Sussex v Oxfordshire at Mid Sussex


Overcast weather greeted the players as they assembled at Mid Sussex for the match against Oxfordshire. They brought a strong team, clearly still smarting from the defeat Sussex inflicted on them last year. A diet ploughman’s lunch was followed by the usual introductions, Captain Peter adding his own random descriptions of the Sussex team. Match nine however, consisted of just Keith Talbot as Tony Bauckham was nowhere to be seen. Rumours abounded – had he

a)     Been kidnapped by Oxfordshire in the mistaken belief he is a good player

b)    Gone to Oxfordshire, having mis-read DH’s email

c)     Suffered from the effects of early onset senility


And so, it began…


As of right, Captain Peter Ward led the way, ably assisted by home Past Captain Chris Spencer, against Oxfordshire’s C-in-C Pete Walton and his partner David Hole. Apparently, despite Chris’s local knowledge, the Sussex duo could not match Mr Hole’s distance and accuracy, typified by the fact that he drove through the green on the par 4 sixteenth! It was there that handshakes signified a 3&2 victory for Oxfordshire.


 Match 2 saw the President Neil Smith teamed up with ‘Mr Reliable’ Nigel Wates against Oxfordshire’s President and his low handicap colleague, Danny. This game proved to be a real ding-dong battle with never more than one hole in it either way. Eventually, it was Neil who sealed a 1up home success, following a net birdie on the 17th with a par on 18th. -Truly remarkable!


The third game had Ian Wood together with Dave Kemp, involved in a close encounter with their Oxfordshire opponents. The result was balanced on a knife edge as Sussex started the 18th 1 up but a spirited, (recorded as fluky) win by the visitors, meant they finished all square.


The same outcome was recorded in match 4, as the Vice-Captains of both sides battled it out. Phil Williamson, who described his partner (Harold Knight)’s contribution as modest, nevertheless fought hard to hold off Chris (Mr Grumpy) Spearing, his opposite number. Apparently, Chris played magnificently, thus setting up an interesting return fixture next year.


 In the 5th match, the Pompey pairing of the Big Easy, Dave Balfour and the ageless Reg Auchterlonie looked a formidable pairing, but appearances can be deceptive!

Three down after 3, they held on despite a barrage of birdies from their lower handicapped opponents, but it was all to no avail, as our heroes finally succumbed 3&2.


The 6th game witnessed a massacre of epic proportions. Things didn’t look too bad after Bryan Fairbrass had halved the first but then he, and associate Ian ‘Harry’ Potter raced to 8 down in the next 9 holes! It should be pointed out that Alan Gray, off 10 handicap, was level par gross at this juncture. Ian then conjured up a golf game to ensure that a ‘dog’s licence’ was avoided but it still meant a 6&5 loss for Sussex.


Seventh up was Alan Butcher and Mike Sandford taking on the wonderfully named Theo Ziffo and Keith Henley. Theo proved to be an inspirational 84-year-old, claiming two net eagles on the back nine, which together with great support from Keith, meant another victory for Oxfordshire, 3&1 was recorded. Our chaps had been level at the turn, but clearly Theo’s greater fitness……...


Next up was Peter Snook and Mike Davis playing an Oxfordshire pair off similar handicaps. What should have been a close contest turned out to be anything but, as the Sussex pair were outclassed and perished 6&5. Apparently, Mick and Bill were great company – they probably were as they were showered with gifts!


The beginning of the ninth game did not start well as the lonesome Keith Talbot, still wondering where the elusive Tony Bauckham was, hit 2 balls OOB. Even making amends on the 2nd was not without controversy, as his second shot arrived on the green whilst Peter and Mike were still putting! The inevitable result started to play out notably as Roger Davies birdied the 9th to put Oxfordshire 3up at the turn. This rapidly became 5, though a late rally saw the deficit finally reduced to a 4&2 victory for the visitors. (note; does Roger playing 5 times a week make him a pro-golfer?)


The final match was another close affair with Chris Adamson and John Oliver narrowly losing 1 down, this after they had lost the first three holes. Oxfordshire’s 22 handicapper John Edwards played amazing golf, subsequently claiming that ‘he doesn’t normally play that well’. That sounds familiar…...


The result of all this was a resounding win for Oxfordshire by 8-2, thus revenging last year’s defeat at Henley. Then followed one of Mid Sussex’s excellent carveries and the Captain’s speeches, which reflected their different perspectives on the day.

The Oxfordshire Captain said several times how much they enjoyed it and Peter told a joke.


As we all wended our weary way home, still the mystery of the lesser spotted Tony Bauckham remained unsolved……


Keith Talbot


PS – It appears the answer to the question regarding Tony was ‘C’. However, unlike Tony, the report-writer has a long memory!!

     © Sussex Golf Captains 2019