Sussex v Cambridgeshire at Willingdon

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On a warm and sunny Sussex afternoon, and after a fair amount of angst regarding who was playing with whom – and who was likely to turn up – the 2 teams set off after an excellent sandwich lunch. Mark Terry our Hon Sec had damaged his knee - falling off a barstool? –  so local hero and Patron Dave Harmer stepped in to complete the Sussex squad.  Des Malcolm – another diary expert – eventually arrived under the pseudonym of “ Dale Hill” – the name given to him by the Cambridge Captain (how do they choose these people? ).


Anyway let play commence!


Match 1 - featured the 2 Captains.  Our’s was supported by the spritely Willingdon Captain Reg Cork (87 – age not gross score), their’s by the less spritely Mike Rham.  Cambridgeshire arrived with  a team of 15, so Mike played for the opposition.  It was a close encounter played in an excellent spirit with never more than a hole advantage at anytime. With the match all square on the 18th the Captains shook hands and agreed a half.


Match 2  - witnessed “ a lovely game” –  sounds like something my Mother would say – where the home grown talent of Match Secretary Dave Harmer helped secure a 3 & 2 win for Sussex.  Dave’s 4 single puts on the trot was too much for the opposition.  Even though the Cambridge boys fought back hard, our ever reliable Nigel Wates, with Dave’s support, ensured we got home safely.  Well done boys!


Match 3 – The articulate, if diminutive, Harold Knight (how can someone so small eat so much) able supported by big boy Chris Wise started well but rather like the England football team, the evening before, wilted in the second half. Harold mentioned to me he did have one birdie but seemed unable to recall his number of bogeys!  Close match ,which we lost on the last hole – B+ for effort.,


Match 4 – equipment failure when Gordon Eaton’s hired buggy gave up the ghost on the 6th did not bode well for the rest of the game. However, when the going gets tough – the golf gets slower (I was in the 4 ball behind – with one of the Cambridge Captains who shared with us a variety of expletives to express his disappointment regarding the groups collective pace of play.)  I explained we had an elderly President in the group ahead and he should be more respectful – he called me a fibber or something like that! Anyway, President Neil Smith and Gordon stuck to their task to secure a magnificent – if surprising – win! 1 up.


Match 5 – in a word or two the VC and Richard Jays were well and truly taken to the cleaners. Our 15 & 16 handicap opponents finished level par better ball and we required several birdies to keep us halving holes.  Richard contributed several golf balls to the dog walkers of Willingdon. The VC’s burden was so heavy he gave up with backache on the 14th!  We agreed it would be a wise move to retire to the bar early.  Lost 5 & 4 – or rather stuffed!


Match 6 – a most enjoyable game which saw Bryan Fairbrass and Snooky win 5 & 4.  Their opponents started well with a par on the 1st to go one up but the Sussex boys dug deep and with some excellent golf, supporting each other well, pulled away to secure an outstanding victory.  They all decided enough was enough after the 14th and the Cambridge white flag was raised – only to be replaced by several earlier than expected pints of Harveys. Walk out into the countryside or walk in for a beer?  They all made the right choice.


Match 7 – we were very fortunate to discover that both Tony Bauckham and Ian Wood remembered to turn up for this fixture.  At least we got off to a positive start!  Thereafter it was very even over the front 9 but on this occasion our previous absentees relished their appearance and delivered a consistently successful back 9 running out 4 & 3 winners on the 15th green.  2 retired to the bar, 2 played on – an interesting match fact (as the game was over).  Never mind, all in all a good afternoon with the game played in a very good spirit.


Match 8 – Tim Ingram and Des Malcolm (eventually) delivered the final dagger into the Cambridge hearts with another win – I think 2 & 1 but by the time they came in I had savoured a few beers and my notes became somewhat confused.  It was another tight match, which could have gone either way, but a modicum of local knowledge helped the Sussex pair prevail. Having since read Des’s grovelling apology to Dave Harmer, our Match Secretary, he is clearly keen to play again.  Well done Des – or should we call you “Dale” from now onwards!



So all in all a win for Sussex 5½ to Cambridge’s 2½.  Sussex Captain Peter Ward was the grateful recipient of the Trophy and led the team to another famous victory.  Peter rightly commented on the excellent presentation of the course and the fine food and hospitality shown to everyone by the Willingdon team.




Phil Williamson

Vice Captain

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