Sussex v London at Bognor Regis

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Another gloriously sunny day, as the London team arrived on the South coast to a warm welcome from Robert, the Captain of our hosts, Bognor. The course, like so many others, was baked hard but the tees and greens were in excellent condition. It was a shame the Halfway House was not open on such a hot day.

After our traditional lunch of sandwiches and chips, the introductions were made by the Captains though many of the London team were known to us as old friends. Thanks must go to local man, Simon Watts, who stepped in to cover for the injured Mark Terry.

 

And so, it began…

 

Our Captain, the evergreen Peter Ward, accompanied by home Captain Robert Holland faced some stiff competition from the opposing two Johns from London. (As an undertaker, you’d think Robert would be used to that!). Some excellent golf was played by both pairs, but the early lead established by London could not be retrieved, despite Sussex being 1 over par gross for the back nine, resulting in a 2&1 defeat for the home side.

Next on the tee were Peter Rodger and the aforementioned, Simon Watts. This was another close encounter which started as a slow burner but then sparked into life. Pete suffered a back injury in the early stages but in the tradition of “beware the injured golfer”, came good on the back nine, to edge the contest 2&1.

Third up was the “Professionals” match which featured four single figure handicap players. Our “Bodie & Doyle” were Nigel Wates and Craig Millyard, who just had the better of the “birdie bonanza” to run out 3&2 winners. They had been down in the match to the ever-chirpy John Nugent and Dave Hutchinson but had managed to turn it around.

In the 4th game, Richard Jays and Keith Talbot got off to a flying start, winning six of the first seven holes. Throughout this period, Henry and Paul never lost their sense of fun and were determined to fight their way back. After winning the 8th, they forced the Sussex duo to scramble several halves until they ran out of holes, leaving the home side victorious by 6&4.

Such was the golfing prowess displayed by Kevin Heanen in match 5, that London’s Dave and Mick assumed he was a Bognor member! The President, Neil Smith made his usual steady contribution so, despite a late rally from the visitors (including Mick driving the par 4 17th), Sussex came out on top 2&1.

Vice-Captain Phil Williamson partnered by Dave Harmer performed in match 6. They faced Jim and Tony, two larger than life characters who represented a big challenge. Nevertheless, our lightweights weighed in with a 4&3 win, at which point they retired to the bar where it is believed the London duo completely outplayed them. On the course, Dave had sunk several putts; in the bar Jim and Tony sank several pints! So, everyone enjoyed their day.

Match 7 saw Richard Cowlard in tandem with John Bigsby against a formidable London pairing of Drew and Roger. The away side gradually built up a substantial lead which our chaps could not recover, so London ran out worthy winners 4&3.

Things were much tighter in Match 8, where the Sussex pair of Malcolm Sharpe and Ian “Harry” Potter were in competition with London’s Jim and Dick. With never more than one hole in it, it looked as if the visitors would triumph when Ian drove into a ditch at the 17th. (It should be said at this juncture that Malcolm had not missed a fairway all day!). However, the Sussex spirit of “never-say-die” came to the fore and they won the last to ensure the game was halved.

The penultimate game had Chris Adamson and Tommy Pether representing Sussex against London’s John McMormack and Richard Curtis. (The writer of Blackadder perhaps?) As Chris and Tommy raced into a two-up lead after four holes, London cunningly bided their time, then launched their counter offensive. Sussex cracked under the pressure (how many 3 putts?) and finally capitulated 2&1.

The anchor pairing of Reg Auchterlonie and Mark Dunn faced stiff opposition (literally!) from David and Ken who turned the tables on Wardy’s master plan by beating our stalwarts 5&3. Reg was justifiably annoyed that his opponents’ ability to constantly hole putts meant that they had not read the script!

 

Thus, the overall result was a narrow victory for Sussex by 5½ to London’s 4½ - success for a second time in five days for our Master Baker.

Bognor’s post-match hospitality was an excellent carvery, followed by a sumptuous array of desserts. The speeches were fortunately brief, Peter’s so much so he forgot to toast our guests (and no joke) whereas John’s featured the humiliation of John Nugent for his casual attire (or should that be no-tie-re) and the celebration of someone’s birthday. Then, we toasted the London team which includes many who are friends from previous encounters. Stories and drinks flowed before we dispersed, London to their hotel; Sussex to their homes.

 

Keith Talbot

 

     © Sussex Golf Captains 2019