The end of June saw the undefeated Sussex Golf Captains make a rare journey into the west of the county, as we took on London Captains at Cowdray Park.
John Nugent, the London Captain, has been playing in Captain’s fixtures for several years. It’s fair to say that he has made some good friends amongst the Sussex Captains. He had good reason to feel confident following London’s recent success at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee event. Unsurprisingly, he turned up in a boisterous and bullish mood. Joe’s attempts to dent his confidence by filling up with beer before the off, sadly, failed.
On the drive to Cowdray Park there were some sharp showers and glorious sunshine, and it looked as though it was going to be a ‘four seasons in a day’ affair. Nevertheless, the mood between the undefeated Sussex boys, playing on home turf, was confident.
Due to a technical oversight, we had neglected to invite the Cowdray Captain to join in the match. Brian Street stepped in as the Home Club representative, welcoming us to Cowdray Park. Once his ‘short’ speech was out of the way, we tucked into a splendid buffet lunch; hearty sandwiches and loads of chips. Nice.
Following a quick look at the weather forecast, we were off.
Joe Angella and Andy Lamb took on the London Captain, John Nugent, and Plymouth Argyle supporter, Nigel Williams. Sadly, Joe played the worst game of golf he has played all year, not contributing to the scorecard until the 16th, and as John gleefully pointed out, that was for a half. Andy played out of his skin, John played better than he had in years, and Nigel was Mr Steady, using his shots to his advantage. It was only due to Andy’s heroics that the game lasted as long as it did. John’s putting on 17, for an outrageous birdie, was the I on the C for London. John beamed with joy as we shook hands on 17. Sussex Lost 2&1.
Ian Potter (VC) and Richard Jays were up against John Godwin (VC) and Dick McDaniel. This is a precursor to when Ian and John face each other as captains next year. The London Lads got off to a slow start, going five down after 7 (good work Sussex, what happened next? Ed). At this stage, Ian and Richard were playing well, and the match looked all but won 5 up with 7 to play. However, the Londoners were not done; they fought back strongly before Sussex won 2 up on the last! (Phew! Ed)
Brian Street and Keith Talbot against Alan Burrows and Gordon Tindale. The Sussex boys found themselves up against Alan ‘too many hills’ Burrows and Gordon ‘where’s my ball’ Tindale. Despite losing the first hole, Sussex bounced back to lead two up at halfway. Alan continued to need a respirator (even downhill!), and Gordon did well on the flat one. Gradually, the two left-handers prevailed, and, with Brian making the most of his local knowledge, they ran out easy winners. They skipped the last two holes to get a beer and avoid the rain. Sussex won 4&3.
Richard Cowlard and Ron Adams were up against Rod Staples and Kevin Tye. What can you say about a most enjoyable game played on a great course? (that it is a most enjoyable game, played on a great course? Ed) Rod played really well, whilst his partner Kevin forgot his change of clothes, and unfortunately missed the meal. (I’m sure neither myself nor John would have mentioned it. Ed). In the end, the match was halved.
Rasoul Shahilow and Craig Millyard faced up to David Stiff and Mark Roberts. Craig and Ras dovetailed nicely through the front nine and led three up at the turn. However, the London lads staged a great fightback on the back nine. The game was played in great spirit. The Sussex pair won 1 up.
Terry Vanhinsbergh (Mr Consistent) and Mickey Grimes (Better ball specialist) gave a golfing lesson to Irvine Walker and Henri Henriques. Modestly, Terry writes, “Some unusually decent driving from Terry and some sublime chipping from Mickey led to the Sussex pair being 6 up after 7”. The game was a more relaxed affair after this, eventually leading to a comfortable win for Sussex. The Sussex pair shot a gross 69, not that they want to brag about it. Sussex won 6&5 (Nice to see someone hold on to a lead. Ed).
Phil Manser and Ian Wood played David Morrison and Craig Randall. Phil and Ian got an early lead and managed to stay ahead in a competitive game. It was played in the best sporting spirit, with no ‘gimmies’ outside 6 inches. All in all, a grand game and a superb course with good blokes. Sussex won 3&1
Peter Ward (Tarzipan) and Phil Williamson (Returning Hero) v Michael Shilling and Steve Goldie. Peter complained incessantly about the 13 shots Sussex had to give Steve from Strawberry Hill. This included shots on par 3’s. He then complained that he had to give 14 years to Keith. Sussex lost narrowly. It was good fun (Eh? See above. Ed). Phil was delighted to be back. Sussex Lost 3&2.
Tim Ingram and Ivan Parnell played C K Lee and John Huggins. CK is a pure golfer. The score went from 3 up to 3 down, 2 up, 2 down, in out and shake it all about (Nurse, he’s out of bed again. Ed) The up and downs beat the Sussex pair. Ivan is looking forward to dinner (Is he allowed to drive in this condition? Ed). Sussex Lost 3&2.
Keith Hayward and Peter Brookshaw led out Paul Herting and Peter Jones. The opponents were called Peter and Paul, did this make me Mary? Says the match report. (I think they’ve been drinking! Ed). Sussex went two down very quickly, but they rallied and won multiple holes on the bounce to win with a flattering result. (That’s more like it. Ed) Sussex won 6&4
Result: Sussex beat London by 6½ - 3½
In your face John…
Apart from Joe’s golf, this was another memorable day in the golfing calendar. The weather largely held fair, with only the odd shower at the end of the day. The course was in great nick, the views were stunning, and our visitors enjoyed themselves. Cowdray Park were great hosts, with lovely food and plenty of it. Special mention to the pre-lunch chips, and who doesn’t love sticky toffee pud?
And, best of all, Sussex remains undefeated.
What more can you ask for?