Sussex v Buckinghamshire at Pyecombe 2021

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Finally, we reach the last intercounty match of the season. The stout Sussex Yeomen against the ‘Young’ Bucks of Buckinghamshire.

With the fuel crisis in full flow, and queues at any garage expecting delivery within the week, there was some doubt as to whether the Bucks would make it. However, the lure of a trip to the seaside proved too strong. It seems several of the Young Bucks were looking forward to sampling Brighton’s distinctive entertainment scene!

We received a warm welcome from the current Pyecombe Captain, Mark Bailey. In his introduction, he did warn everyone that the rough was penal, and he wasn’t wrong! There’s no point moaning about lost balls when you’ve been given fair warning!

Here is a quick food update, lunch was a nice range of sandwiches and lots of chips. All good.

Next up came the introductions, teams etc. Usual stuff.

Following a previous match report that commented, ‘it was a joy to watch Kieth and his group play’, the VC was demoted to the penultimate group against Oxford and the final match v Bucks. Suffice to note that Joe’s advice to Keith, “don’t bother turning up early next year”, should be heeded.

It was with mounting concern that the weather forecast became the main topic of conversation. Gale force winds, rain, mist and a drive-by by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse were all forecast. Certainly, the wind was up, the sky looming and there was a bit of a chill in the air. Nigel was pictured sporting the latest item in SGC trendy merchandise, a luxurious woollen bobble hat (orders via the secretary). The little tinker was proud to show off his large pom-pom to all and sundry. Meanwhile, base layers, jackets and long johns were dug out, and we were soon ready to go.

Match 1

Keith Talbot (Captain) amd Mark Bailey (Captain PGC) v David Liston (Captain) and Terry Coulson. This was a very competitive match. The winning of holes changed frequently, so the first nine finished all square. Moving into the back nine, the Sussex Boys edged ahead and finally closed out the match at the 16th, with Keith fluking a 15 ft putt. It was a great game, wonderful banter and unlike everyone else behind them, they missed the rain. Won 3&2

Match 2

Nigel Wates and David Sinden v Steve Ball and Martin Bart. This was a great game. Sussex raced into an early lead, before folding like wet tissue paper. The back nine was tough, and Nigel and David ran out of steam. The company was great. Nigel’s hat (orders through the Secretary. We’ve a job lot, and we need to knock them out tout-suite) kept him warm as he watched the group in front potter around the course. Lost 1 Down

Match 3

Mitch Clark and Rod England v Gerry McSlay and Jonathan Brooke. Mitch and Rod got off to a fast start, 5 Up after 5. It was very competitive thereafter. “It was lovely company and an enjoyable days golf”, said the winners.

Match 4

Simon Watts and Stormin Norman Millburn v David Balfour (Not that one) and Peter Hill. After being 6 down after 8 holes, Norman was no longer Stormin. “The idea of playing against Peter was not a good one”, says Norman. The Sussex boys staged a small recovery but quality triumphed in the end. Lost 3&2

Match 5

David ‘Santa’ Wilkins (President) and Harold ‘Ronseal’ Knight v Bob Barnes and Bob Gilmour. The two bob bits joined in the banter and were great company. The match was a battle, with wind, rain and lots of waiting. There was not much in it, and as the night and the weather was closing in, a gentlemanly half was agreed at the fifteenth. There were a lot of balls left on the course. Any question that Santa forgot his opponents' names are scurrilous rumours, it was Harold. All Square

Match 6

Andy Lamb and Peter Brookshaw v Tony Jefferies and Trevor Murphy. There was an even start to this match before the home team went one up. This was quickly pegged back to All Square. A couple of quick wins and Sussex were soon two up, only to get ahead of themselves and level up the match, once again. Even a par on the long par 3 was not enough to win the hole. One day, Andy will let this go! Sussex stayed one up until the last, and then blew it. All Square. 

Match 7

Alan Butcher and Des Malcolm v Doug Ebdon and John French. This was a good game, with never more than one hole in it. Doug and John gelled well, they were good company and perfect gentlemen when it came to searching for Des’s balls. Alan kept Sussex in the game, and it finished All Square.

Match 8

Tim ‘Doc’ Ingram and Joe Angella (Vice Captain) v Brian Rodgers (Match Manager) and Steve James (Gentleman) The last game. Steve and Brian were great company, we had a lovely time with lots of laughter and some great golf. There was never more than one hole in it. Steve made good use of his ten shots, and never lost a ball, Tim putted well, Joe swore a lot and Brian was a very naughty boy. A gentlemanly half was agreed. All Square

Despite the conditions, and the difficulty caused by playing a wind-battered Pyecombe, this was one of the friendliest matches of the year. Everyone enjoyed themselves, and a draw was a fair result.

A quick update on the pie situation, as I know this is important to our readers.

Today, we had homemade Chicken and Ham pie with plenty of gravy, boiled potatoes, and some veg. It was delicious. This was a proper pie, with shortcrust pastry forming a proper base and lid. It was well stuffed and tasty. None of this stew nonsense, with a piece of pastry thrown on top. Possibly, the best pie of the year. We followed this with homemade cheesecake, a nice rich sauce, and a crushed digestive base. Well done Pyecombe.

It is also worth noting that the Long Blonde Ale from Longman Brewery was particularly delicious, clear, golden and fresh. It’s a very easy pint to drink.

So, the last match is over. Keith has had a successful season. This was the friendliest of games, played with great spirit on an excellent downland course. Even the weather couldn’t stop this being a success. On to next year…

Joe Angella

Vice Captain