DEVON narrowly avoided a whitewash as their challenge for the Boys National County Finals came crashing down with an 8-1 loss to eventual champions Staffordshire, writes Maddy Sears.
A disappointing 3-0 scoreline from the morning foursomes at Kedleston Park was too much for the Devon side to come back from.
But it was another poor singles performance – with only Exeter's Oliver Cowl managing a win – that ensured the final-day loss was emphatic.
Coming into the third day Devon had put themselves in a decent position after beating Yorkshire, and victory could have seen them claim the title for the first time.
However all three foursome games were lost including the so far unbeaten pair of Churston's Danny Guy and Torquay's James Thompson.
After a sterling two days in the foursomes the pair came unstuck 5&3 against Daniel Sutton and Gian-Marco Petrozzi.
Fellow Torquay member Robbie Thompson, who was paired up with the experienced Jacob Tinsley, managed to get closer but still came up short by two holes against Cameron Long and Robert Burlinson.
At 3-0 down at lunch, the South West champions faced an uphill struggle to pull the match back into their favour, and in the end came nowhere near.
After Tinsley lost the opening singles match 4&3, it looked an almost impossible task.
Further losses from Torquay brothers Robbie (2&1) and James Thompson (4&3) guaranteed disappointment and the end of any title challenge.
Only a solitary two-hole win from Cowl saved Devon from a complete whitewash.
The poor finish to the three-day tournament left Devon bottom of the four teams on 12½ points, with Hampshire in third on 13 points.
Defending champions Yorkshire also managed a convincing final day victory, with a 6½-2½ win over Hampshire.
This, however, was not enough to overhaul Staffordshire, who won the title for the first time in their history.