Oxfordshire v Sussex at Kirtlington 2019

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

The joys of driving anywhere these days was brought home forcefully to some of the Sussex team. An accident on the M40 caused severe delays and several players endured a time of frustration and angst waiting to get through the delay. Miraculously, everyone did turn up eventually and thanks to some imaginative and nifty team rearrangement, everybody managed to start in some order although not the one originally planned. 

Unfortunately, those starting on the 10th tee were somewhat confused about who was playing whom but even that was resolved and the advantages of a two tee start and a resultant early finish was well received, just in case of further accident on the way home, possibly involving a lost Captain's or President's chain of office! 

After a sandwich lunch, five groups were scheduled for the first tee and five for the10th. 

The threat of rain hung in the air but optimism that the matches would be finished beforeanother deluge, was premature and the last few holes of each match suffered in the wet.

Match 1 Captain Phil Williamson and Richard Jays had a very competitive match against the Oxford pairing of Captain Chris Spearing and Immediate Past Captain, Peter Walton and according to Phil, the golf was of such a high standard that a half was the fair result. Ever modest our Captain.

Match 2 This match saw the much holidayed Rod England and Derek May paired together but the delays on the M40 clearly affected both players and they succumbed 3 and 2 to a very good Oxford performance

Match 3 President Ian Wood and Dave Balfour outplayed their opposition, largely according to  legend because Woody played like God who's a country member at Copthorne apparently. The real story is that Ian left home on Tuesday evening to get to Oxford on time and made it by 9.45 on the day of the match, mentioning in passing that he saw no delays on the motorway. Result - a stong win 6 & 4

Match 4 Simon Watts and Nigel Wates brought home an anticipated 3 & 2 victory despite (Nigel’s words) the attempt by Oxford police to thwart (correct spelling optional Nigel) the Sussex team's arrival. Nigel is now going to spelling class to learn that thwart is not spelt thawrt (which is a random activity in the brain). An excellent performance but it demonstrated that extensive warm up routines are unnecessary.

Match 5 Andrew Newman and Nigel Powell had a rollercoaster game - first 3 up, then all square to 3 down and finally a good half. Both Sussex players are now being counselled for the traumas of such violent scoring swings.

Match 6 Leading Sussex off the 10th tee, Vice Captain Keith Talbot and Peter Rodger had a great match with good company which finished in a fair half. Keith played well and Peter spent a lot of time in the very wet rough trying to find the many golfballs he lost. He was not too successful.

Match 7 Fresh from Dorset heroics (9 & 7 win) Jags and Shaun White had expectations of an equally early finish but canny use of their many shots saw Oxford pair, Ken and John, hang on for a 1 up win. A game of nearly but not quite. Shaun played well and Jags took on his more normal role of support team without doing too much

Match 8 Ian (Harry) Potter and Mitch Clark proved too strong for their Oxford opponents with bighitting Mitch playing the first 9 holes in level par to go 4 up. The mini fightback from Oxford was quickly extinguished and Sussex ran out 2 & 1 winners. Allegedly, Mitch is not allowed to wear his colourful trousers to Sussex matches so instead treats everybody to a show of his legs - not sure which is more preferable.

Match 9 Frank Edmonds and John Featherstone were lost for words as their opponents who stated the often used phrase "I don't normally play this well" as they took Frank and John "to the cleaners". At the time of going to press, the actual match score was still a closely guarded secret so it was probably not close. Heavy loss then.

Match 10 Mark Dunn and Bryan Fairbrass suffered from not being able to hole any putts while their opponents sunk everything including the hopes of the Sussex pair. A loss 4 & 3. Mark's highlight was his special dessert of two meringue nests filled with fresh fruit over which he took great pleasure to gloat.

So, the endresult was a close 5½ to 4½ win for Oxfordshire which could so easily have gone theother way with 4 matches going to the soggy 18th hole ending in 3 halves and a 1 down loss. 

After an excellent dinner - the chef was persuaded not to offer jam roly poly in view ofthe earlier traffic problems - both Captains were equally praise worthy of each other and the welcome put on by Kirtlington Golf Club and staff on the day. An earlier than usual departure meant that the Sussex team took part in their very own wacky races down the M40 in terrible weather conditions but no jams.

Nigel Wates should have made his editorial debut with this report but because of the stress caused by the driving, Jags came out of retirement where he has been spending his time writing on lavatory walls to keep his literary skills well honed.

Ian Jaggard