A NAIL-biting Suffolk Tolly Cup tie, which hinged on players from both sides playing their opponent’s ball on a crucial hole, ended in dramatic style with Newton Green defeated in chivalrous circumstances by the narrowest of margins by visitors Woodbridge.
When Martin Smith sunk a four-foot putt on the last green in the final match to win the hole it seemed he and partner Phil Green had saved the day to allow the home club to go into a sudden death extra holes play-off.
But on an earlier hole another Newton pair and their opponents had both played the wrong ball with their second shots.
They received preliminary advice that they should both accept a half and move to the next tee but, as the match completed its last dramatic hole, it emerged Newton should have conceded the earlier hole because they had been the first to play the wrong ball. However, the sporting Woodbridge visitors urged Newton to accept a play-off as they had not expected the earlier advice to be altered and believed honour would be achieved by going into extra holes.
Newton decided to decline the offer, believing that, despite the generosity of their visitors, they should accept defeat by one hole under the rules of golf.
Alan Cunningham, Newton club captain, said: “It was extraordinarily generous of Woodbridge to offer a play-off but we felt it was not for us to go against the rules of golf and we decided to take our medicine and lose. It had been an exceptionally close match played in a wonderful spirit. In the end I believe the game of golf was the winner.”
Newton’s Tolly team was: Harry Wordley, Ian Coleman, Neil Fenn, Andy Roper, Scott Edwards, Andy Smiles, Gary Twyman, Phil Green and Martin Smith.
l While Newton were going down in the Tolly, the club’s first team scored an impressive eight-hole victory at Diss in the opening round of the Suffolk Hambro Cup, and now visit Waldringfield in the second round.
Newton were 11 holes up after the morning rounds, winning three and halving one match. Diss won three and lost one in the afternoon, but their victory margins were insufficient to cancel out the visitors’ morning dominance.
In the morning Adam Woodhead and Greg Hills drew, Mick Poley and Russell Oakey went two up, Mark Duthie and Simon Bearman five up and Barry Steele and Rob Simms four up. In the afternoon Woodhead and Hills went four down, Poley and Oakey one down, Duthie and Bearman four up and Steele and Sims two down.