Tuesday, 21 September 2021
Essex v Sussex at Braintree Golf Club 20 September 2021
For today’s golfing adventure, our intrepid band of heroes were off to the magical land of jellied eels, pie and mash and water damaged wellington boots. It was time for the bi-annual Jolly Boys Outing!
I appreciate that not everyone within SGC is well travelled or in possession of a Geography O Level, but it is important to point out that Braintree is a very long way away. Most of the team were facing a journey of over two hours, and there was much debate and planning about when we should set off. Given the speed at which Santa drives, he actually set out on Sunday afternoon.
As a confounding variable, the eco-mob were threatening to block the M25; although, how anyone would notice is a mystery. This protest is the most pointless exercise since Gareth Southgate said “I have a cunning plan”.
Turns out that the eco-mob did us a favour. Traffic was so light, that everyone arrived an hour earlier than expected. And, once Santa rolled in, we were ready to go.
As for the Essex lads, it turns out there was an auction of broken lawn mower parts in Chelmsford, and there was a lot of interest. Eventually, the sale was over and they had a full compliment. Their Captain Elect, Del Boy Freeman, was ready to rumble.
Regular readers will have noted that food features strongly in match reports. It should be noted that the Ploughman’s Lunch served at Braintree was one of the best. Let me dwell for a moment on the quarter of pork pie, the ham, cheese, two original pickled onions, large dollops of pickle and piccalilli, and bread and butter. There were some green leaves, but I am not sure what they were for. It was a veritable feast, a surfeit, a feast fit for a Mitch.
As usual, this was washed down with a pint or two of beer, in this case, some Greene King IPA.
Essex were keen to point out that they were unbeaten this year, and Del Boy had hand-picked a team to carry on this record. They resisted the alcohol, preferring a small soda water and a light rub down in preparation for the match.
Braintree Golf Course is considered to be one of the finest courses, in its postcode. It lived up to the billing. It is a short course, measuring 5,280 off the yellow tees. The pundits were quick to notice that Essex may have made a tactical error with their course selection. Letting the beer-sodden, lunch-heavy, Sussex Captains play on a very short course means there is less chance of them stopping for a nap on the 14th.
Leading the way, Keith Talbot (Captain) and Mark Dunn against Terry Glover (Captain) and Del Boy Freeman (Vice Captain, Secretary). Despite Sussex taking an early lead (again, see previous reports) the match reached the turn with Keith and Mark only one up. Mark was shouldering most of the burden, with the Captain making cameo appearances. The back nine continued in the same vein, Sussex up, then pegged back. On the 16th Keith hit a tree, missed the green, before chipping in for a half. Terry, in a rare burst of form, won the 17th to bring it back to All Square, which is how it finished. Excellent company and good banter, apparently.
Joe Angella (Vice) and Ian Wood (Northerner and professional rememberer) took on Chris Callaway and David Barber. This was a cracking game. It was very close all the way round, with Sussex running out winners (1UP) on the last. We should have been easy winners but Chris and Dave kept making magic moments to squeak a half or a win. On the plus side, we had plenty of time to enjoy the play of the group in front. It was a very enjoyable afternoon.
Dave Wilkins (President and Official Beer Taster) and Richard Jays (Santas Apprentice) v Kevin Smith and Stephen Trott. Quick out of the traps, Sussex soon got to 4UP. Some neat dovetailing made it difficult for the Essex Boys to get back into the game. The company was very good, with some great bants. It was an enjoyable course, although we didn’t finish it because there was a light shower and Keith had promised Santa a pin of Harvey’s. We won 4#2.
Mitch Clark (Husband) and Ian (Harry) Potter v Jamie Watson and Bryan Powell. Giving 11 shots, not that Mitch went on about it, on a short course, shows how generous Sussex are! It was a great game. Mitch blew the chance of a win on the 18th, something he will have to learn to live with. Harry was very gracious about the miss…It seems a half was a fair result. All Square.
Andy Plowright and Mark Terry (Secretary) v Barry Larcombe and John Still (President BGC). Once again, shots were the key. Playing against the Braintree GC President and giving him 8 shots should have conferred a home advantage. The fact that 2 of the shots were on par 3’s was barely mentioned. The Sussex Boys were very forgiving when John birdied one of them, for a net 1. It was a tight game, played in a great spirit, and even though Sussex were never behind, a half was a fair result. Net 1 though…All Square
As you scan these results, can anyone detect a theme developing? Is there a trend? How is Essex’s undefeated record standing up?
Nigel Powell and Tim Ingram v Gareth Olney and Alan Howick. Nigel led the team valiantly, turning 1UP. The opponents battled through to lead 1UP through 12. The match was square from 16, Tim had a 9 foot putt on 18 to win the match, which he generously left on the edge of the hole. Tim wrote the match report and Nigel never mentioned the 18th again. A half was a fair result. All Square
Peter Rodger and Derek (Daktari) May v Roger Miles and Henry Appiah. Thanks to the skill of Peter, Sussex went 3UP. It was then the Henry (receiving 5 shots) started to play, and on the 17th, with a light shower in the offing, a gentlemanly half was agreed. (Mind you, having played the 18th, this was a smart decision;Ed)
Terry Vanhinsbergh and Peter Snook v Steve Hazell and Brian Sparkes. With a 3 handicap, Steve, shooting a gross 71 it needed a stout performance to get a result. Fortunately, Peter is stout and Terry was receiving shots! At the first par 3, Steve stiffed his tee shot for a gimme two, oh how we laughed as Peter chipped in for a half. Terry spent most of his time in the trees. We won 2&1.
Brian Fairbrass and Nigel Wates v Dick Groves and Eric Roast. Dick and Eric were constantly swearing at the number of shots they had to give. They were so kind, giving us advice on every hole. We said “Thank You” and roasted them 3&1. The two 80’ year olds had a great time. We won 3&1.
Nick Lee and Rod England (Santa’s Driver) v Tony Bone and Roger Butson. This was a great game, going all the way to the 18th, and unlike Santa, finishing the course. Rod showed his class to close the match on the last. Roger and Tony were great company. We won 2UP.
Essex 2½ and Sussex 7½
Another great day of golf with Sussex Captains. Even the long drive didn’t spoil the day.
The food was great, the company excellent, the course was there, the weather largely cooperated, and, as usual, there was much laughter, fun and banter. On top of that, the eco-mob ensured that our journey was uninterrupted. What more could you ask for?
Essex didn’t win a single game, and their unbeaten record has been, insert appropriate metaphor here. We have taken possession of the Santacland Trophy and we look forward to defending it at Dale Hill next year.
As a side note, Mr Wood (Rod Hull Impersonator) loved the course so much, he got up at 6 am the following day so that he could drive back to Braintree to retrieve his new golf shoes. Ever the gentleman, he did manage to recover a sleeveless sweater someone left behind, although he kindly left Peter’s jumper in Essex.
Mark says that Woody’s mum used to him to school with his sandwiches wrapped up in a map.