The Goldthorpe Salver
Champeen Charles Webb
Runner-up Chris Broadbent
Goat Peter Butler
Best 1st Round Mark Wilcox*
Best 2nd Round Chris Durrans
Nearest Pin 1st Round Charles Webb
Nearest Pin 2nd Round John Drake
Longest Drive 1st Round Mike Webb
Longest Drive 2nd Round Charles Kaye
Lost Ball Sweep John Drake (50)
Champion Sweep Mike Webb
Goat Sweep Andrew Sugden
* Excluding CP Webb, who'd won enough already
An almost faultless display of golf in trying conditions by Champion Charles Webb, and an unexpected and heartening appearance by Tim Sugden were the undoubted highlights of the 2007 Goldthorpe Salver.
For the first time for several years we had to contend with less than perfect golfing weather; the wind on Thursday was perhaps the strongest we’ve ever encountered at Silloth, and rain was sweeping across the course at the start of the first round of the Salver on Friday morning. Not surprisingly the Stableford scores were much lower than usual, with only Charles and Mark Wilcox breaking 30 in both rounds.
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
A team of four – Mike Webb & Charlie Kaye v John Shires and Chris Sampson - played at Windermere GC on Wednesday afternoon.
With Kaye benefitting from a generous handicap allowance (he played off 24, even though he has an official handicap at Woodsome of 18), the match was closely contested, with never more than one hole in it. Eventually honours were shared when Shires holed a 15 foot putt to halve the match on the 18th.
The golf was followed by dinner at the Pheasant at Bassenthwaite, where the quartet was joined by Silloth Supremo Mark Nicholson.
Though there’s no doubting the quality of the food at the Pheasant, it’s not ideal that the only option there is a full three course meal, and those who now regularly play at Windermere on the Wednesday afternoon are now considering an alternative venue for dinner.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
Those who’d stayed overnight at the Golf Hotel were joined on Thursday morning by Mark Wilcox, and the six split up into two threeballs – ex-Blues at St David’s v ex-Reds (with Sampson an honorary Red). The Blues (Shires, Webb and Kaye) maintained a tradition of sporting supremacy established almost half a century earlier with a comprehensive Stableford victory.
At lunch Chris Durrans, Rupert Shires, John Liddiment and Peter Butler arrived to make a total of 10 players for the afternoon round. After much discussion about what format to play, during which several bizarre suggestions by Wilcox were rejected out of hand, teams were split according to age, with Durrans, Shires R, Nicholson, Wilcox and Shires J. representing youth, taking on an old gits side containing Liddiment, Butler, Kaye, Sampson & Webb M.
Both Thursday rounds were notable for the extremely strong westerly wind that made scoring on the outward nine difficult; even when it moderated slightly in the afternoon, most players were still taking a full five iron – or more – for the tee shot on the 120 yard 9th.
In those conditions, Wilcox’s score of 30 Stableford points was a creditable performance, and helped the youth team to a 20 point winning margin over the gimmers.
Final score: Youth 126 (Wilcox 30; Shires J 29; Shires R 25; Nicholson 24; Durrans 19). Experience 106 (Sampson 27; Webb M 26; Liddiment 21; Kaye 20; Butler 12.)
Despite his own abject display, Durrans was later presented with a magnificent trophy which, whatever the format and teams, from now on will be awarded to Thursday afternoon’s winning team.
Andrew Sugden and Charles Webb arrived at the hotel in time for dinner, but Thursday night was chiefly notable for the appearance of Tim Sugden – showing little evidence of his recent serious illness. Though he wasn’t able to play, he was fit enough to walk the course, and – after more bizarre alternative suggestions from Wilcox had again been turned down - to help John Liddiment run the book.
Friday, September 21, 2007
While the rest of the party managed to get through breakfast in spite of Mike Webb’s garish pink outfit, John Drake was driving to Silloth after attending the Lightcliffe GC Centenary Dinner the previous night – a display of dedication which was sadly to go unrewarded.
Persistent rain was falling as the
first threeball set off, and continued until around the turn, but at least the wind – though still brisk – had eased up.
Even so, scoring in the first round was poor, with only three players breaking 30 points: Wilcox maintained his consistency with 32; Charles Webb went round in a gross 74 for 36; while Broadbent showed that there might be some substance to his pre-tournament boast that he’d retain the Salver, with 37 points to lead at half way.
Further down the field it was incredibly tight, with ten players within four points; even Mark Nick – bringing up the rear after 18 holes – was only two points adrift.
Tim Sugden had walked the course throughout the morning, with at least one competitor complaining that it was the sight of his light blue underpants hanging through an enormous rip in the seat of his trousers that had been responsible for his poor round.
While Suggy retired to the hotel for a change of attire after lunch, several more competitors came up with lame excuses to explain their disappointing second round displays.
Bunty blamed a lacklustre 27 points on his electric trolley grinding to a halt - apparently Wilcox had been entrusted with the task of recharging the battery, which might explain everything. And Butler said his palty second round tally was down to him letting a
twoball through; he claimed he’d stiffened up during the enforced rest.
Others – fortified by lunchtime alcohol – started the second round well, only to fall away badly later in the round when the effects wore off.
In the end, it all added up to a comprehensive six point victory for Charles Webb, with Bunty 2nd, Wilcox 3rd and Durrans – thanks to a second round 36 – leapfrogging the field to finish 4th.
Meanwhile the title of Goat has never been so closely contested. With just a handful of holes to play, at least half a dozen players were convinced they were doomed to Goatdom. It was only when the cards were counted in the clubhouse that a beatific smile passed across Mark Nick’s face as he realised he’d escaped ignominy. Steve Sutcliffe’s mantle passed instead to Butler.
After several double gins – this year’s drink of choice - presentations were made as usual at dinner, though not before Wilcox had been reeled in hook, line and sinker by a Bunty-inspired practical joke. His reaction when Mark Nick read out a letter from hotel boss Fausto Privatali demanding £55 to steam clean soft furnishings tainted by cigarette smoke in his room, will long remain in the memory of all who witnessed it - as will his face when it was revealed that the letter was a spoof.
After the presentations, there was a brief discussion about plans for the 30th anniversary of the competition in 2011, with general agreement that another trip abroad would be appropriate (though not to the Isle of Man, Iceland or even France, if Durrans has anything to do with it).
All in all, despite the absence of Sutty (and consequently the Goat Tie) and Mike Dyson, Silloth 2007 again fully lived up to expectations. The golf – with one or two exceptions – may have been average, and the weather not as good as usual, but that’s not why we go year after year.
Our thanks – as always - to Fausto and (a very trim) Christine for putting up with us, and to Mark for his hard work in organising another thoroughly enjoyable Goldthorpe Salver.
PLAYER BY PLAYER RANKINGS
WEBB C.P. – 36 + 34 = 70 1st
Fully justified his tag as favourite by romping to a six point win, though undoubtedly helped by not having his game blown to bits by Thursday’s gales. Good of him to bring the high handicap golf balls too.
BROADBENT – 37 + 27 = 64 2nd
Boasted of second consecutive title, but challenge stuttered along with his Wilcox-sabotaged electric trolley. Nevertheless, second place was a creditable performance after recent shoulder surgery. His Wilcox smoking sting is already Silloth folklore.
DURRANS – 26 + 36 = 62 3rd
Impressive second round lifted him up to third. In fact, improved in every round – but needed to after a woeful 19 point performance for the youth team on Thursday afternoon.
WILCOX – 32 + 31 = 63 4th
Fourth place well above even his own expectations, but that only scratches the surface. Tales of his car, clothes and shoes already the stuff of legend, not to mention being hauled in hook, line & sinker by Bunty.
WEBB M.F. – 28 + 28 = 56 =5th
Consistent scores, but flattered to deceive. Highlight of trip – recounting his occupation of trap 1 with Sugden W.A. next door.
SUGDEN W.A. – 28 + 28 = 56 =5th
Well worth him missing London Fashion Week as 5th place was his highest finish since winning a decade ago. But have we seen the last of those trousers?
LIDDIMENT – 28 + 26 = 54 7th
Another consistent display, but forget the golf – his main achievement was a £40 profit on the book.
SHIRES J.J. – 25 + 26 = 51 8th
Abysmal, abject, useless & utterly incompetent were only a few of the adjectives used as he wittered his way round. Still, trip not entirely wasted as he discovered the healing powers of ibuprofen.
SHIRES R.J. – 26 + 24 = 50 9th
Worked hard to cast off his “Ladyship” tag by booming two drives up the first fairway, and will be disappointed with a modest finish.
SAMPSON – 26 + 23 = 49 10th
Tournament to forget as far as golf was concerned, but still doing his bit to resurrect the popularity of the centre parting.
DRAKE – 26 + 22 = 48 11th
Sterling effort to arrive on time on Friday following the Lightcliffe Centenary Dinner, but left his putter in his car - and it went downhill from there.
NICHOLSON – 23 + 24 = 47 12th
Another hard-working all-round effort from the Supremo, whose magic moment was realising he’d avoided goatdom.
KAYE – 27 + 19 = 46 13th
Welcome return for newly-retired captain of industry, but five rounds in three days took their toll. Biggest mistake – playing too well in the first two, scuppering plans to play off an unrealistic handicap. Will we ever see the like of his veteran bats again?
BUTLER – 26 + 19 = 45 14th
Easy to sympathise with another of the walking wounded – until he came up with the lame excuse that his second round disintegration was down to letting a two ball through. Still, the Goat tie will suit him.
SUGDEN T.C. – Appearance on Thursday night gave everyone a lift. Also good to see he remains a champion of sartorial elegance – soon everyone will have light blue cecks hanging out of ripped trousers.