Fair weather brings the seniors out in force and last Tuesday was no exception. Forty-three eager beavers turned up ready to challenge the course in benign conditions. Starting on the first tee in totally calm conditions they had to adjust to an increased breeze on holes seven to thirteen.
In addition to this they had to contend with the temporary green on the eighth. While the area had been marked out the unevenness of the fairway, on which it was situated, made chipping and putting out a bit of a lottery.
So how did they fare? Most played well with twenty-four out of the record forty-three scoring thirty points or more. At the other end of the scale four failed to reach twenty-one of whom one managed a two in his round, one who hadn’t played for a month and two who would have expected to do better.
The worries and concerns over the result of the Brexit Vote were pushed to the back of the mind as they all set off determined to conquer the course. The rifle-range was again occupied by sharpshooters but even they failed to affect the concentration of the sharpshooters on the fairway.
The most popular score was thirty-four points with seven members achieving that total. Adrian Palmer and Chris Sierwald headed this group and they were accompanied by Peter Hart, Phil Carpenter, an improved Jim Moffatt, Peter Hughes and Jim Martin.
Maintaining a high standard above them were Rod Clarke, Idwal David, Mick Seal and Richard Davies on thirty-five. They were out done by the consistency of Peter Williams on thirty-eight and Stan Hudson and Ross James on thirty-seven.
David Lamb lost eleven shots on last week’s score, dropping down to twenty-seven as did Geoff Aston who ended up with twenty-two. Bill Davies also failed to maintain last week’s standard ending up with twenty-eight. On the other hand Keith Hubbard increased his score by five to get him closer to his general level of thirty plus.
Peter Hughes, who claimed his putting was atrocious this week, had a side bet on with our captain and the pressure proved too much, as Derek’s thirty-eight out did him by four. Paul Hannah was heard to remark that he started on the fifteenth with a birdie and his game went downhill from there. Allen Watts was not happy with his form only managing twenty-nine this week. He claimed his putting was poor and that he almost dragged Stan down to his level.
In the top four this week Derek Cole was spurred on to better things in his desire to beat his playing partner Peter Hughes, totaling thirty-eight points. Bob Forrest, in his second week, has taken to the course, like a duck to water, adding seven points to last week’s score and taking third place with thirty-nine points.
David Henry maintained his level of play and ended up in second place with a total of forty-one points. It was not quite good enough as Des Stone rode his luck in the fair weather conditions to supersede him by one point and claim first place. This was helped by a lucky break on the seventeenth when he had to get on his knees to play his bunker shot on to the green to salvage a couple of points.
Lucky winner of the prize draw this week was Robin Hagley.
The annual grudge match between the Rabbits and ‘The Others who play on a Sunday’ was held last weekend with a mixture of emotions amongst the combatants - the fearful trepidation of Richard Morton (captain of ‘The Others’) and the hopeful anticipation of Rabbit captain Steve Watkins - both trying to get the name of their side engraved for posterity onto the shield, first contested in 1980/81, with the Rabbits achieving glory on three and a half occasions, writes Warren Hacker, our links reporter, but would there be a Rabbit addition to their list of winning captains ‘Hall of Fame’ or the addition of the ‘Others’ to their losing captains ‘Hall of Shame’?
Having some of his troops ‘otherwise engaged’ (birthday celebrations, five-a-side injury, flying to New Zealand etc - anything to avoid being beaten by the Rabbits) captain Richard called in a few reinforcements (including the runner-up in the Rabbits Duffy Cup in 1997/98! - nice to see you back on the course, Mr. Rees, even if it’s for the ‘others’!) but captain Steve was confident his nine pairs gave him a fighting chance of Shield Immortality, although in their personal battle off the first tee, the higher handicappers (Steve W and John P) had to settle for second place.
Each match (bar one) played at least 16 holes, which all goes to show what a very good job the handicap committee are doing, as all the matches were very close and settled by small margins.
Yet early results were indicating an easy day for Richard as his win over Steve W was followed by defeats for Grant W and Chris S (by 3 and 2 - but a close shave for someone) and Rees D and Adrian P (by 4 and 2), although Rabbit vice-captain Mark E, alongside last year’s captain Paul C bucked the trend with a fine 3 and 1 win.
Worry had engulfed Richard to such an extent that he had encouraged one of the ‘Others’ to organise a ‘birthday drink’ and then ‘kidnap’ several Deadly Rabbit Hot Shots and force them to go on a Saturday evening pub crawl - but his plans backfired when the two ‘Others’ who joined ‘the crawl’ both ended up losing their matches!
Eagerly awaiting the return to the clubhouse of their troops meant the captains spent anxious minutes on the patio gazing southwards and the result sheet shows that the shotgun starters on the 14th (the ‘Wheely Boys’, John B and Gareth D, triumphing 3 and 1) and 15th holes (the ‘W.C. Pair’ - Mike W and Phil C - losing two down, with the day’s lowest handicapper enjoying a three under par round whilst the ‘B Team’ - Dave B and Robin B - came out on top 3 and 2) all battled hard.
Readers will have worked out that the above information gives the ‘Others’ an advantage of 4 wins to 3.
Everything would depend on the results of the two matches that haven’t been described yet (but very naughtily artistic licence has been utilised so the order of the finishing of the matches has been re-worked to build up dramatic tension - history can be transmogrified.)
Liaising momentarily on the railway bridge before playing their final two holes were the two Rabbit pairs - both ‘T. C.’ pairings - Wyndham C and Shaun T heading to play the 18th and 1st and Steve C and Peter T on the way to play the 15th and 16th, with the former pair all-square and the latter one one up.
Unfortunately, despite winning the 18th to go one ahead, the first pair couldn’t finish the first hole with the ball they started with, to end up with a battling half.
Cruelly, the other pair halved the 15th and then parred the 16th, but lost that hole to a fine birdie, which resulted in a fair half to mean that captain Richard had been spared the ridicule from his underlings by the 5-4 scoreline.
Keeping with tradition, both sets of players devoured an after-match meal (all the Rabbits paid for theirs!) before the shield was presented to the winning (just!) captain and it was pleasing to see the clubhouse full and to hear the continued jovial ‘banter’ and maybe notice a little respect from both sides for the golfing abilities of the opposition.
Yet in 12 months it’ll all be done again (on the white course next time), so current Rabbit vice-captain Mark E will be trying to ensure that he’ll put all the pressure on his opposing vice-captain Alan W - start worrying now Alan!
THE CHICKEN TROTTERS – PHIL FILLS HIS BOOTS!
After the Cliff Edge excitement of the previous week’s tournament, on Friday, January 11, it was time for an ordinary, run of the mill 15-hole Stableford competition for an ever-increasing band of Chicken Trotters. The weather was quite remarkable for January, not too cold, not too windy - and not too ‘Sun in your eyes on the Lemf Tee’ - consequently, 22 feathered friends set out to claw a result from Tenby links.
As ever, some clawed more than others, and the distribution of corn to the pecking Trotters went like this:
In fourth place with 27 points, David Harris was overwhelmed with his 30p prize - and grateful to receive no cut to his handicap.
Third place went to Paul Davies, who used last week’s winnings for his entrance fee, then proceeded to score 27 points, win 60p and reduce his handicap by one shot to 14.
Ken Gouldsbrough, emulating a good wine and improving with age, romped into second place with a splendid 28 points, which earned him the princely sum of 90p and a punishing reduction of three shots, so that he now plays off 30 for the next couple of Trots.
In top spot - with full boots - Phil Carpenter amassed an impressive 29 points, playing off a 17 handicap, and that improved his bank balance by £1.20. This week (Friday, January 18), Phil will be playing off 12 - hands up all those who tip him for a second win? I can tell you that the last time Phil won was Friday, November 28, 2014, so consistency is hardly his middle name!
Strangely, there were no twos recorded - the kitty bag is really bulging!
Sad story time - Our beloved leader, Steve Cole, in the Sin Bin after being very narrowly beaten by Ollie in last week’s Roger and Mary competition - and playing off a ridiculously tiny handicap - just managed to beat your reporter to bottom place. He will benefit from a two-stroke increase to 14, and his token 30p prize will boost his morale (very slightly!). However, the Organgrinder seldom bags the Booby; the last time was Friday, January 22, 2016.
Statistically, the competition par was 23 Stableford points, and there were 73 ‘blobs’ - this would average roughly 3½ each if they were shared out equally - but sadly they are not! - is there no justice?
And finally, in the Booker Prize competition, our esteemed Editor Neil Dickinson is leading the field with 133 points - but - no room for complacency because Organgrinder Cole is only three points behind him, and a cluster of seasoned Trotters, including John Hancock, Meurig Jones, Bart Youll, Phil Carpenter and Seniors captain Derek Cole, are all lurking close behind, poised to pounce! The tension, Dear Reader, is almost unbearable! - I’m off to have a lie down in a darkened room.
CHICKEN TROTTERS OF YESTERYEAR
Only 28 Trotters polled up to play on January 29, 1999 -surprising, because the weather was mild and cloudy, but dry. However, quantity was augmented by quality, as the par for the round was an impressive 29 Stableford points, even the two lowest scores - 20 points - have on occasion been high enough to gain a podium position. Sadly, the rules state that in the event of a tie for bottom spot, no Booby prize will be awarded - so Billy Griffiths (23) and Spike Evans (24) were left muttering and moaning in a dark corner of the bar!
Neither muttering nor moaning, Ian Kirkby (25) and David Owens (13) both slotted their second shot on the sixth hole and were rewarded with 70p each.
In the competition proper, the Best Bunch of Birds was:
In third place, Derrick Williams (24) collected 90p and a one stroke penalty for his 29 points.
John Hancock (4), David Owen (13) and Clifton John (31) each scored an admirable 30 points to share second place, and pocketed £1.10. The three-stroke penalty was annoying for Clifton, very tedious for David - but life-threatening for John, who would be playing off one next time. Should he manage to scrape third place, he will probably be the only scratch player in Chicken Trotter history! The mind boggles!
The worthy winner was Jim Taylor (14) with an enviable 33 points. Jim won two £1 notes and suffered a savage chop of five strokes.
Next week should be very interesting…..
Elsewhere, on this day in 1838, Samuel Morse sent his first message over Radio Telegraph using a code of dots and dashes, revolutionising the clear passage of information by radio for the next 100 years.
More next week,
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