Thursday, 11 July 2019
As the Captain surveyed the scene, he contemplated if this match would define his Captaincy and his legacy….
Meanwhile, away from Edgbaston, Captain Phil Williamson felt much the same at Seaford. It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm with a light breeze. With both teams bizarrely wearing identical colours, a splendid lunch was taken, the formal welcome made by Home Captain John G Jones and the oft changed pairings announced.
And so, it began…(Australia had chosen to bat, and England had unbelievably reduced them to 14 for 3!)
Back at Seaford, Captains Phil and John strode out to the tee determined to set the pace against the experience of Captain Chris Foster and Secretary Bob Roberts. A very tight battle ensued, no quarter asked or given, until Sussex gradually gained the upper hand. Helped by a 3-putt from Bedfordshire on the 16th which gifted them a half, Sussex led by 2. Now “dormy”, the match was clinched 2&1 by a magnificent second shot to 3 inches by John on the 17th. (Applause)
Second up, our impoverished President Ian Wood was accompanied by Harold “2 desserts” Knight. Woody & Buzz put Bedfordshire’s Martin and Dave to the sword, the former “playing out of his socks!” Clearly Martin did not enjoy his trip to the seaside, wearing out his sand iron in the process. The outcome of this Toy story was a 5&4 win for Sussex.
(At this juncture, two important events happened. Australia were all out for 223 and the Sussex Vice-Captain was informed that his playing partner, Nigel Powell had deserted him. A phone call regarding a catastrophic incident saw Nigel return home, leaving no time to summon a replacement).
We had now reached the 3rd match which featured Joe Angella and Immediate Past Captain Peter “Tarzipan” Ward pitched against Nick and Dave for the visitors. Things did not start well for our heroes as they went 2 down after 4 holes. After a motivational word from Pete, Joe got his a**e in gear and started to produce the goods, enabling them to reach the turn 1 up – Pete’s contribution a net birdie on the 8th – SI One. They continued to keep the pressure on, and Bedfordshire finally succumbed 4&2.
So, we come to game 4 that had Bedfordshire’s Vice-Captain Mike Davies and partner Syd Pniewski only opposed by his opposite number. At first, Keith made light of his situation going 2 up but, the concession of 3 and 7 shots respectively took its toll. One down at the turn, he levelled again only for Bedfordshire to finally pull away to record a 4&2 victory.
The match following fared even worse as Bedfordshire’s Martin and Barry found their form from the off, leaving Des Malcolm and Dave Harmer trailing in their wake. Matters hardly improved when Des’s magnificent shot to the 11th green was played with Keith’s ball from the 12th! They were ultimately defeated 7&5 at which point Des started playing really well…….
(England were rattling along at 142-2 at this point – surely, they couldn’t win, could they?)
In our batting order, Brian Street and Craig Millyard were selected at no 6, set against the Dave’s of Bedfordshire. The front nine was advantage Bedfordshire by 1 hole as Craig impersonated a Red Arrows display. Sussex’s own antique Brian (old and valuable) must have found carrying Craig too much, hitting the green on the long par three 15th, only to forget he had a shot and take 3 putts! Undaunted, a superb birdie by Craig at the last spared his blushes and ensured a half was registered as the result.
The contest in Match 7 between Sussex’s Alan Butcher and our Secretary Mark Terry versus Derek and Robbie for Bedfordshire ended in favour of the visitors. Their steady game kept them out of trouble which together with good use of their shots, led to a 3&2 away triumph.
Great golf was evident in the 8th game, with one player from each side playing under their handicap. Sussex were represented by Dave “Santa” Wilkins and Mark “The Special One” Dunn but Santa’s comments did not say who the Sussex player was who achieved that feat! This game perhaps unsurprisingly finished all square – a fair outcome for such a close encounter.
The pairing of Norman Beaney and Kevin Heanen appeared to be inspired as our duo prospered in the sun. They were helped by Bedfordshire’s Dave and Stuart finding 8 bunkers in 10 holes. Kevin’s remark that Stuart join the Desert Rats was probably not appreciated! It was Kevin’s long putt on the 10th that established the lead, that despite Norman reaching the SI 8th in two and losing to a net birdie. It was that man Heanen again with another long putt on the 16th that closed out the match 4&2.
The final match-up was an Alias Smith & Jones remake featuring Sussex’s John Smith and Bedfordshire’s John G Jones (another one!!). With supporting cast Richard Cowboy? Cowlard and Clive Bassindale the scene was set. In a nail-biting episode, the Sussex boys were robbed not once (16th) but twice (17th) to be gunned down by 1 hole.
FINAL RESULT: SUSSEX 5 - BEDFORDSHIRE 5
At the Clubhouse, the players all enjoyed well-earned drinks before tackling the showers, presumably installed by the Fire Brigade! The catering was up to Seaford’s high standards especially a memorable apple crumble.
Phil’s speech included the traditional thanks and he tossed in an unusual piece of advice, given to him by playing partner, Dr Jones.
Captain Chris for Bedfordshire echoed Phil’s thanks and gave the result which meant they retain the “Bedsex” Cup.
(Note; It appears only England were winners today – tough luck you Aussies!!) Thus, players from both sides took their leave, off home to follow Phil’s suggestion?