Sussex v Buckinghamshire at Ham Manor

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As the teams arrived at Ham Manor for Sussex’s last inter-county match, the weather was threatening to put a damper on proceedings and so it proved with frequent showers in evidence.

There was, however, a warm welcome from home Captain Steve Dillamore who contrasted the conditions with those of the previous week when Sussex Captains had held there Autumn Mixed competition there. The heavy rain of the past few days had left the course a little soggy in places and preferred lies were now in operation.

Lunch was a 2-course affair - sandwiches followed by chips! Bucks Captain Peter Short arrived late as calling round to collect Trevor Murphy, he found he was out walking the dog. He had thought the match was on Thursday!

The announcement of the pairings followed with an unusual twist in that both teams included a David Balfour, though sadly they were not in direct competition.

(Ed note No longer can we sing “There’s only one David Balfour…”)


And so, it began…


Leading the way as ever was Sussex Captain Phil Williamson and the aforementioned Steve Dillamore, who was off 20. Facing this challenge were Bucks Captain Peter assisted by Roger Warren, no rabbit off 12. It proved to be a close contest with the lead changing hands several times until the home team edged ahead on the 16th. With another success on the 17th, they secured victory by 2&1. In his speech later, Peter referred to Steve’s handicap as “being of concern to them” before they teed off!


The following match saw the return of Mark “All Gold” Terry and the ever-steady Pete Rodger. (Ed note: Why does the idea of a Russian doll come to mind when you see them next to each other?) I digress. After a dodgy start, our heroes fought back to go 2 up, only to be pegged back by Buck’s excellent putting. The end result was a well merited half for both teams.


Third up was President Ian “Frog” Wood and Terry Vanhinsbergh versus Buck’s David Balfour and partner Graeme Finch. The visitors were assailed by a barrage from Woody and Tel, finding themselves 4 down after 10 holes. Undeterred, they chipped in for a birdie at the 11th only to watch Woody do likewise! (I bet that made them laugh – not!) The Sussex duo continued to press home their advantage, to achieve a notable 5&3 outcome. This match had an interesting finale as the guys played the 18th. Graeme hit a wayward drive to the left. Having located the ball, he was about to play his second shot, when an irate chap appeared. Graeme was on his lawn, having activated the burglar alarm with his trolley. Oops!


Match 4 pitched Sussex Vice-Captain Keith Talbot with John Forster, who was making his first appearance this year, against Match Manager John French and partner Steve James for Bucks. The game was an even contest over the early holes then with Bucks John playing well, they built a 2-hole lead after 7. Keith’s tee shot on the 8th looked to have pulled one back, but John again chipped close to wipe the smile off his face. Not to be denied, Sussex John won the 9th to halve the deficit before Keith produced six pars to allow the Sussex boys to triumph 4&2.  


In the fifth game, Sussex were represented by old hands Reg Auchterlonie and Andy “Tiny” Plowright, who was claiming an arm injury. It was a tight contest with neither side giving any quarter so unsurprisingly it finished all square Just as well Reg didn’t have to carry Andy who had manfully lasted the distance.


Next was a game that proved as close in the playing as the handicaps suggested. Nigel Powell and Tom Hutchinson wore the Sussex colours against Brian and Paul in the Bucks livery. Tom’s notes indicated that once the objective of staying dry wasn’t achieved, they focussed on the golf and powered to a 3&2 victory.


Sussex’s “the real” David Balfour featured in the 7th match with team-mate Simon “Smiler” Watts in a West of Sussex partnership. Countering this threat were Bucks Vice-Captain David Liston and colleague Jeremy Hilton. Our David believed he would be receiving two shots (a novelty according to him) but was disappointed to learn that he was in fact giving two! Nevertheless, he responded well and played steadily throughout the front nine. In contrast, Simon had “nobbed” his tee shot off the first 40yds – probably just to his favourite distance. That may have given Bucks a false impression, as he blitzed the back nine. Despite a brief comeback from the visitors, the Sussex chaps recorded a classy 5&3 success.


In the anchor role, were Des Malcolm and Neil Smith against Bucks Stan and Ollie (really Brian), both teams holding identical handicaps. After 5 holes, Sussex held a narrow lead but then, and here I quote Des, Neil “got off his knees”. (Ed note: Readers can draw their own conclusions) Anyway, Neil now found some form which led to the Sussex combo running out 4&3 winners.

This was not just a win – it was an M&S win!!




The post-match dinner was of an excellent standard, the conviviality around the tables evidence of a hugely enjoyable day. Captain Phil gave the usual thanks, in particular giving credit to Ham Manor’s team for the presentation of the course despite the terrible weather and service in the Clubhouse.

Bucks Captain Peter echoed Phil’s comments and took the opportunity to: -

a)     Point out his defeat was the least they had suffered

b)    Correct Sussex V/C’s persistent error of confusing next year’s venue – it is at Buckingham Golf Club NOT The Buckinghamshire. Sorry


After the mutual toasts, Bucks left on their long journey home, hopefully able to find their way off the Ham estate.


Keith Talbot















Autumn Mixed at Ham Manor 2019

Autumn Mixed Winners

Stuart & Kathy Wallace with SGC Captain, Phil Williamson

The Autumn Mixed Greensomes Competition at Ham Manor Golf Club was won by Stuart & Kathy Wallace of Worthing Golf Club with 42 points.

Second with 41 points (back 9 21) were Vice Captain, Keith Talbot with his wife Lesley from East Brighton.

Third also with 41 points were Richard Jays and Nikki Greenwood of Littlehampton (back 9 18) and fourth place went to Colin Crookes and Philippa Kinsella of Brighton & Hove with 39 points. (back 9 22)

Nearest the pins went to:

Philippa Kinsella (Brighton & Hove) 4th Hole

Jackie Lee (Pyecombe) 17th

Dave Harmer (Willingdon) 8th 

Stuart Wallace (Worthing) 13th

Thanks went to Eddie Noyce for manning the registration desk and card checking along wit Ian Jaggard who acted as starter.

Notes from The Tour 2019 by Keith Talbot


 or The Adventures of Woody and friends


Cast List


The Scouser - Phil Williamson (Captain)      

The Lawman (Lime & Water) Keith Talbot (VC)

Woody - President Ian Wood                

Tarzipan / Gusset - Peter Ward

Santa - Dave Wilkins                          

Harry Potter - Ian Potter

Silverback - Joe Angella                             

Larry the Lamb - Andy Lamb

The Sandman - Gary Hann                              

Jay-Z / Speedy - Richard Jays

Multi-colour Man - Mitch Clark                             

Peter Pan - Brian Street

The English Patient - Neil Smith                               

Big Andy - Andy Plowright

Del-boy - Derek May                             

Captain Sensible - Nigel Wates


Day 1 - Evening


·      Arrived at New Forest Lodge hotel to be greeted enthusiastically by owner Dee, who appeared to be doing everything himself

·      Several of party head straight for the pub, 100 yds up the road

·      Dee alerts V/C Keith and Harry Potter that there is a car unlocked with its boot wide open. Clubs in back and phone in front plus empty Presidential chain box.  It’s Woody’s

·      At pub, all going well until Derek appears to have wet himself. Supposedly an un-named person spilt beer on him. He retires to dry out and is not seen again. (Pictures are available)

·      Santa demonstrates how to drink continuously with only short pauses to speak. He must have a bladder the size of Lake Windermere!

·      Some fool engages Joe in a political discussion

·      Against the odds, Harry manages the kitty extremely well

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Day 2 - Morning

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·      Team rises early to wave Dee’s 2 boys off to school on their first day. Dee panicking until his wife returns from school run to help

·      Drive to Dudsbury – a pleasant trip though costly for one or two of our faster colleagues. They will be returning to Hampshire at a future date!

·      Captain announced 4 groups for Singles competition. V/C interferes and adds a team element

·      Neil spills coffee over Harry claiming it was the pillars fault, Harry’s fault or the dodgy shoulder’s fault just not his! VAR subsequently proved it was his fault.

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On the course, a trolley takes off on the 2nd hole and plunges into the water. It’s Woody’s

First tee nerves get to Jay-Z who trips over the tee block the size of a hay bale

·      The Sandman visits 14 bunkers in his round – a gritty player.

·      Larry loses 5 balls, his normal annual total, and is distraught. Join the Club!

·      Mitch wore some understated shorts and an outrageous glove.

·      Winner of the Singles It’s Woody – yes, the amphibian had 42 pts including an (fish?) eagle, net one

·      Team Winners – Tarzipan, Larry, Woody and Santa by one from the real Best team

·      The Scouser generously bought the wine at the meal but noticeably no lime!

·      Harry gets soaked again, this time by wine; this time it is his fault

·      Captain Sensible tries hard to revive Woody’s phone until Woody eats the rice remedy!

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Day 3 - Evening


·      A wallet, keys and a phone are left in the Clubhouse changing room, fortunately retrieved by Santa It’s Woody’s

·      The Sandman tries to rival Multi-colour Man’s crap dress sense

·      Larry recites the whole of “Life of Brian” verbatim

·      Chorus of the “Frog Song” serenades Woody

·      The Scouser (Captain) thanks everyone for their contribution, highlighting he hadn’t made one!

·      He also thanked Mark in his absence for the superb organisation of the tour

·      The Lawman (V/C) thanked the Captain for a great tour pointing out that he had contributed twice as many points (Still none!)

·      Unbelievably, Captain Sensible heads for home to play more golf tomorrow

·      Someone engages Joe in a political discussion

·      Someone leaves an expensive jumper in the bar It’s Woody


Day 4 - Morning


·       Breakfast and home for our now weary tourists

·       Gusset makes it back without stopping - just!




A big WELL DONE to our two health concerns, Pete and Neil. Not only did they survive the rigours of the Tour but they both won 2 matches!!!

Somerset v Sussex at Taunton & Pickeridge


Setting off on the third leg of our tour, the weather was chilly but bright for the 100 minutes journey to Taunton. It is a quirky course, full of humps and bumps but very well presented. Our hosts made us very welcome, helpfully blocking the view of England’s demise in the cricket.  

Surprisingly lunch was chips and sandwiches followed by the declaration of pairings for the battle to come.


And so, it began…


This time our Captain Phil had chosen the Vice-Captain Keith to partner him against the two Johns, the Somerset Captain and the home Captain. The latter was imperious on the par 3’s knocking them close every time. Indeed, he would have won the Visitors prize on the 6th as well as the home one later (Keith had hit a decent shot on the NTP, so Phil offered to drink the prize. Hypothetical as it turned out, as Joe A got closer – mind he wasn’t going to share it with Derek!). Despite Sussex fighting hard to stay in the match, they went 3 down after 11, then surged back with both winning holes to level after 15. However, a loss on the 16th proved costly and they finally shook hands on the 18th - 2 down.


Onto Match 2 which combined President Ian Wood with Richard Jays in a formidable team, that started promising much. A succession of early pars gave them a 1up lead after 5 holes but then Somerset hit back hard. Their relentless onslaught saw our chaps crumble to a heavy 6&5 defeat.


Next up were previous match winners Andy Plowright and Peter Ward, the latter’s health seeming to improve day by day. Thanks to Mitch for giving up his allocated buggy, Pete was able to perform well and between them, the Sussex combo romped home 2 up. A great idea to put the occasionally wayward Andy with the ever-straight Pete!


The 4th game saw the closest contest of the day. Mitch Clark, suffering from over-indulgence the night before, and Gary Hann, who this time avoided all the sand, synchronised well. Neither side would give ground to the other, ensuring a well merited half for both teams.   

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Match 5 had the mythical pairing of Harry Potter and Santa, facing a Somerset pair that included a 25 handicapper. Playing “reasonable” golf, our legends turned for home 1 up but as old age (sorry fatigue) set in, the magic disappeared. Coupled with the avalanche of shots they were giving; the inevitable outcome was a 3&2 loss.


Fortunately, next were Joe Angella and Derek May who developed a winning partnership. Both were contributing to their performance which was just as well as Joe was conceding 14 shots! Thus, a fine 3&2 success was recorded for Sussex.

Joe also won the NTP prize bottle which I would wager did not make it home.


The seventh match proved another competitive tie as Nigel Wates and the “ever-young” Brian Street fought against very tough opponents. Nothing to choose between them after 14, the Sussex duo shared three birdies in three holes to finally win on the 18th by 1up. Nigel reported that both Brian and Bob (Som) were bleeding at the finale but did not give a reason. VAR could not ascertain the reason for the injuries, so no cards were issued.


The anchor pair of Andy Lamb and Neil Smith took their opponents by surprise as Neil put them 2 up. (And us!) Andy, with his new balls, then contributed so they found themselves 5 up after 10. Somerset would not lie down and stormed back winning 3 holes to reduce the arrears. Calm as you like, Neil won another hole (I know!), before Andy closed out the game to register a 4&3 victory.

Interestingly, one of their opponents, the Somerset President commented afterwards that whilst Andy had been very chatty, Neil just kept saying “5 net 4”, Mind you, he might have been avoiding a flying Somerset club…….




The after-match gathering saw a superb meal provided by the Taunton Club and indeed, the Somerset team proved excellent hosts. In his speech, John, Captain of Somerset queried the result of the 2005 match which both sides were claiming to have won 6-2. (Ed note: Mark has subsequently confirmed that it was Somerset’s victory)

He then read out some one-liners to polite laughter before Phil provided the usual thanks to all concerned.

He then received the trophy decanter from John and once again offloaded it to the V/C.

It was then back to our base at the Premier Inn – some already looking like it wouldn’t be a late night!


Keith Talbot


Phil Somerset

Wiltshire v Sussex at Hamptworth 2019


It was an overcast day as we set off for Hamptworth GC located not far from Salisbury and an early start due to brunch being served at 11.00am. Notwithstanding, the ubiquitous chips and sandwiches were first class, followed by the announcement of the pairings for each match. Whilst Captain Phil offered comments about his team, Organiser John issued challenges and forecasts.


And so, it began…


Sussex Captain Phil had chosen the President Ian to accompany him and this looked a good decision when they both drove off well. This was a false dawn, as Wiltshire’s Captain Pat and pal John secured two birdies in the first 5 holes to put Sussex 2 down at the turn. Undeterred, and with a new plan, our chaps strode to the 10th, a steely determination in their eyes. Sadly, this did not reach their hands, so after a bout of poor chipping and putting, they succumbed 4&2. At that point, they found their form and played well - Sheffield Wednesday tend to lose in the same manner!   


Onto Match 2 which saw Richard Jays with the slowly recovering Peter Ward in tandem. With Pete off to a fast start, birdieing the first, this close encounter arrived at the 10th all square. Pete advised Richard that they would need to get back to the Clubhouse asap, so a brilliant run of 3 holes, which saw them achieve two more birdies, was enough to see them over the line. A much-relieved Pete thanked partner Richard for his support!


Third up was the inimitable Ian (Harry) Potter and tour virgin Andy (Larry) Lamb, who had a tough baptism to life on tour. His usual consistent game was in evidence as he started with 7 pars and 1 birdie, only to find he was 1 down. His passenger Harry, suddenly realised he was supposed to be contributing, so immediately won 9,10,11 and 14 to put our heroes dormy 3 up. Now coasting along admiring the scenery, they were rudely awakened by the Wilts pair who having birdied the 16th then eagled the 17th. Realizing the danger, Harry and Larry concentrated hard but still managed to “cock up” the 18th, enabling the home side to grab a half!


Following on in Match 4, Sussex had the previously un-beaten pair of Dave “Santa” Wilkins and V/C Keith Talbot. (Guess what’s coming). Keith was up against an old work colleague, Ian Armstrong who had clearly spent his retirement better as he was off 9 handicap. Indeed, Ian played the first 4 holes in one under, leaving the bemused Sussex boys in his wake. After a debate at the 9th over which flag was which, the hole was lost, resulting in 3 down. The second half saw Wiltshire’s Pete come more into the game as they extended their lead to dormy 5 up. The tough challenge became tougher as Santa, under pressure from 3 good drives already taken, stepped up to the tee. On his backswing, Ian’s trolley took off on the downhill path. The V/C’s strangulated cry of alarm caused Mr Christmas to send his shot careering off into the trees, never to be seen again. Meanwhile, like a cartoon drunk, the trolley lurched down the track, managing to tip over just before the stream. The hole was halved, and the match lost 5&4. Thereafter, Keith played par golf – to which Santa’s reaction was to keep shaking his watch; at least I think that was what he was doing………




Match 5 featured another tour virgin, Mitch Clark and his chaperone Neil Smith. Yet another fast start by the visitors evaporated away by the 11th to be at level pegging. Undaunted, our robust duo set about restoring the lead, which they did to great effect finally running? out 3&2 winners.

(Ed note: the buggy is still recovering)


Next were Joe Angella and the evergreen Brian Street about who’s match I can do no better than to quote Joe’s report. “It was a close game, we started well, they fought back, and Brian had a nice walk” The game was played in good spirit despite a couple of contentious rule debates leaving the net result as a half. Joe also mentioned Brian’s arthritis prevented him from writing the report but didn’t say how it contributed to his performance!


Seventh up was the little and large pairing of Andy Plowright and newbie Gary Hann, an inspirational selection. Facing two Wilts likely lads, they dovetailed well to record a famous 5&4 victory. Not convinced that Andy was delighted by the course though as there were a few blind tee shots – still if you couldn’t see, what about Gary…..


Bringing up the rear were established tourists Derek May and Nigel Wates. Due to the Club Captain being delayed, he appeared in this final game. That meant the intrepid Sussex pair were pitched against two Hamptworth Captains but despite this they held on until the 17th green when they finally lost 2&1. The Wilts boys had tried to ensure victory by teeing off the Ladies tee on the 17th but D and N spotted their devious ploy and quite rightly took the p**s.





Post match hospitality was of a high standard, served at 5pm. Captain Phil observed that this would be good preparation for when we all enter retirement homes!!

Wiltshire Captain Pat read out a piece about tattoos and farts, followed by our Captain’s rendition of a joke in a pseudo French accent. Suffice to say, the highlight was the trophy presentation which Sussex retained as the holders.

The Captain quickly offloaded it to the V/C to fix and retain.

We left in good spirits for the arduous journey to our accommodation about ¾ of a mile away.


Keith Talbot



     © Sussex Golf Captains 2019