th hole was indicative of his ‘have-a-go’ mentality against last year’s Island champion and Le Huray found himself getting frustrated on occasion, but he always had the edge and then finished in style with back-to-back birdies by holing a curly putt on 15 then hitting his approach stiff on 16.
Chedhomme junior, though, has been a source of consistency for the Douit Dodgers this season and he added multiple Island champion Nigel Vaudin to his impressive list of scalps in the second singles rubber.
It was a tight encounter throughout and the players were all-square leaving the 13th green, although by the time they were on the putting surface at the 16th, the youngster had edged ahead and there he rolled in a 16ft birdie putt down the slope to double his lead.
With Chedhomme in the middle of the fairway off the 17th tee, Vaudin knew he had to go for broke but his drive was wayward and he conceded graciously without taking the option of reloading.