Hampshire v Sussex at Meon Valley

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The sky was battleship grey and the wind a strong South Westerly, as Wardy’s Warriors arrived at Meon Valley. Southampton FC had unwisely parked their coach there presumably unaware of the antagonism this would provoke in our Pompey fans; indeed, Richard Jays had to be restrained before he could leave his own message!

Captain Peter and Hampshire Captain, Shane made the introductions noting that both sides were one man short, so it was agreed that the first match would be a two-ball.  This was then followed by a bacon roll and tea/coffee, something of a new experience for the Sussex boys instead of their usual pre-match beverages – how would they cope?


And so, it began…


Our Captain chose Joe Angella to be “Billy-no-mates” on the basis he best could represent two players. He was matched up against Brian for our hosts, which meant he was conceding 11 shots. Off they went down the opening par 5, never to be seen again by the following group. It transpired Brian had played well, making full use of his shots advantage and thus Joe suffered a 4&3 defeat.


Onto Match 2 which featured the two Captains and their sidekicks, Phil Williamson and Tony Hoskin, the latter being a former professional. However, it was to be the “Invincibles”, Peter and Phil who triumphed, playing superb golf to shoot a better ball score of level par gross! (More like the “Incredibles”). This resulted it a 7&6 win, though even that could have been better if our Captain had not lapsed into senility, one-handing a putt for another win and missing. Doh!


Third out, the President Neil Smith was accompanied by Ian (Harry) Potter against the Home side’s President Brian and the Immediate Past Captain of Meon Valley, Mark. Sadly, our old-timers could not cope with playing two days in a row, and as they wilted so did their challenge, leaving the locals to run out 4&3 victors. No magic there then!


The fourth encounter saw Lord Gerkin (aka Norman Milburn) and Dave “Santa” Wilkins bring a game to Hampshire. Sorry that should read their “A” game. Unbelievably, Sussex got off to a lightening fast start, 5 up after 5 holes and that, despite a valiant effort from their opponents, was to prove decisive. Our heroes finished with a 6&5 win to register another point for Sussex.


In Match 5 Sussex had the engine room pairing of Mark Terry and Richard Cowlard which proved to be an inspirational choice. Mark had perhaps unwisely, hit a bucket of balls on the range so took time to recover. Fortunately, Richard was having a wonderful putting day so when Mark joined the action, they were able to overcome the home pair 3&2. This was despite the underhand tactic of plying Mark with sloe gin – I wonder why they didn’t try it on Richard?


Next up was John Kinnear and Peter Rodger, as reliable a pairing as you can get. This time however they met their nemesis in Eddy Edwards and Tony Ransley, who proved too strong and defeated our “steady Eddies” by 5&3.


So, onto Match 7 where Nigel Land and Richard “Jay-Z” Jays were paired once again after their success against Wiltshire. With Hampshire’s Mike and Geoff putting up stern resistance, this proved to be a close encounter with the locals eventually holding a one-hole lead after 16 holes. At the tricky 17th, Jay-Z found the water and the contest was at an end, our dynamic duo splashing to a 2&1 defeat. Richard confirmed it was his fault, (a view supported by Nigel), blaming it on a lack of pre-match alcohol.


The eighth match found the sprightly Reg Cork teamed up with John Bigsby as they faced Gary and Tony whom Reg described as true gentlemen. Not sure how much time Reg spent in their company as, apparently, he visited most of the trees on the course. Perhaps not surprisingly then, our chaps lost by a Dog Licence (7&6 for younger readers) despite John’s best efforts. Woof woof!


In Match 9, Derek May and David Noble were pitted against Hampshire’s “B” team – Brian and Bob. Derek, who likes his food, described their performance as “they ham and egged well” which led to them dominating proceedings. B & B did provide better banter than competition which had the result that the double “D’s” recorded a substantial 6&4 success.


Last up came the anchor pairing of Nigel Powell and Keith Talbot who were also facing another pair of Hampshire’s “B” team, this time Bernard and Bill. The Sussex duo got off to a flyer, recording birdie, net birdie in the first two holes. Two more successes meant a substantial lead but back came the B’s to whittle it away. As they entered the back nine, the Sussex boys regained the initiative and eventually ran out 5&3 winners. Nigel played the long holes well and Keith the short ones perhaps reflecting their stature (in the game).


Thus, the overall Match result was a tie at 5-5. Strangely, the majority of matches had had decisive results, and none were halved.


The post-match formalities were executed early as we waited for the potatoes to roast.

Shane delivered his speech, touching on the drubbing they had received at Peter and Phil’s hands, then Peter announced the match result (twice) followed by the arrival of the food.


And so, fully replete, we headed for the motorway and home.


Keith Talbot

     © Sussex Golf Captains 2019