Followers of the fortunes of Sussex Golf Captains will be aware that we are still unbeaten. Many causes have been cited, including Phil Williamson’s brilliant team selection and Joe’s inspired pairings, but the cognoscenti know that it is because Sussex Captains are the best of the best.
Traditionally, Oxfordshire likes to field strong teams, so this match was likely to be a hotly contested affair.
20 of our stoutest Yeomen headed off to Brighton to play around at the Dyke. One of Sussex’s finest downland courses, with a breezy wind, the conditions were going to be challenging. Fortunately, apart from a shower as we teed off, the day remained dry.
(Shut up and get on with it! Ed)
Joe Angella and Ken ‘One more club’ Penfold took on the Oxfordshire Vice Captain, Keith Henley and Bill ‘The Bandit’ Major. Even though Joe reached the opening hole, a Par 5, in two, Sussex still lost the hole to a 150-yard chip that finished hole adjacent and with Bill’s shot meant Joe needed an eagle for a half. Things continued in the same vein for the next five holes, with Sussex reaching the seventh tee six down. Shades of ‘How much is that doggy?’ loomed on the horizon, but Sussex rallied, and although they ultimately lost, it was a more respectable 4&3. Joe was heard to ask if next time, Oxfordshire wouldn’t mind sending their Captain instead. Lost 4&3.
Match virgin Niall Addison and Keith Hayward squared up to David Haddock and Alan Gray. In a match report noted for its brevity, Niall commented that it was a ‘Great Match on the first tee, but it was all downhill after that. They chipped and putted better than us.’ Still, it was a great game. Lost 4&3
Resident cartoonist, Peter Brookshaw, partnered past Dyke Captain John Forster against Peter Walton and Kevin Heanan (Yes, that one). Unfortunately, an Oxfordshire man went down with COVID at very short notice, and Kevin offered to step in at the last minute. Having seen Kevin play, Joe was only too happy for him to play for Oxfordshire. This was a game of two nines, Sussex going one down after nine before Sussex woke up and Peter winning four holes on the trot, holding on for a 3&2 win to the Brighton pair. Peter and John would like to thank Kevin for standing in and making a game of it.
The late Brian Hooker joined Dave Balfour to take on Ray Shaw and John Rees. As always, the opposition was great company, and this was a great match with a start of three birdies and an eagle, although it went downhill after that! Won 5&4.
Playing off a plus handicap and giving lots of shots, Craig Millyard partnered serial winner Terry Vanhinsbergh against Hans Menzel and Craig Breeze. The professionals got off to a great start and were too strong for Hans and Craig, dovetailing their great form in a 3-up lead at the turn thanks to Terry’s three birdies on the trot. Sussex ran out 6&5 winners. Oxfordshire was gracious in defeat; a grand time was had by the winners, who were a joy to watch. Won 6&5.
Harvey Terry joined downland course specialist Dave Kemp against Chris Spearing and Terry Killick. This was a great game. Sussex, despite Dave’s downland experience, Sussex managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Harvey and Dave were one up at 14 when Terry chipped in for a birdie. This inspired Oxfordshire, who ran out 2&1 winners. Lost 2&1.
Our vice-Captain, Ian Potter, injured his back the day before the match; fortunately, Mitch Clark stepped in to join Tony Bauckham against Ian Pozniak and Michael Rothery. Oxfordshire struggled in the wind and on the perfect greens, but the home side managed to cope better than they did. Mike and Ian obviously preferred the Home Counties to the Coast. Sussex was five up with six to play, lost two but regained the initiative to close the match on the 14th with a three. Won 5&4.
Norman Beaney and Andy Plowright took on Ian Allison and Graham Robertson. The Sussex pair describes the start of the match as ‘Blown to buggery down the first, but this was the only time we were behind’(Oooh Matron. Ed). Norman was a killer through the middle of the round, getting up and down four times in a row. Oxfordshire took it in good spirit, and a birdie on the 14th, followed by a par on the 15, closed the match out. Won 5&3
Alan Butcher and John Macauley played Glynn Hall and Ray Davies. This was a great match. The Oxfordshire pair managed to square a half on the 18th by sinking a 10-foot putt. The weather played a big part, but half was fair. (Not that Alan was bitter about it, he was still going on about it two hours later. Ed) Half.
Alan Coole and Richard Bevan, last, but by no means least, battled against Tim Nunneley and Frank Brazier. “This was a very enjoyable game, with terrific company”, said the winners. The funniest episode was watching Alan running 40 yards after his trolley, which he had forgotten to turn off – hilarious!! (It was kind of Richard to help Alan out. Ed ) Won 5&4
The result was a 6½ to 3½ win to Sussex. We remain undefeated.
Well done to everyone who took part in what was a memorable day. The weather was a big factor, the wind on a downland course can make life tricky, and this was always going to play into Sussex’s hands. As usual, the company was great, and the spirit of Captains carried on.
Keith, their Vice-Captain, was so impressed with the course he is planning to organise a tour to Brighton to play The Dyke. I’d like to echo his kind words by thanking everyone at the Dyke for making the day go so well.
A food update, we had a very nice dinner. For dessert, we were served fruit crumble in teacups, which was ideal but credit goes to the kitchen for bringing out gravy boats full of custard; this was a nice touch.
On to Cowdray Park, where we will take on John Nugent and the London Boys.