Martellos make a strong start to title defence

THE champions made a winning start to their Island Team Scratch League title defence on Monday.

L’Ancresse Martellos were particularly impressive in the foursomes rubbers as they registered an opening 21-8 success on their home track, but there were definite positives to take for La Grande Mare Douit Dodgers in the singles matches.

In particular, talented junior Tanner Austin showed great determination and resilience to take reigning Channel Islands champion Jamie Blondel to the last and that perseverance was eventually rewarded with a very creditable half.

Blondel had held a slender advantage for much of the evening, but there was never more than a couple of holes in it and Austin was picking up nearest-the-pin bonus points along the way to further help his team’s cause.

Blondel was 2 up as they began the four-hole home stretch, but on the 15th he was heavily penalised for being just a yard or so off line with his approach as his ball buried itself in thick rough to off the side of the green.

That led to him losing the hole to par and having his advantage halved.

A brilliant up-and-down from the hollow on the right of the 16th ensured Blondel maintained that gap going up the 17th and that hole was halved in regulation pars, although Austin was not far off holing his birdie attempt.

But a rare moment of laxity from Blondel on the 18th tee saw him chuck his tee shot into the gorse in front of him and that allowed Austin to win the hole and earn a share of the spoils in the match.

Just moments later, Andrew Boyd was clinching the anchor singles rubber on the 17th green against Sam Le Huray and La Grande Mare had a bigger return for the match than had looked likely at one stage.

However, L’Ancresse were thoroughly dominant in the first three rubbers out on the course and in the first of those Danny Bisson was one revolution of the ball away from becoming the first Scratch League player to win a nearest-the-pin bonus point with a hole-in-one.

Danny Bisson’s tee shot on the seventh hole finished just short of the hole. (32128755)

That terrific approach gave him and playing partner Danny Blondel a birdie which put them 3 up against Tim Halden and Jason Winch and the two Island regulars went on to win in 12 holes.

Tom Le Huray and Sean Mills need just one more hole to defeat Tony de Sousa and Rick Le Poidevin in the other foursomes rubber as they also added six points to their team’s tally.

But they were outdone by Arthur Evans in the first of the single rubbers as he claimed the maximum seven points for winning inside 15 holes and also picking up both NTP bonuses.

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