Until the15th June It had not been a particularly good year for the men in club competitions. Both teams had been knocked out if the first round of the Gordon Forster Bowl. David Hatch and Magnus Robinson went out of the Daily Mail Foursomes on the toss of a coin. Jez Warren's Surrey Fives "B" Team lost narrowly away to Rusper. Les Patterson's John Ling Trophy team were beaten by both Camberley Heath and (in the Plate Competition) by the idiosyncratically-named Twisted Stone Golf Club. (No relation to you-know-who.) Chris Bye and Bob Young had fought hard to get through to the third round of the Kelso Hamilton Bowl, beating Mitcham and Surbiton along the way, but lost at home on the seventeenth to Surbiton's 2nd team. And in the Annodator UK Golf Classic (a successor to the Daily Mail Competition) Chris Wilson's "B" team were trounced 5-0 by Sundridge Park.
But then came the 15th, 16th and 17th of June.....Let us relish these three days...
On Friday 15th, at London Scottish Golf Club, Captain Chris Wilson led the team to a magnificent victory in the annual Silver Jubilee Competition, beating the Scottish by two points, and Wimbledon Park, Mitcham, and Royal Wimbledon by plenty. Congratulations to Chris & Martin Finn, Steve Murray & Phil Hales and Neil Herbert & Tony Hands-Heart - this latter combo scoring a magnificent 48 points, the best in the competition.
On the Saturday Martin Finn led the "A" team to a terrific victory over Sunridge Park's other Annodator team, thus securing a measure of revenge for the B-team defeat. At the half-way point things didn't look too promising. Neil Herbert and Adam Clemo had handsome leads (which they retained) but Wil House, Magnus Robinson and Martin were all 3 down. So when I returned to the Clubhouse - our Fourball having let all five groups through - (great scheduling!) I was not surprised to hear that the result finished 3-2. "Hard luck!" I said to Martin. "No, no - we WON 3-2!" he replied. The Webmaster's son had snatched victory from the jaws of defeat - how could I ever have doubted him?
Wil also featured the following day, Sunday 17th June, once more helping the club to a narrow 3-2 victory, this time in Martin's Surrey Fives "A" team, away to Surrey Downs. Wil (deputising for Neil Herbert) Chris Wilson and the ageless Denis Lenihan were the three players who brought home the proverbial bacon. In their first-round match against Dulwich and Sydenham they had also had a splendid away victory against Dulwich and Sydenham, Martin, Neil, Denis and Chris all having handsome victories. Hopefully there's a home draw for them next?
And not to be left out of the celebrations, on the Saturday of the Annodator win, Steve Murray & Gordon House - that's me - reached the Quarter-Final stage of the Kelso-Hamilton Bowl with a nail-biting victory on our 18th hole against an exuberantly-tattooed team from Surrey National. If I'm absolutely honest - and it pains me to write this - the credit for the victory is almost entirely Steve's. But then my constant refrain of "Sorry Steve - it's over to you on this one" did wonders for my partner's powers of concentration and resilience, so I happily share the credit for this satisfying victory.
Will the Gents ever have such a thrilling three days again?