London v Sussex at Muswell Hill 2017

Friday, 7 July 2017

As the temperature soared sending most people to the seaside, our brave Sussex lads headed inland to the cauldron that was Muswell Hill Golf Club, to take on the London Captains.

There is a long history of friendship between the two sides and this fixture was no exception. An excellent lunch was followed by the team match-ups and a close encounter was anticipated. 

Captain Brian’s determination to defeat his opposite number was facilitated by having selected Terry Vanhinsbergh as his partner. As usual TVH was at his imperious best, supplying the birdies that with Brian’s support, secured a narrow victory by 1 hole.

Match 2 saw Vice-Captain Peter Ward and Dave “Santa” Wilkins outclass the London pairing; the Sussex players combining awesomely to run out 4&3 winners. Pete shot a gross 76 which was a tremendous achievement on a tough course – very crusty and but with some bare patches. (The course that is, not Pete.)

And so, to Match 3, which featured Mark Terry and Phil Cummins for the visitors. This time, it was London that provided the brilliant golf resulting in them being 5 under at the turn. Nevertheless, Sussex were hanging on to be only 1 down after 12 holes but the home team then turned on the afterburners to power away to a 4&3 win. 

Fourth up were the experienced Sussex pair of David Noble and Pete Rodger. The match, played in great spirit saw our duo prove too strong for the London boys and achieve a memorable 5&4 victory. 

Next, in Match 5 came David Schwartz and Graham Ward who got off to a great start winning the first 3 holes. The London pair gradually reduced the arrears with their superb putting, that then saw them overcome Sussex’s resistance to record a last gasp win 1 up.

Game 6 was the first to start from the 10th tee. Sussex, represented by Dave Balfour and Des Malcolm, never looked in trouble and the 5&4 victory was a fair reflection of their dominance.  Dave said Des “played well in parts” and his birdie at their last hole was “magnificent but counted for nothing”.

Note Des – next time you write the briefing note!!

In the engine room of the team, Sussex had Richard Jays and Neil Smith who came up against a tough combination from London. Not quite achieving their normal high standard (their quote), the chaps succumbed to a 5&4 defeat. 

Sussex fared no better in Match 8 where Derek May and rookie Colin Crookes were facing a canny couple of London players. This tie saw the home team deliver a 6&4 win despite our heroes’ best efforts. 

Thus, it would all be decided by the final two matches.

Tommy Pether and John Kinnear were the penultimate Sussex pairing. Things did not start well with London going 2 up after 3 holes. The game then settled down to a more even contest but the home side gradually eased further ahead so that, despite Tommy winning the 14th and 15th holes, London ran out winners by 4&3. 

The final Sussex pairing featured Harvey Terry and Keith Talbot against John “The Organiser” and Mike “Man of many Counties”. Harvey arrived with only minutes to spare, nursing an injured shoulder, however after a quick sandwich and numerous drugs, he proceeded to play tremendous golf. 

On the front nine, the lead switched several times as basically Harvey played John; both scoring well. Keith’s contribution on the scorecard appeared as often as Halley’s Comet but he did contribute by holding the flag, finding lost balls etc 

Sussex were 1 down at the turn and despite Harvey’s best efforts, London secured victory on the 17th by 2&1. 

So, although the overall result went the way of London by 6 to 4, the real winner was the friendship generated between us all.

An excellent meal was followed by the formal words of appreciation by both Captains 

(I had Brian ahead on points) before we set off on the long journey home – some of us a very long journey but that’s another story….

Keith Talbot