In the middle of a heatwave, we were off to Crowborough Beacon to face Cambridgeshire Captains. They were at the end of their annual tour, having spent the previous three days golfing and drinking. One may be forgiven for thinking this would be an easy return to winning ways.
Phil Williamson had selected a strong team, and for the first time this year, Joe felt confident. So much so that he was already preparing his victory lap around the dining room.
Sitting on the balcony, with stunning views, warm sunshine and a cool drink, it was difficult to imagine a better place to play golf. Crowborough Beacon is one of the best courses in Sussex. Apart from the first, there are no easy holes, and our course knowledge should have given Sussex a huge advantage (Get on with it. Ed).
Joe Angella and Ken ‘Two clubs’ Penfold were paired with the Cambridgeshire Captain, Mark Jones and Andrew Fisher. This was a great game. Our opponents loved the course and were mesmerised by the views. Mark’s game varied between the brilliant and the not-so-good, while Andrew was Mr Consistent. Although Ken still needed to take two clubs more, today, he putted like a Golfing God. This, coupled with Joe’s return to form, meant we won 3&2. Mark and Andy were a pleasure to play with.
Terry Vanhinsbergh and Alan Butcher gave three shots to Geoff Link and Alan Wood. Some solid golf saw Sussex go 3 Up at the turn (Surely you’d expect nothing less from these two? Ed), and it should have been 5 Up, but then the horrors began. Terry showed off his full range of shots; duck hooks, tops, slices, three putts and air shots. Even Alan managed to play the wrong ball at 14! Sussex lost 5 of the next eight holes (Noooo! Ed). Oh well, at least the company was good. Lost 2&1.
Andy ‘The Banker’ Lamb and Rasoul Shahilow took on the Cambridgeshire Secretary, Stuart Watson and David Steer. The term ‘landing in the shite and coming up smelling of roses’ sums it up. We played ‘bloody well’ (Are you sure? Ed) but were undone by the handicap system. A good game, though. (Not to take issue with your report, but if you played ‘bloody well’ and lost 3&1 at Crowborough, it does suggest that your opponents played very well indeed. Just saying. Ed)
Paul Warley and Andy Plowright faced Ray Smith and Mike Price. Another great day with Sussex Captains (I don’t like where this is going. Ed) It was great to meet and play against “Stumpy and Pricey”. We tried our hardest, but we lost on the last. (Thought so. Ed) Lost 1 Down. (It sounds like a good match; maybe you could have written about it…Try giving the readers a bit of detail, build some tension and excitement etc. Ed)
Phil Manser and Eric Hardwick took on John Fuller and Steve Lang. The match report says Phil played rubbish and scored over 100 (It’s not cricket. Ed). It was not our day, but we kept smiling. While Eric played well, drove and putted ‘good’. Should have got two more putts, and Sussex had a chance of half on 18 but ultimately lost 2 Down.
Mitch ‘Super-sub’ Clark and Mickey ‘The Banker’ Grimes v Steve Kane and Mike Robinson. Great to play with little Mick! It stopped the losing run. The Cambridgeshire pair were tough to beat, and we struggled to shake them off. It was a game of bad bounces and shaved holes. Won 2&1.
Peter Snook and Peter Brookshaw against David Francis and Ian Sheppard. Ian and David were good company and a pleasure to play with. Sussex got off to a steady start, going 5 Up early on (That’s more like it. Ed). However, the Cambridgeshire boys pegged us back before we won 3&2.
Peter ‘Tarzipan’ Ward and Mike ‘Rambo’ Rham engaged in an epic struggle against Tony Leigh and Trevor Clifton. Tony and Trevor played to their strengths, and Sussex did not. It was great fun and a very enjoyable day. Our superheroes lost 4&3.
Result Sussex 3 – Cambridgeshire 5
Overall, a disappointing result. On a home course where local knowledge is a great help, and with a strong team, against a bunch of lads who have been on a three-day party in a heatwave, I can’t help but feel we should have won.
Most people who play Crowborough Beacon will say what a good course it is, but there are always one or two who will disagree. This is ok, we don’t all like the same thing. Therefore, it was a surprise when one of our Captain’s said, “I ‘kin hate it here, I never play well around this course.” (Why did he put his name down? Ed).
As for the course, it was in great condition. Given the heat we’ve had, the ball didn’t fly around as much as expected. The greens had some grass on them, and were pitchable, and they rolled true. As usual, the views were spectacular. This course is always a good test of golf, and today was no exception and I loved it.
Beer update, 2 hand pumps; Harvey’s Best and TEA from Hogs Back Brewery. One to divide the ale drinkers, but good to see a bar supporting a craft brewery.
Food Update. Crowborough took on new caterers at the start of the year, and this was our first visit since then. The buffet Ploughman’s Lunch was excellent. Two kinds of cheese, pate, bread, a range of salads and lots and lots of chips. It’s best described as ‘substantial’, an important quality in a Captains lunch.
The two-course dinner was a nice chicken dish with seasonal veg followed by a Summer Pudding. I have to say the Summer Pudding was delicious. Apparently, their pastry chef is award-winning; I can believe it. This bodes well for Patron’s Day on the 23rd of August.
Our thanks also go to Amanda, who upgraded the red wine to a smooth and delicious Rioja.
In summary, another brilliant day with Sussex Golf Captains. Although our last two results have been less than optimal, we have had a great time. Long may it continue.