Sussex v Dorset at West Hove

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The sky was an ominous grey as the players gathered for the match at West Hove, the sounds of an ark under construction perhaps a clue as to what was to come. The luncheon was superb, followed by a warm welcome from Martin Emery, the home club Captain. Everyone was in good spirits, but the rain had just started….


And so, it began…


As is tradition, first off was Captain “Tarzipan” Pete Ward, paired with Martin against Nigel, Dorset’s Captain and his partner Mike. This proved to be a very competitive match with Sussex needing to chip in at the 5th to get their noses in front. With no quarter asked or given, the home Captains prevailed on the 17th green due to “great putting” by our bedraggled Peter, to record a 2&1 victory.


The rain was now falling steadily……


Match 2 was another close contest featuring Tony (The Smile) Bauckham and Mark Dunn. The battle was fought on the greens where both teams putted well despite the conditions. The Sussex’s boys made the most of their shots to record a 2&1 win over tough opponents.


It was an unusual start to the third game as Richard Cowlard cut a lone figure on the tee. Whilst waiting to tee off, he kept looking anxiously around for his partner Des Malcolm who was nowhere to be seen. After both Dorset Peters had teed off, followed by Richard, there was still no sign of Des, so off they trudged up the fairway. Finally, a jaunty Des strolled to the tee, to be informed by starter Mark Terry that his match was disappearing into the distance! Apparently, according to Richard, Des “woke up” on the back nine and together they achieved a creditable 4&2 success, so he was forgiven. Perhaps the presentation of a clock (a la Rory McIlroy in the Ryder Cup) would be in order?


The rain was now approaching biblical proportions ……….


Which brings us to match 4, featuring the annual inter-family challenge between Sussex’s Keith Talbot and his father-in-law, Dorset’s Ken Grout. Keith was partnered this year by debutant Andy Lamb and Ken by Alan Bates from Weymouth. Sussex quickly went one up only to be pegged back by the 4th but not to be denied, they edged ahead at the 7th and thus it remained at the turn. Then a storming run of birdie, birdie, net birdie and par saw them amass an unassailable lead to run out comfortable winners 6&4. Andy, a class act, is a valuable addition to the Sussex ranks; Keith, despite threats of being made to walk home, just kept smiling!


The 5th Match was a shortened affair as President Neil Smith and David Sinden actioned what most players were thinking, offering a half to the visitors and then disappearing into the nice dry, warm Clubhouse. Apparently, despite being three up after five holes, they contrived to lose the next three to be all square after eight. So, they shared the honours and no doubt a few pints as well.

No staying power in these old pensioners; still I suppose they have been busy at Chelsea…


David Schwartz and Alan Butcher in match 6 probably wished they had followed their preceding colleagues and gone in with a half. Despite their valiant efforts in the terrible conditions, they succumbed 3&2 to a redoubtable Dorset pair, which gave their team their first win of the day.


This was quickly followed by a second victory in game 7, which saw Sussex’s Mike Grindell and Norman Beaney lose despite getting 2 up early on and looking set for success. Dorset’s Geoff and Derek had other ideas and fought back well so the scene was set for the drama to unfold over the last three holes. The Sussex pairing managed three pars, but this was matched and, with their shots, bettered, for Dorset to get home 1up.  


The final encounter had a venerable look about it, as it featured for Sussex Bob (31 to 25 shots) Russell and the peerless Dave (Santa) Wilkins. It started well for the home side until, whilst Santa was looking for his ball, his trolley decided it had had enough. Off it went, eventually seeking refuge upside down in a bunker. This disaster was followed by the rain easing off, which totally confounded our intrepid duo, thereby enabling Dorset to register a 2&1 victory. 


The sum total of this soggy spectacle was a 4½ to 3½ win for Sussex, 28 saturated golfers (+ 4 dryish ones), masses of wet kit and NO HOT WATER in the showers!!!


Across the day, solid friendships had been forged despite the appalling weather. West Hove GC again did us proud with their catering and Pete kept his speech short. Nigel, in response, gave us a concise history of the Dukedom of Sussex (very topical) and then we said farewell. Sussex had again hosted a successful event, which even extended to Mike Grindell dropping Alan from Dorset off at his hotel. Thanks Mike.


And still it was raining………


Keith Talbot







     © Sussex Golf Captains 2019