Sussex Captains v Secretaries at Highwoods

IMG 1973

Austen Moran (Highwoods) receives the Putter from Peter Ward (SGC)


A bright Autumnal day greeted the players as they assembled at Highwoods for the annual match. After a hearty breakfast, Austen (nearly 60) Moran and Mark Terry announced the pairings, to much banter and some abuse. The Secretaries and Managers (hereafter called S & M – somewhat appropriate given the beating they handed out!) were clearly up for it, having fielded a strong line-up and choosing the white tees. 

 

And so, it began…

 

First up, for the final time, was Captain Peter “Tarzipan” Ward, well supported by Mick Grimes, the Home Captain, pitted against Wardy’s long-time friend Phil Bonsall and Home Manager, Austen. The match was a close affair which nearly finished on the 15th when Austen had a 3ft putt for victory. His next one was from 2ft and the 3rd was from … Our boys won the next two as well, to be all square on the 18th tee. Sadly, they could not keep up the momentum, so the S & M’s nicked it to win 1up.

 

The second match featured the SGC’s Vice-Captain, Phil Williamson with his VC for next year, Keith Talbot. There opponents were young guns, James MacLean and Toby Anderson who’s combined ages didn’t total either of ours! Despite facing these 4 and 7 handicappers, our dynamic duo was undaunted and stayed level until James’s birdie at the 6th, a lead they doubled by the turn. Phil and Keith rallied with a par and birdie to level after 11, only to slip behind again. Keith’s net eagle on 17 brought parity once again, only for them to lose out at the last to another birdie from James, giving the S & M’s another 1up triumph.  

 

Match 3 saw Ian (H) Potter and Brian Street paired against Paul Bodle and Megan Bibby, in what proved to be a very competitive game. There was nothing in it after the front nine, but class eventually told as Megan stepped up a gear to polish off our heroes by 2&1. Apparently, Paul did feature as well at times. The excuse the Captains gave was that they were tired. Whilst understandable in Brian’s case, surely HP could have conjured up some energy from somewhere!

 

Fourth out for the Captains was the mighty Mark Terry and known associate Craig Millyard. Unfortunately, they came up against an outstanding putting display from Geoff Wise and a long-hitting masterclass from Gary Salt. It was noted that our chaps were lucky to come second – the margin of defeat 3&1 flattered them.

 

So far 4 losses from 4 games ….

 

However, the rot was stopped by that ever-reliable pair in the fifth game, namely Richard Cowlard and Tony Bauckham. They were unfazed by the big hitting reputations of Martin Yeates and Stuart McConachie, especially as the S & M team spent much time in the trees. The game turned on the 11th hole, when, despite being greenside in two, the S & M combo took six. This allowed the Captains to begin a surge that took them to a well deserved 3&2 success.

 

Sixth out for the Captains, starting at the 10th hole, was John Benoy and Andy Plowright. (Ed’s note: they must have looked like Winnie-the-Pooh and Christopher Robin walking down the fairways). In opposition, they had James Nairn and Alister Adams who played steady golf throughout the contest. Nevertheless, our venerable players put up stubborn resistance and ultimately suffered a narrow defeat by 2&1.

 

Following them in match 7 was Harold Knight and his carer David “Santa” Wilkins.

S & M fielded Jacqui Packham and the inimitable Lawrence Dennis-Smither so the scene was set for an epic battle. However, after a fast start by Jacqui and Lawrence, Harold received “a stiff talking to” from Dave. (Ed’s note: Due to their poor handwriting it could have said “talking to a stiff” or something far ruder, not sure?) Anyway, this did the trick, and our gruesome twosome extracted their respective digits and powered through to a tremendous 6&5 victory.

 

Next up in 8th was that solid pair of Joe “Loss” Angella and Richard “Jay-Z” Jays matched against Alan Davey and Peter Walters for S & M. The scant information about the game probably indicates it was a tight contest at least until one of the S & M’s chipped in. This did not impress our musical combo who then succumbed to a 3&2 defeat – enough said.

 

The Captains fared better in match 9 which saw those old stagers Ian Wood and Alan Butcher outfox their opponents, Lee Andrews and Elaine Purton. They described the game as very competitive and a close match – interesting as they won 4&3! Very understated and gentlemanly as always. Spies tell me they both played well to contribute to the win.

 

The final contest featured Andy Lamb and Ian “Jags” Jaggard against Stephen Blake and Colin Grant, the latter being a former Highwoods Captain, called in as a last-minute replacement. I can do no better that to reproduce (most of) Jags’s words on the game.

“Before play, Andy asked me whether I had brought my “A” game. I replied I had a game but more likely “Z”. Past Highwoods Captain Colin (turncoat) and Stephen, (the Worthing birdie king) were on fire and went 5 up after 11 holes. Andy led a one-man comeback and finally went down only 2&1. Jags major contribution was to walk 18 holes.” 

What Jags omitted to mention was his trolley took off on its own, making it to another fairway. Colin was in hot pursuit, despite a medical condition, whilst Jags nonchalantly continued his merry way. He is a class act!

 

Thus, the overall Match result was Sussex Captains 3 Secretaries and Managers 7

 

All players eventually made it to the bar where the excellent spirit of this fixture was evident for all to see. Highwoods had done us proud with a course in superb condition and did likewise with the catering. The meal was capped off with Austen treating everyone to the wine to celebrate his forthcoming big 60 birthday. That left the Captains with a much smaller debt for the wine than expected – thank you Austen for the kind gesture. Captain Peter did his usual round of thanks and then presented the trophy to Austen (for this year only!). We will seek revenge at Worthing in 2019.

 

 

Keith Talbot

     © Sussex Golf Captains 2019