Captains v Secretaries & Managers at Royal Ashdown Forest 2021

Monday, 18 October 2021

A gun-metal grey sky welcomed the Sussex Captains to Royal Ashdown Forest where we were met by General Manager Neil Darnell, the host for the day. Given we were to commence with breakfast, the Captains were there early, the opposition slow to arrive. This paid dividends for them as the initial buffet server was very strict (no, you can’t have 2 sausages!), whereas his replacement had a much more laissez-faire attitude with the S & Ms. Nevertheless, it was a fine repast. Captain Keith and the aforementioned Neil announced the teams, attributing descriptive comments to certain players.

(Ed note – It was sad that the S & Ms could only field 16 players, despite the quality of the venue and Neil’s strenuous efforts)

And so it began……..

First out were Captain Keith accompanied by Royal Ashdown Forest’s Captain Will Lewis who were up against Neil (still a Pro!) and Steve Blake from Worthing. For Keith, this was a rerun from the last contest facing this pair. After a positive start by the Captains, a close encounter ended with Neil and Steve establishing a 2-hole lead by halfway. Neil was 1 under par gross at this stage. A further Neil birdie and a great par from Steve extended their lead but, undaunted Keith and Will fought back to reduce the arrears to 2. All was in vain, for despite our off-putting banter they progressed to a 3&1 victory and revenge for 2019. Ah well….

Next up was the formidable pairing of Vice-Captain Joe Angella and Peter Ward taking on resident youngsters Adam and Lee, both 4 handicap. Our chaps could only admire the quality of the S & M’s play, including almost driving the last hole! Even Pete’s jokes couldn’t prevent a 3&2 defeat for the Captains.

Hon Sec Mark teamed up with the ever-reliable Rod England in match 3 versus the Cooden pair of Adrian and Kelly. Our chaps received 12 and 11 shots respectively which they used to good effect to secure a well-merited half.

The first-time pairing of Nigel Wates and Ian “Harry” Potter proved to be inspirational. Their opponents Paul Bodle and Elaine Purton realised that giving Harry 14 shots was bad enough without also having to give Nigel 9! The inevitable outcome was a 3-hole advantage for the Captains at the turn, which they extended to a 6&5 success.

Another inspirational pairing of Craig Millyard with President Santa nearly resulted in another point against Matt and Megan but unfortunately, they came second in a match in which only 3 holes were halved. Their 1 down loss was matched by Simon and Harold in the following game. Their opponents, Rebecca Prout and Steve Doherty from Highwoods declined to hole birdie putts early in the contest. This gave our valiant boys hope until Becky rolled in an eagle one! Harold steadied the ship as Simon shanked his way round but when 5 balls were lost on the same hole, his moment came. Despite winning the 16th and 17th to get back to all square, the Captains managed to mess up the last.

(Ed note – perhaps Harold had started to think about the desserts…)

Seventh out for the Captains were Tony Bauckham and the ever-youthful Brian Street facing Al Adams and Paul Gaylor. This proved to be a closely fought encounter with never more than 2 holes in it. It finished, befitting such a titanic struggle, all square.

Our very own little and large pair of Andy Plowright and Richard Jays started off the 16th. The full English breakfast began to tell as they struggled uphill to the tee. This reflected their match as they never managed to catch their opponents John and Alan, finally succumbing 3&2. They even tried to get Alan pissed but that didn’t work either!

The final four-ball was an all-Captains affair with Terry Vanhinsburgh and Andy Newman for the visitors and Kerry Scott and Martin Prentice deputising for the S & Ms. Some great play by Martin was countered by Terry’s putting but the Captains still had to win the last to secure an honourable half.

Prior to these matches, Ian Wood and Alan Butcher had gone out as a two-ball due to lack of opponents. They skipped through a members fourball and finished an hour before our first game even arrived back! They had even had lunch. This also registered a half.

(Ed Note – Despite fielding all the players in 2 matches, we didn’t win either!!)

Thus, the overall Match result was Sussex Captains 3 Secretaries and Managers 7

Lunch proved to be another highlight with even Captain Keith approving of the Thai curry (note: Andy N had ham, egg and chips) followed by a glorious array of desserts. It is believed Harold may still be there! RAFGC Captain Will welcomed everyone to the club followed by SGC Captain Keith thanking all and sundry, then presenting Neil with both a donation and the trophy. (He may possibly have mentioned Neil’s exceptional play…...)

So, it’s off to Highwoods next year – let’s hope against a full S & M team.

Keith Talbot

Captain 2020/21