Mini Tour to Wiltshire & Somerset


Sussex Golf Captains - 2017 Tour to Wiltshire and Somerset - the Diary

There will be many words in the two match reports and some of the comments may have an element of truth, but this is the definitive, totally factually correct, occasionally whimsical account of some of the activities which took place over the three days and nights - not all of them golf related. Not all events are reported, in the interests of personal protection from lawsuits or supreme embarrassment to the participants.

Our Captain Brian Street together with the ever reliable Mark Terry had ensured that every Sat Nav would be tested to the full by arranging the first days golf at North Wilts Golf Club near to Devizes and our accommodation for three nights in the middle of nowhere in a small village called Rudge. It's fair to say that not every navigational device was up to the task but it didn't help if your Jaguar acquired a puncture on the way - many jokes were repeated over the tour but Richard Jays only tired of them towards the end of the trip.

After soup and sandwiches, the promise of wet weather didn't deter the tourists but its arrival did dampen the ardour of some who gave up after 9 holes. The rest carried on and finished in watery sunshine and set off in search of the pub we were staying in. By this time Norman Milburn (how does this Sat Nav work?) had volunteered to be holder of the purse strings of which more was to be heard later. Eventually everybody made it to Rudge and prepared for the evening dinner hosted by Captain Brian. The table plan showed four names with "v" after them but it was not because the four were vegetarians just virgins on tour. Dinner was a raucous affair helped no doubt by the Captain's generous purchase of copious amounts of red wine; a few elected for white wine which was so good that Ian Potter (v) decided it was like Brut, so splashed it all over anyone near close enough to get the benefit. After dinner, announcement of pairings for the two inter county matches and a strong motivational speech from Brian, the evening continued with just a few drinks in the bar and the usual tour banter. Congratulations were given to Nigel Wates (v) for winning the individual prize in the day's golf - he was still glowing from Nevill's Cyril Blake win in which he played no small part.

The second day dawned bright and augured well for the match at Chippenham - report compiled by Phil Williamson who combined his away days with concluding some massive Executive deal to add substance to his fortune and apparently to pay for the wine on the next tour to the Wilts/Somerset area when he will be Captain. It may be mentioned elsewhere, but Derek (I've got a Jaguar too) May (v) got almost to Chippenham but had to go back and get his jacket and tie for the evening. This about turn apparently caused his Sat Nav to go into melt down. After a successful day on the golf course, changing for dinner became a challenge for one tour member and that may also be mentioned elsewhere. In truth, the author of this diary did indeed have some trouser trouble and despite many hints that the pair selected were not his - wrong colour, wrong size, new as opposed to not new, tailored as opposed to regular fit - he continued to press on and try Joe Angella's pair for size. Scarily they actually fitted and his explanation that he was only running them in for Joe was not accepted.

Return to the pub was interesting with Norman still having Sat Nav trouble and ending up at another pub a couple of miles distant. A massive spread of cheese and biscuits was laid on by the pub to soak up the beer although Derek May (v) made the acquaintance of a local brew called scrumpy which he came to love especially with the last night addition of a gin in it. Apparently it helped to loosen his body for the Riverdance routines practised in his room over the one occupied by Phil and Andy Plowright. On the last night he allegedly wore fluffy slippers to muffle the noise so that no complaints were received from those previously affected. It was then that the gathering noticed several dogs meeting apparently in search of Harold Knight who is well known for his love of canine friends. When they were told he wasn't on tour they all left with disappointed looks on their faces and tails between their legs. On the second night, the word of his absence hadn't got to every dog in the district as yet more turned up looking for fuss and attention but they too had to be disappointed. Where were you when needed Harold?

Day 3 was yet another Sat Nav challenge with roadworks and diversions causing serious directional issues for several drivers looking for Mendip Golf Club where the match against Somerset was due to be played. The author had no such problems with his simple Google App on his phone (free) directing him and the Captain to the golf club with no sign of problem. Keith Talbot(v) has no doubt written wise erudite words on the match but a comprehensive victory for Sussex caused Captain Brian to be a very happy man. After the two matches several players had secured maximum points with two victories but for the first time in living memory (not long for most of us) everyone had at least one win except for Keith who had to settle for two halves which were naturally of lime and soda. He can claim that he wasn't defeated though!

The final night back at the pub - Jags' simple and free Sat Nav ensuring he got back first - was yet another lively evening with the local beer flowing freely and the banter at the usual high standard. The low beams finally caught up with Andy Plowright, Peter Ward finally accepted that a pint of Guinness was actually alcoholic, Derek May continued his love affair with scrumpy and Joe Angella presided in his comfy chair looking like Canute turning back the tide. Several dogs left with unhappy "no Harold" faces and all agreed that the tour had been a great success mainly thanks to Captain Brian and the ever dependable Mark Terry. Mike Davis had spoiled his well earned record for lateness by not being late every day, Jerry Hibbs enthused about his bid to outdo the Arabs with his racehorses, Neil Smith relaxed after just failing to get his hole in one at Mendip, and everybody contributed to a wonderful tour. Far from a Trilby Tour, this one will forever be known as the Trouser Tour. Norman left his at Chippenham, fortunately not with the tour purse inside them and decided that he would bequeath them to anyone who found them.

Finally, the Sat Nav saga inspired me to adapt the well know limerick about the man from Devizes.

"The Sussex men had a tour near Devizes,

With Sat Navs of all different sizes,

From large to small, we saw them all

But Jags' phone was the one that got prizes

Ian Jaggard

     © Sussex Golf Captains 2019