It is with a heavy heart that I prepare this match report. There is no way to sugar-coat the bad news; this was not a good result for the stout yeomen of Sussex.
One doesn't like to cast aspersions, but Kent decided to take us to Walmer and Kingsdown Golf Club, thereby ensuring that Sussex had many hours of travelling. Located in Northern France, this cliff-top track is a rolling downland course on top of the chalk cliffs with stunning views over the channel to Calais and Dunkirk.
Notwithstanding the long journey down tiny country lanes and through leafy villages, it is a beautiful spot to play golf. Although greeting the Kent Captain with a hearty handshake and the cry of "Dr Livingstone, I presume!" was going a tad too far.
Joe Angella and Ivan Parnell took on Lynn Mercer (Captain) and Jim Herron (Captain of Walmer and Kingsdown). Jim was justifiably proud of his course and keen to inform us that he has played 12 days on the bounce. You'd think this would have diminished his enthusiasm, and he'd be 'over-golfed'; sadly, this was not the case. Lynn, always the gentleman, did his best to keep the match balanced. The game was close and keenly fought, but local knowledge and a generous shot allowance tipped the scales in Kent's favour. We Lost 2 Down.
Ian Potter (Vice Captain) and Colin Prior faced David Skinner (Vice Captain) and Lee Brockwell. The Battle of the Vice Captains! Ian says this is a "lovely course with great views" (I think this has been established. Ed). Colin and Ian came across a great pair (Ohh Matron!. Ed), both of whom were great company. Sussex never had the lead but kept it to 1 or 2 down until 15, when they went three down before a lucky putt finished them off on 16. Lost 4 & 2.
Mark Terry (Ex-Sec) and Andy Plowright were up against Peter Morris (Secretary) and John Johnson. A match that Andy provisionally named after an episode of Game of Thrones, the "Battle of the B's". Our lads enjoyed the views. It was hard work giving shots on bouncy blind holes. Still, the perseverance and tolerance of St Ignatius of Loyola (I see Andy is continuing in his campaign to get the most obscure reference into the match reports, well done! Ed) got Sussex to two down with three to play and another shot to give. Mighty Mark and the Duke parred the last to square the match. Half.
Kevin Heanen and Richard Cowlard were up against Tony Davis and Mike Stephens. Even with Kevin's 19 shots, Kent made too many birdies to cope with. Kent's better ball score was gross level par. The views were incredible; perhaps we should have concentrated more on the game! (Yes. Ed) Lost 3&2.
Peter Snook and Simon Watts challenged Paul Roberts and Allan Payne. The opposition's two net eagles on the first and second set up the match. The golf was excellent, and the company was great. In the end, we lost a close game on the eighteenth. It was a super day. Lost 1 Down.
Ronni Schrevel (top golfer) and Mitch Clark (top bloke) played Tony Hawks (Not that one) and Simon Worton (I've got nothing for this one). It was a storming start; we were six up after six (That's more like it. Ed). Proper banter kicked in, hence losing a couple of holes, but we got them back, and it was solid banter for the rest of the match. Great course! Won 6&5
Richard Bevan and Tony Head vied with Nigel Digweed and Graham Sutherland. It was a most enjoyable match, which we played in great spirit. However, there were too many shots for Sussex to give away; and Graham (25) played very well. Lost 2&1.
Ian Jaggard (Non-PC) and Bryan Fairbrass (PC) felt the force of Roger Cruttenden (PC) and Harry Dunk (PC). Evening All! We had a great match that went down to the last putt on the eighteenth. Sussex missed theirs, and Kent didn't. The four-ball had a combined age of 306 (and a score of 480. Ed). The competition was fierce; Sussex were three down after 9; despite a valiant fightback, Sussex couldn't get away with a half. The company was excellent. Lost 1 Down. (Surely this was a candidate for Andy Plowright's soubriquet? Ed.)
Andy Lamb and Mickey Grimes fought the good fight against Richard Lamb (Yes, he is Andy's brother. Ed) and Craig Hendleman. The brothers' grudge match ended with the elder Lamb of Sussex being victorious, with great help from Little Mick. With both teams playing fantastic golf and better ball scores of 51 to 49, it shows how close and competitive the match was. The victory was revenge for the loss at Scene Valley. Sussex Won 2&1. (Surely this was a candidate for Andy Plowright's soubriquet? Ed (The secret of good comedy is knowing when to stop. Mrs Ed))
Brian Street and Sussex's unluckiest Captain, Ian Wood, faced Brian's old foe, William Albery and his partner, David Alldread. We played this match in good spirits, with lots of humour. Unfortunately, Kent failed to understand that they should be graceful in victory to their visitors. Kent won 4&2, holing long putts on six greens in the process. Not even Woody's new shoes (£70) could save the day. Lost 4&2.
Result; Kent 7 ½, Sussex 2 ½.
There you have it, comfortably our worst defeat of the season.
Despite the result, we had a brilliant day. As you have noted from the match reports, this is a cracking course with stunning views. The scores were good, and the matches were close, but things did not go our way. Kent Captains are very genial hosts, and Lynn, their Captain, is a real gentleman.
Because of the distance, seven of us stayed in a nearby hostel, and after the meal, we headed into town. Thanks to Mr Google, we ended up at The White Horse. Apparently, this pub is the third best in the country. Not sure about that, but it is brilliant. The staff were excellent, the building had a pleasing atmosphere, and the beer was top draw. Perfectly stored and served, the Timothy Taylor's Landlord was sublime. We drank and chatted a lot, before bundling into a taxi and raiding the onsite vending machine. It was a lovely end to a great day.