Jersey’s late fightback in fourballs proves pivotal

FROM nauseating nerves to a burning desire to do it all again.

Guernsey debutant Arthur Evans summed up just what it meant to be involved in the return of the Ravenscroft Men’s Inter-Insular after a Covid-induced hiatus, despite the result which saw Jersey regain the Challenge Trophy with a hard-fought 12-8 victory at Grouville.

‘It’s hard to describe,’ he said in reflection on his first cap on Sunday.

‘My first tee off yesterday, I thought I was going to puke actually, I was so nervous. Once you got off it was great, it was awesome golf.

‘I enjoyed playing against the Jersey guys, they’re nice people, but I so want the cup back and to be part of the team – it’s the best.’

Evans partnered Mick Marley during Saturday’s fourballs and foursomes, suffering a narrow 1 down defeat to Matthew Parkman and Mathew Hague in the first session before earning a half against Alex Guelpa and Phill Evans in the alternate-shot format.

‘We did well, Mick and myself, we got down 18 on both matches – one we lost because of a birdie, the first birdie of the whole day, and then in the afternoon we were denied the win by an awesome putt from the opposition and that’s basically the difference,’ Evans said.

‘Winning my first half point yesterday was almost the most proudest moment of my life. It was just such a great feeling.’

He faced Hague again in the singles, with the home debutant completing an MVP weekend for the hosts with a 4 & 2 victory.

‘He played phenomenally well and the difference was on the greens and maybe it’s course knowledge – it’s the first time I’ve played the course,’ said the Guernsey newcomer.

Should Evans fulfil his ambition and make the team at L’Ancresse next year, Guernsey’s captain Dave Jeffery has a request of him.

‘Arthur’s caddie John [Rivers-Moore] is a real character and I hope if Arthur makes the team next year he brings John along because he certainly lifts the team spirit.’

Jeffery had gone to Grouville knowing that a fast start was essential if his side was to buck the trend and win at the Royal Jersey course for the first time since 1980.

It was looking promising for much of the opening fourballs, too, but the tide turned as Jersey finished the first session with an equal share of the five points on offer then took three-and-a-half points from the following foursomes.

‘We wanted to get off to a fast start, ideally at least level or ahead going into the singles, you can then pick your order and go for the win,’ Jeffery said.

‘We got off to a great start on Saturday and at one point it looked like they were going to go down 4-1, or maybe 3-2 to us, but we didn’t, we finished level.

‘We performed poorly Saturday afternoon in the foursomes, but just that last hour Saturday morning I think cost us.’

With a two-point deficit, Guernsey loaded the front of their singles order and, again, things looked promising early on.

‘At one point the first five or six matches were all green. If we could have turned four or five of those into wins that’s a massive, massive start,’ said the captain.

‘Again we saw the Jersey fightback. The first two games were looking good for two points for us, in the end we ended up with two half points, so a point lost there, and away from home that’s really the difference… 12-8 to them, another day that’s 10-all and we keep the trophy.’

Jeffery reserved special praise for his two unbeaten players, 16-year-old debutant Ollie Chedhomme who claimed two-and-a-half points over the weekend and Jeremy Nicolle who finished with three from three.

‘We knew Ollie and Jez were probably the two form horses out of our team of 10, so we had to get them out early because we couldn’t let Jersey get to 10-and-a-half points.

‘I didn’t actually see a lot of Ollie playing, but because he was playing so well, you don’t go and watch him because you just let him get on with it.

‘Jez was quite happy going up the order and he played really, really well, so I’m pleased for him.

‘I am hugely proud of all the guys, not just the players but also the caddies, Wayne [Harwood] my vice-captain, everyone put a shift in this weekend so I’d like to thank them.’

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