Thursday, 18 July 2019
It was a gunmetal grey day as the merry band of Sussex Captains made their way along the notorious M25, Dartford tunnel and M11 into the Fens. The drizzle slowly worsened as we arrived at Newmarket.
Their demeanour hardly improved as we learned that Cambridgeshire had not followed the rest of Britain in putting their clocks forward, so they had the lunch set for 11am and tee off for 12 noon. All was happily resolved though it did effectively mean the early birds got a great variety of sandwiches plus hot chips; the laggards less choice and cold chips.
After Cambridgeshire Captain John and our very own Phil Williamson announced the runners and riders, we adjourned to the paddock for practice.
And so, it began… (or they’re off….)
Captains Phil and John saddled up and, with their stablemates Gary Hann and Richard Douglas, led the field. It was Phil who was fastest out the stalls, completely dominating the proceedings. Indeed, Gary appeared to be overawed by playing with the Great Man, even suggesting he could walk on water! For Phil’s sake, Gary get a grip. The net effect was a runaway win for Sussex by 5&4.
Next up were Sussex’s equivalent of the Muppets Statler & Waldorf, President Ian Wood and the venerable Brian Street. Whilst Brian was playing exceptionally well, Woody described their 6&5 success as “a very even game” making me wonder if he knew he was playing with Brian! (Cue: bring the screens in and avet)
Game three featured Vice-Captain Keith Talbot and IPC Peter Ward pitted against Cambridgeshire’s V/C Malcolm Knobel-Forbes and Steve Lang, the latter an exile now living in Lewes. Sussex’s celebratory pair sadly fell at the first, and the second and the third – Steve playing superb golf. Just when they looked like staging a recovery, Malcolm chipped in for a net 2 at the SI one! Eventually Keith and Pete pulled up lame on the 13th to what Woody would describe as a narrow defeat (6&5).
Steve finished 5 shots below his 9 handicap, prompting several “That’s nice” comments throughout the round from last year’s Captain.
Fourth timeout were the Sussex ‘R’s, Richard ‘Jayzee’ Jays and Rod England facing in Cambridgeshire’s colours, the ‘J’s John and John. The ‘R’ souls galloped into a 3-hole lead after 3, only to falter and give ground to the locals. Undaunted, a magnificent chip to 2ins on the 17th meant Sussex crossed the finishing line by a head for a 2&1 victory.
Match 5 was a close encounter, Derek May and Geoff Dyckes up against Terry and Tony “aka the Nudger”. Cambridgeshire had the best of the front nine but despite making up ground on the back with 7 pars, our chaps succumbed to a 2&1 loss. Apparently, Derek spent so much time in the sand, he got the right hump!
Number six on the card were Andy Lamb and Dave Schwartz who missed their lunchtime nosebagand thus, carrying less weight, romped away from the start. However, John and Ian recovered and, with both teams jockeying for position, they were neck and neck at halfway. Over the final 4 furlongs (holes) our lads ran out of fuel due to lack of nourishment and Cambridgeshire took advantage. Dave found he could no longer co-ordinate his putting or indeed his dressing when back in thechanging room. Sad really – anyway the end result was a 2&1 reverse for Sussex.
In the 7th match, David Sinden and Tim Ingram (Ed note; we brought our own jockey) had a tough battle with Cambridgeshire’s Phil and David. The odds were against our chaps as we were giving plenty of shots away but unfazed, they kicked on and turned 1 up. They then kept their noses in front on the back straight to record an excellent 2&1 triumph.
At the back of the field came ‘newbie’ Kevin Swales together with “Mr Nice” himself, Nigel Wates. Right from the off, this proved to be a tough race to the post, both teams determined to win. Finally, Nigel’s use of the whip pushed them ahead onthe 17th and, despite a photo finish, they secured a 2&1 maiden victory.
FINAL RESULT: CAMBRIDGESHIRE 3 - SUSSEX 5
Post-match hospitality was excellent, including a strange one meat carvery? (A little tactless having lamb, eh Andy). After the food, both Home Captain John and our very own Phil gave the usual thanks and niceties. Then V/C Keith presented Woody with the ball he lost on the 16th to the President’s (A Yorkshireman) delight. His comment “was it on the fairway?” was met with the derision it deserved!
Thereafter,we took our leave and began the long trek home, leaving Captain Phil, Brian and Woody to get pi**ed as they were stopping over.