Tuesday, 3 September 2019
It was an overcast day as we set off for Hamptworth GC located not far from Salisbury and an early start due to brunch being served at 11.00am. Notwithstanding, the ubiquitous chips and sandwiches were first class, followed by the announcement of the pairings for each match. Whilst Captain Phil offered comments about his team, Organiser John issued challenges and forecasts.
And so, it began…
Sussex Captain Phil had chosen the President Ian to accompany him and this looked a good decision when they both drove off well. This was a false dawn, as Wiltshire’s Captain Pat and pal John secured two birdies in the first 5 holes to put Sussex 2 down at the turn. Undeterred, and with a new plan, our chaps strode to the 10th, a steely determination in their eyes. Sadly, this did not reach their hands, so after a bout of poor chipping and putting, they succumbed 4&2. At that point, they found their form and played well - Sheffield Wednesday tend to lose in the same manner!
Onto Match 2 which saw Richard Jays with the slowly recovering Peter Ward in tandem. With Pete off to a fast start, birdieing the first, this close encounter arrived at the 10th all square. Pete advised Richard that they would need to get back to the Clubhouse asap, so a brilliant run of 3 holes, which saw them achieve two more birdies, was enough to see them over the line. A much-relieved Pete thanked partner Richard for his support!
Third up was the inimitable Ian (Harry) Potter and tour virgin Andy (Larry) Lamb, who had a tough baptism to life on tour. His usual consistent game was in evidence as he started with 7 pars and 1 birdie, only to find he was 1 down. His passenger Harry, suddenly realised he was supposed to be contributing, so immediately won 9,10,11 and 14 to put our heroes dormy 3 up. Now coasting along admiring the scenery, they were rudely awakened by the Wilts pair who having birdied the 16th then eagled the 17th. Realizing the danger, Harry and Larry concentrated hard but still managed to “cock up” the 18th, enabling the home side to grab a half!
Following on in Match 4, Sussex had the previously un-beaten pair of Dave “Santa” Wilkins and V/C Keith Talbot. (Guess what’s coming). Keith was up against an old work colleague, Ian Armstrong who had clearly spent his retirement better as he was off 9 handicap. Indeed, Ian played the first 4 holes in one under, leaving the bemused Sussex boys in his wake. After a debate at the 9th over which flag was which, the hole was lost, resulting in 3 down. The second half saw Wiltshire’s Pete come more into the game as they extended their lead to dormy 5 up. The tough challenge became tougher as Santa, under pressure from 3 good drives already taken, stepped up to the tee. On his backswing, Ian’s trolley took off on the downhill path. The V/C’s strangulated cry of alarm caused Mr Christmas to send his shot careering off into the trees, never to be seen again. Meanwhile, like a cartoon drunk, the trolley lurched down the track, managing to tip over just before the stream. The hole was halved, and the match lost 5&4. Thereafter, Keith played par golf – to which Santa’s reaction was to keep shaking his watch; at least I think that was what he was doing………
Match 5 featured another tour virgin, Mitch Clark and his chaperone Neil Smith. Yet another fast start by the visitors evaporated away by the 11th to be at level pegging. Undaunted, our robust duo set about restoring the lead, which they did to great effect finally running? out 3&2 winners.
(Ed note: the buggy is still recovering)
Next were Joe Angella and the evergreen Brian Street about who’s match I can do no better than to quote Joe’s report. “It was a close game, we started well, they fought back, and Brian had a nice walk” The game was played in good spirit despite a couple of contentious rule debates leaving the net result as a half. Joe also mentioned Brian’s arthritis prevented him from writing the report but didn’t say how it contributed to his performance!
Seventh up was the little and large pairing of Andy Plowright and newbie Gary Hann, an inspirational selection. Facing two Wilts likely lads, they dovetailed well to record a famous 5&4 victory. Not convinced that Andy was delighted by the course though as there were a few blind tee shots – still if you couldn’t see, what about Gary…..
Bringing up the rear were established tourists Derek May and Nigel Wates. Due to the Club Captain being delayed, he appeared in this final game. That meant the intrepid Sussex pair were pitched against two Hamptworth Captains but despite this they held on until the 17th green when they finally lost 2&1. The Wilts boys had tried to ensure victory by teeing off the Ladies tee on the 17th but D and N spotted their devious ploy and quite rightly took the p**s.
FINAL RESULT: WILTSHIRE 4 SUSSEX 4
Post-match hospitality was of a high standard, served at 5pm. Captain Phil observed that this would be good preparation for when we all enter retirement homes!!
Wiltshire Captain Pat read out a piece about tattoos and farts, followed by our Captain’s rendition of a joke in a pseudo French accent. Suffice to say, the highlight was the trophy presentation which Sussex retained as the holders.
The Captain quickly offloaded it to the V/C to fix and retain.
We left in good spirits for the arduous journey to our accommodation about ¾ of a mile away.