East Devon Stableford win for Parnell and Mackie

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 February 2019

East Devon golf club. Ref exsp 25 17TI 5423. Picture: Terry Ife

East Devon golf club. Ref exsp 25 17TI 5423. Picture: Terry Ife

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A four-ball better ball Stableford was played at East Devon on Saturday, writes Paul Willoughby.

I won’t explain what that is as I’m sure you know the format by now!

The following paragraph is not golf related and I make no apology for that. Read on and your mind will be blown!

I’ve just heard something that has absolutely astonished me and I think you should hear about it too! It’s to do with the migration passage of small birds like the chiff chaff and whitethroat. No, please don’t hang-up or turn the page (though you are allowed to yawn!) but read on as this should impress you.

We all appreciate that swifts, swallows and martins cross the channel in spring after a long migration from Africa – we think nothing of their passage but just accept they’re here when they arrive; we rather take them for granted.

However, I wanted to know how the little migratory birds manage their journeys; after all when we see them they flitter from branch to branch and leaf to leaf so how could they possibly manage a flight across the Channel, especially from here, where the distance from Exmouth to Roscoff would be just over 120 miles.

I made enquiries from the British Trust for Ornithology and they, of course, had the answer.

When it’s time for the birds to migrate they fly up the Channel coast using their built in satnavs until somehow they know that the distance between here and France is either just manageable or even visible when they reach Kent.

A lot of migrating birds make the journey between Portland or the Isle of Wight to Cherbourg (still a long way), but the smaller birds will go all the way to Dover before crossing to Calais, where they can actually see their next destination.

I mean, it’s just astonishing that they have the nous to know where to go – to the shortest crossing route before they launch themselves off the White Cliffs and head for France. Instinct plays a large part and they’ll be back here in a month or so, taking the reverse route, whether it’s a hard Brexit or not!

I’ve rather digressed (not for the first time) so here are the all-important results. Remember the yardstick – 36 points is playing to par; anything more and you could be in the prizes.

The winners with an exceptional score of 46 points were Paul Parnell and his partner, John Mackie.

That’s most impressive and should warrant a handicap reduction - were it not for the fact that this was a non qualifying competition. The remaining leading scores were as follows: 2, Trevor Reeve and Glenn Tucker, 42 points; 3, Ray Dawson and brother, Bob, also 42; 4, Dennis Chivers and Peter Dowling, 41; 5, David Watson and Russell Corney, also 41.

I would normally mention any score over 36, but I’m afraid there were 24 who qualify so space doesn’t permit you a mention.

Never mind, you know who you are, so well done. There were six twos sharing a pot of inestimable value!

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