Sussex v Cornwall at Royal Ashdown Forest

Old Course 1-300x200

In the most beautiful of settings, Sussex entertained Cornwall at the Royal Ashdown Forest Golf Club. Founded in 1888, it is a challenging course that has no bunkers but that is more than made up for by the long stretches of heather.

The Cornish team, resplendent in their yellow and black outfits, were early arrivals so when Sussex showed up, they were raring to go. After a brief introduction from RAF past Captain Jack Furtado, the teams socialised whilst consuming the quality chips and sandwiches.


Thus replete, Captain Brian and his carefully chosen companion Jack, took on Cornwall’s Captain Brian and his V/C Ross (Oliver not Poldark). The match was evenly balanced but gradually canny Jack’s local knowledge prevailed and led to a 3&2 win for the home team. Cornish Captain Brian concluded that Jack was a “ringer” brought in to ensure our Skipper didn’t suffer another defeat.

Nevertheless, the game was played in great spirit and considerable merriment.


In the second berth was our AA team, Andy Plowright & Alan Butcher who faced a strong Cornish pairing. A tight match ensued but with superior putting the West country boys ran out 3&2 winners. I thought Andy took it well ……..


Match 3 had Sussex’s Dave “Santa” Wilkins & his elfin assistant Keith Talbot pitched against Cornwall’s Beau & Arrow (actually he was called Colin). In a close encounter, the first six holes were halved including birdies by Dave and Beau at the 3rd. Finally, at the 8th the deadlock was broken by a birdie from Dave but that lead was short-lived as it returned to all square two holes later. Keith then contributed a par 3 at the famous 11th, followed by a birdie at the 12th to put Sussex 2 up only for a Colin birdie for the visitors to halve the lead. Not to be denied, Dave restored the 2-hole lead at the 16th which our chaps held on to thus securing a 2&1 victory.


In game 4, John Pyne & Jerry Hibbs representing the Home team found themselves 3 down after 4 holes – presumably they had lunched too well! However, as the match progressed into the back nine,     J & J fought back to post a 2&1 success for Sussex. They claim it was their superior fitness that saw them through.


It is recorded that the 5th game was dogged from regular interruptions by walkers and their canine companions. It is apparently a dogging area. Is that the correct term? Nigel Evans & Tony Bauckham must have been riveting company as it appears Cornish Dave was mainly taking pictures of the scenery, however our heroes had the last laugh, achieving a 2&1 victory in a closely fought tie.


As ever, Dave Harmer selected a highly competent partner in Richard Jays to take on their opponents in match 6. Richard set off at a blistering pace with 2 pars and a birdie but ground to a halt (literally) when his trolley stopped working. Apparently, he then alternated between pushing it and lying on his back trying to repair the fault, until he succeeded in getting it going again at the 12th. In fact, just as the course goes downhill. Meanwhile, the redoubtable Dave secured a net par and birdie to put Sussex further in front. The visitors, unfazed by these shenanigans, fought back to reduce the arrears to one hole, leaving the once again mobile Richard to halve the last to ensure the 1 up result.


This match illustrated how difficult it can be, when the other team speak a different language to you. Sussex claim that when Martin Hubbard & Dave Kemp advised their opponents to “best stay left”, this was interpreted as “hit a big fade right” which led to several balls finding the heather. The inevitable conclusion to this was a 6&5 win for the home side – did they give them a real pastying?

(Note: I have yet to receive the Cornish version of events)


The final game pitted David Sinden & Terry Vanhinsbergh against a doughty pair of pirates from Cornwall. (Terry hardly mentioned how many shots they were getting). After comparing ailments on the first tee, the Cornish duo had the temerity to go one up but our anchor pairing retaliated with four gross birdies to lead substantially at half way. They continued to press home the advantage and ran out worthy winners 6&5.


As ever, all the matches were played in excellent spirit and many friendships were forged in the heat of friendly competition. After an excellent meal, Captain Brian’s few words were totally eclipsed by a more entertaining discourse from Jack who was undoubtedly the star of the day.

To beat Cornwall 7-1 is a notable achievement which will be tough to follow as they are hoping to host us at Trevose next year.

Keith Talbot

     © Sussex Golf Captains 2019