The opening week of June saw Sussex Golf Captains make the long trek to John O’Gaunt (JoG). Located somewhere in the vicinity of Biggleswade, this is one of Bedfordshire’s premier courses.
There are two courses at JoG; one rolling parkland and the other heathland on a sandy base. We had the pleasure of the heathland course. Insert nice words here.
Regular readers of the match reports are familiar with our appreciation of the food and drink on offer. Our writers are keen to highlight any particular points of interest. At JoG they provided complimentary t&c and served it with an endlessly refilled plate of biscuits. I particularly enjoyed the chocolate digestive, jammy dodger and bourbon cream (Plurals, surely? Ed)…nice.
It is also worth mentioning that they had four real ales on, yes FOUR!
Having sorted out the formalities, greeted Dave Hawkins (Beds Captain) and Clive Bassindale (Manager and JoG member), calculated handicaps, received a maths lesson from Phil Williamson and stuffed ourselves with sandwiches and chips, it was on with the game.
Joe Angella and Ray Crane were up against Dave Hawkins (Captain) and Clive Bassindale (JoG). I have to say that Dave and Clive were fantastic company, and once we got over the ‘Brexit’ issue on the first hole, we got on like a house on fire. We were outplayed, and Clive’s local knowledge proved invaluable to the home team. Joe let the side down massively when he got a sudden attack of the shanks! The course was in great nick, we loved it. Lost 6&5.
Andy Plowright and Brian Street faced Chris Foster (Sec) and Steve Witney, neither of whom came from JoG. Having been assured that if I moved Brian up the running order, his game would improve, I did so. Let’s see what they had to say about the game. “The lucky swine from St Neots (almost a palindrome of a course) one for the etymologists." (Has been taking his meds? Ed). Steve found the middle of the fairway from tops, thins, and even the depths of the trees. His lovely partner, Chris (Can confirm Chris is lovely. Ed) beat us soundly on the back nine with a curly six-footer on the 17th. Lost 2&1
Peter Ward and Phil Williamson v John Preston and Colin Smith (JoG). After losing the first hole, Peter and Phil blended well, finishing the round level par. John and Colin fought back strongly, but a run of steady pars from the Sussex boys finished the job on the 15th. Peter never complained once, and there were only two shots given. Won 4&3
Des Malcolm and Peter Brookshaw faced Graham Bushell (JoG) and Roy Roddy (JoG). This match started slowly. Even though we won the first hole, we were still in control when we were three down (?). Des had several words in Peter’s ear when he missed a bunker. Our playing partners were happy to lose 2&1 after being dormie 4. Won 2&1
Mitch Clark and Stuart Wallace took on Mark Newland and Antonio Mattia. This was a great match, played with great banter. Our mistake was not stepping on Tony’s putter on the first hole! The 16th sealed our fate! Putter cold! Oppo Hot! Partner lovely! Lost 2&1
Ian Potter and Simon Watts against David Price (JoG) David McGarry. Sussex were off to a strong start as Bedford looked on in admiration (Modest. Ed). The game tightened up on the back nine before Ian used his shot to close it out. Great opponents, great company; we look forward to the return match. Won 3&2.
David Balfour and Richard Jays against Richard Aubigne (JoG) and Michael Shaw. This was a great match played with a lot of humour. The game's highlight was the last group, which featured Richard Aubigne’s wife. He spent the whole match watching Andy ‘The Romeo’ Lamb chat her up! Lost 2&1
Andy ‘Lover Boy’ Lamb and Roland ‘Gooseberry’ Heath walked out with Pauline Aubigne (JoG) and Grant Brook. This was a great match, with never more than one hole in it. Pauline got 42 points and a date with Andy, while Grant managed a respectable 40 points. Sussex were up against it, but their fighting spirit ensured that the match finished in a half.
Result Bedfordshire 4½ – Sussex 3½
Sadly, this was our first defeat. Given the number of home team Captains on show, everyone, except Joe, did very well. It is disappointing to lose after travelling so far, but all records must come to an end sometime.
As for the host club, they treated us very well. We were made to feel most welcome. The course was lovely. The biscuits, the real ale and the ‘proper’ sausages all helped to make it another great day.
Note; Because of the distance involved, 6 of us stayed over in a local hotel. It was lovely to spend the evening sitting in a pub, in pleasant company, drinking beer and talking a load of old tosh. We will do this again.