And so we move on to day two of the tour.
Yesterday, we managed an honourable half against Somerset Captains. This was followed by an enjoyable evening in the pub, where much chatting was done, and TBF, more than a few pints were sunk. As Wednesday morning came into view, the team met for a subdued and somewhat early breakfast.
Those cheeky men of Wiltshire engineered a last-minute change in tee times at Wrag Barn. We were due to meet at 11.00 a.m. for lunch, followed by a 12.00 tee-off. Now, the more astute of you will have noted that 11 o’clock is a little close to breakfast, and while Sussex Captains tend to be hungrier than a room full of hobbits, not all the lunch was eating. The two-hour drive from Somerset to Wiltshire, via a thousand roundabouts, did dampen the mood.
Matters were not improved when Ian Armstrong, the Wiltshire Captain, gleefully announced that each group contained a Wrag Barn Captain. So, how would the stout-hearted yeomen of Sussex fare against the wily knaves of Wiltshire? Read on, dear reader.
Ian Potter (Captain) and Rasoul Shahilow (Happy Chappie) gave Ian Armstrong (Captain) and Geoff Titt (President) a golfing lesson. Leading from the front, Ian and Ras had a good match against Geoff and Ian; they were ahead for most of the round, but when Sussex finally won the honour, they never got it back. The partnership worked for us, with plenty of banter on and off the course. Rasoul offered a shoulder for the Wiltshire Captain to cry on, but he flatly refused, claiming “it was too low to cry on.” Won 4&3
Joe Angella and Brian Hooker took on Mike Bowes and John Charles. We had a tough match against two good players. Mike’s home course knowledge was a huge advantage, as were the number of shots given. That said, Brian and Joe were not at the races today. The bunkers were magical, with Mike and John repeatedly going in them, only to magically discover that the ball had somehow left them and was lying nicely. Not that Joe was at all bitter about this. We did hang on from four down but eventually lost 3&1.
Peter Brookshaw and Nigel Wates were taken to the cleaners by Ash Green and Richard Hartley. Hot weather and hot golf from our opponents, together with local knowledge. We were smashed 7&5 (What did you do with the real Nigel Wates? Ed.) despite that it was great fun on a nice course. Lost 7&5 (Yes, really, we double-checked! Ed)
Brian Street and Richard Jays were up against Steve Powers and Dick Solomon. What a lovely golf course, and a warm welcome from Wrag Barn. When we eventually arrived, we had a very good match against Steve and Dickie. Unfortunately, the local knowledge led to our loss. Lost 3&1
Andy Lamb and Phil Manser entertained Rod Grinsted and Tom Heppell. This was a good match against a Wrag barn Captain. The course knowledge was telling. Thanks to Andy’s seven straight pars on the front nine, we were one up at the turn before closing the game out on the seventeenth. Won 3&1
Richard Bevan and ‘DJ’ Mitch Clark were up against Wally Bryson and Pat Blake. It was a tough game against a founder member of Wrag Barn, giving him 13 shots. Guess where his partner was from? Our game was not strong enough to compete, but we had a great time. “I am thinking of changing my game to Skittles,” said DJ Mitch. Lost 5&4.
Andy Plowright and Bryan Fairbrass (The oldest member) played Scott Talbert and Peter Russell. What a hero Bryan is! His quiet, calm Dr. Jekyll-like demeanour disappeared as he turned into Mr Hyde and murdered our unassuming opponents on 16 and 17. Won 2&1.
Mick Grimes and David Balfour played Mike Venables and Stuart Knight. This was a great game. Mickey was a little terrier; he never let go. The match was played with lots of fun and laughter. Mickey Won 3&1 and Dave wrote the match report.
There you have it; Sussex managed a draw despite a heavily stacked deck. Overall, a great result against some significant obstacles.
It is worth noting that Wrag Barn is a lovely golf course, well worth playing if you are down that way. The carvery was excellent.
Next up, the last match of the season as we take on Buckinghamshire at Littlehampton.