Sussex v Bedfordshire at Cottesmore 2021

Friday, 16 July 2021

As we gathered at Cottesmore on this sunny/cloudy day, we made a strange sight as both teams were dressed in identical colours. The Clubhouse has recently been rebuilt following a devastating fire; obviously, the Club are nervous of a repeat episode as a fire engine was parked outside the front door! Either that or Dave Balfour had come straight from work!!

An excellent lunch of chips and sandwiches was followed by Captain Keith Talbot welcoming everyone to Cottesmore (Captain of Cottesmore, Clive was not available, so he spared V/C Iain the task). The announcement of the pairings together with Bedfordshire V/C David Hawkins was peppered with varying character descriptions of team members.

And so, it began…

Captain Keith, accompanied by V/C Iain McKay set out with high hopes, inspired by the Open. Indeed, the Captain held David and partner Brian Carter for the first 5 holes, then Iain found his game which was just as well as Keith lost his!

(Editors note: The Captain hit his ball into the holiday-chalets, but fortune smiled as a lady and her son handed it back. Keith offered the young lad a lemon drizzle bar or a signed glove – unsurprisingly he took the cake!)

Only 1 down at the turn, holes were exchanged until finally Dave’s accurate putting and Brian’s irritatingly consistent play finally told and Bedfordshire claimed victory on the 17th green 2&1. At this point, the Captain looked totally knackered which was ironic as Iain had done most of the work. A thoroughly enjoyable game played in great spirit.

Match 2 had, for the first time, the Sussex pairing of Peter Ward and Nigel Wates. The experiment paid off as opposition Kevan and Richard failed to counter the banter/jokes of Tarzipan. Nigel learned there are many ways to win a match. Our Peter backed this up with his inimitable putting to record a 2&1 victory for the home side.

The third match featured Harold “Two desserts” Knight and all rounder Mark Terry against Bedfordshire’s Steve and Richard. A very brief report of the proceedings suggests Mark played the golf whilst Harold enjoyed the scenery but nevertheless our heroes managed to secure a point with a 2&1 success.

Fourth up, facing Bed’s Nick and Steve was Sussex’s very own “Santa” Dave Wilkins and bookies delight Richard Jays. (To be fair, you did back Louis Oosthuizen). This was a remarkably close encounter until holes 12-15 when our chaps lost their way, both making mistakes. Apparently, this was due to tiredness and not the amount of alcohol consumed at lunch!! End result was a 2&1 victory for the visitors.

(Editors note: The Bedfordshire pair were pinged by the NHS app so disappeared at the speed of light! Glad to report, they have tested negative for Covid, drugs...)

Now in the second half of the matches, the fifth group comprised the diminutive Tim Ingram and the much bigger Ron Adams ( aka The Two Ronnies). Pitched against them was Bedfordshire pair of Steve and Dave, determined to take a point. But it was the Sussex duo who had the last laugh, running out 3&2 victors – so it was goodnight from them.

Next came another fine Sussex left-hander (ahem) in Simon Watts with Santa’s little helper, Rod England. They were up against wee Keith Shirley and his minder John Jones in what proved to be a somewhat one-sided affair. Messer’s Watts and England, having won the first two holes never looked back and finally triumphed 6&5.

The penultimate game starred Peter Snook and David Balfour in competition with Bedfordshire’s Roy Roddy and Malcolm Waters. Another case of Sussex gaining the upper hand early on and building a substantial lead until hands were shook on the 14th green to register a fine Sussex win.

So, to the final match. The Captain had selected Andy (Winner yesterday on this course) Plowright with home maestro Nigel Powell. Their opponents, Dave Price and John Preston had never lost a match for the Bedfordshire Captains. Tension, something had to give. The visitors took a slender early lead which they defended until John’s stunning shot to the par 3, seventeenth secured a valuable point for the away side by 2&1. I had Andy and Nigel down as bankers not ……….


Back at the Clubhouse, the players all enjoyed well-earned drinks before tackling the flooded showers, the Fire Brigade not called upon to pump out! By now Santa had calmed down, mild panic having set in when the Covid pair were pinged!

The catering was excellent especially a memorable sticky toffee pudding.

Keith’s speech included the traditional thanks and the usual weak joke before handing over to Bedfordshire Vice-Captain Dave who echoed the thanks and, having pointed out they had won the trophy more times than Sussex before today, then gave the result before presenting the “Bedsex” Cup to the jubilant Sussex Captain. Yesss!!

Mutual toasts having been exchanged, the players from both sides took their leave, off home to watch the Open highlights.

Keith Talbot