|Matchplay Report: Clash of the Titans!|
|Friday, 29 June 2012 00:00|
Matchplay - a new concept for the Trilby Tour, yet one entirely in keeping with its brutal principles.
Put simply, its winner stays on.
Sixteen players in pairs go head-to-head over six holes and whoever wins moves onto the next round.
It’s simple, efficient and ensures everyone gets revved up right from the get-go.
As this was the inaugural Matchplay event a specially-selected field of 16 experience Trilby Tourians were invited to Rockliffe Hall to help launch the concept and what a line-up it was.
Some names who may be familiar to you among the players would include the 2011 Champion of Yorkshire James Gray, current champion of Ireland Tom Muldoon, former Avon and South West champion Gary Barton, perennial TT bridesmaid Ian Marshall and, of course, reigning TT overall champ James Voce.
An FA Cup-style draw the night before resulted in an intriguing line up and, with rivalries old and new determined, and first thing in the morning first pair teed-off early under Rockliffe’s wide, dramatic skies.
Unlike traditional TT events competitors had no time to ease themselves into play as they could effectively be 1-0 down within five minutes.
This was no problem for most of the players, who rattled out of the gate at a furious pace. A few succumbed to nerves, however, and lost the first hole before their ball even hit the fairway (or the rough, as was the often the case).
The 2nd is a relatively simple short par 2 but is the first hole where the players properly encounter Rockliffe’s most fiendish feature – the bunkers. The sand throughout the course is laid out in huge, sprawling splat shapes and, along with deceptively tricky long grass in the rough, punishes any mis-hit drives.
Any players who hadn’t found the rhythm of the course by the time they disappeared through the tree line that dissects the course before the 3rd were struggling to keep themselves in the race and one or two were effectively out of contention before they even reached the 4th. That’s Matchplay for you – deadly.
Oddly (for a Trilby Tour event anyway) there was little banter between players as they moved through the holes. It would seem that there comes a tipping point where defeat starts looking inevitable and those on the losing end are in no mood for the usual bon mots when they are trying to salvage some pride.
The TT but with an even more intense rivalry? It would appear Mr W.Hunt has found a way to ramp the temperature up even further.
The day progressed as you’d expect, with 16 becoming 8, with 8 turning into 4, then a final 2 setting off for the final play-off.
Quite naturally I won’t spoil your enjoyment of the coverage (which will be on Sky Sports this Autumn) by letting slip who won what, you’ll have to work out from the draw below who you fancy to win each round and then see if you were right.
Back at the plush Rockliffe clubhouse, the first ever Trilby Tour Matchplay was declared a huge success by all concerned, so keep your eyes peeled for your chance to enter the event when it becomes a full time part of the schedule next year.
The Matchplay line up:
James Gray v Bryan McCourt
Tom Muldoon v Marcel Dalziel
Paul Hopps v Malloy Parks
Darren Barton v Andre Malo
Gary Barton v Gary Stuttard
Andrew Verity v Kevin Commins
Barry Lavers v James Voce
Ian Marshall v Paul Llewellyn