Champeen John Drake
Runner-up John Shires
Goat Mark Nicholson
Best 1st Round Mark Wilcox*
Tim Sugden Tankard Rupert Shires
Best 2nd Round Rupert Shires
Nearest Pin 1st Round Chris Broadbent
Nearest Pin 2nd Round John Drake
Longest Drive 1st Round Roger Thomas
Longest Drive 2nd Round Rupert Shires!
Lost Ball Sweep Mark Nicholson
Champion Sweep John Shires
Goat Sweep Andrew Sugden
*Played over 11 holes due to mist
For the first time since the Isle of Man in 2001, the Goldthorpe Salver was disrupted by the weather, but it made little difference to either the outcome of the tournament – class told again as John Drake won the Salver for a record sixth time – or to our enjoyment of another splendid trip to the shores of the Solway Firth.
Wednesday September 10
With Windermere unavailable because of a Ladies Open Competition, an advance party of Nicholson, Webb M., Sampson and Shires J. played at Keswick Golf Club instead. Set in magnificent Lakeland scenery, it’s a longer and more testing track than Windermere; the only drawback was that after all the recent torrential rain, it was incredibly soggy and only just playable.
Nevertheless it didn’t stop Webb and Shires taking the course – and Nicholson and Sampson - to the cleaners with a blast of six gross birdies in the first eight holes (mostly from Webb, it has to be said.) In fact Sambo and the Supremo did well to limit the margin of their eventual defeat to 4 & 3.
With the Pheasant at Bassenthwaite out of favour because no one can face the four course dinner that’s compulsory there in the evenings, refreshments were taken just a few hundred yards from the course at the Horse & Farrier at Threlkeld. The jury’s out on this pub as well - still perhaps a little too formal for our particular needs.
The quartet arrived at the Golf Hotel in Silloth to find that Bunty – who’d flown in from Portugal at lunchtime - had already checked in. In the mistaken belief that everything on the website is a spoof, and therefore refusing to believe what it had been telling him for a fortnight about the switch to Keswick, he’d turned up at Windermere astonished to find
that no one else was there. Accordingly he went to bed in a huff and refused to be roused from his pit for a nightcap when the others turned up.
Thursday September 11
Conveniently, a total of eight players made it to the first tee on Thursday morning. Wilcox and rookie Roger Thomas had arrived at around midnight via an Old Rishworthians’ golf day at Ryburn near Sowerby Bridge, and a tramp (pictured below) bearing an uncanny resemblance to Andrew Sugden made a dramatic late entrance just before the second tee time, after getting held up in the Wigton rush hour.
The morning’s Stableford competition – played in a stiff breeze but sunny weather - involved a team made up of members of the Craven Gentlemen Cricket Club (Webb, Shires, Sugden & Thomas) against the rest (Wilcox, the Supremo, Sambo and Bunty.)
Morning result: CGs (81 pts) beat The Rest (80 pts) by 1 pt.
As usual, much head scratching accompanied discussions over the format for the afternoon, by which time Butler, Liddiment, Drake, Sooty, Durrans and Rupert had all arrived via lunch at the Pheasant.
Eventually, once realisation dawned that the party comprised an equal number of Woodsome and non-Woodsome members, Wilcox and Bunty were appointed team captains and selected their pairings for a Ryder Cup-style challenge.
The two captains went out first in a singles shoot-out, and no one was surprised – least of all Wilcox – by the fact that he was the only Woodsome man to lose as Huddersfield’s premier golf club took the magnificent silver trophy.
However his own personal performance didn’t prevent him taking the piss unmercifully out of the opposition for the rest of the evening.
Afternoon result (Woodsome names first): Wilcox lost to Broadbent 2 & 1; Butler & Durrans beat Shires R. & Thomas 1 up; Shires J. & Nicholson gave Drake and Sugden WA a good arseholing 5 & 4; Liddiment & Sampson spanked Webb M. & Sutcliffe 3 & 2. Overall, Woodsome gave The Rest an unmerciful shagging by 3 points to 1.
As usual Butler, Liddiment, Bunty – and this year Wilcox - flouted convention by appearing tie-less for dinner at the Golf Hotel, the highlight of which came during the draw for the first round of the Salver.
Mike Webb had tried to persuade everyone that he was out of the running for the trophy, on the basis that he’d come too soon with his barrage of birdies at Keswick, but no one believed him - until he was paired in his morning threeball first with Sooty, and then, to huge hilarity all round, with Sugden WA.
What’s more, he was the one who picked their names out of the bucket. As a result, few were willing to wager much on Webb’s chances when Liddy opened the book, which
which had Drake and the rookie tee-total Judge as ante-post favourites.
By the way, someone should tell Bunty that although he can just about get away without a tie on the Thursday night, he should at least keep his shoes on (see picture, left). Mind you, what can you expect from a man whose scrotum resembles a well-plucked chicken.
Friday September 12
The Silloth weather’s thrown plenty at us over the last 17 years – but never the thick sea fret that cloaked the Solway Firth on Friday morning. The 14-strong Goldthorpe contingent turned up to find the course closed on health & safety grounds due to the fact that it’s traversed by several public footpaths (Brown’s namby-pamby Britain again – ed).
Unfortunately there was little we could do but wait until the mist lifted, by which time it was obvious that the morning round would have to be curtailed to allow us time to have lunch and much needed alcoholic refreshment before going out again in the afternoon.
After several cups of coffee, long discussions – and a change of plan midway through the round – play was reduced to 11 holes (1-7 & 15-18).
Astonishingly – as Frank arrived for lunch - Wilcox led a closely-bunched field with 23 points, though few were willing to bet hard currency on him remaining there for the rest of the day.
The Kirkheaton Strangler wasn’t bothered; he professed himself utterly satisfied that he’d already won a prize,
and not surprisingly fell away badly in the afternoon.
Shires J made the early running in round two, with (considering his swing and lack of ability, according to playing partner Durrans) an amazing start of five straight fours, followed by a par three to stand one under par after six with 17 points in the bag already. It couldn’t and didn’t last, and Drake – who’d started the afternoon five off the lead - was already in the clubhouse with a superb 39 points as Shires approached the last needing (though he didn’t know it at the time) a five to take the Salver.
A duffed drive put paid to that, leaving Drake the winner on countback, although your editor would prefer to point out that in retrospect it was really Duck’s magnificent birdie from an unpromising drive on the 17th that deservedly saw him home.
Mention must also be made of a splendid afternoon round of 41 points by Shires R – enough to give him the inaugural Tim Sugden Trophy for the best second round of the day. We’ve always reckoned Rupert to be a bit of a bandit, but what no one expected was that he should boom his tee shot down the 18th to win the longest drive as well. What next? Andrew Sugden the next Bond?
The Goat prize was not as closely fought in previous years. With Rupert and Sambo striding clear of danger in the afternoon, there were only two men in it – Nicholson and Sooty – and in the end El Supremo’s abject display proved yet again that although he might be a very competent organiser, he’s not great at golf.
Dinner and the presentation followed a familiar pattern, though it was an even more poignant toast to absent friends than usual that preceded Drake’s donning of the Check Jacket. Formal proceedings ended with an agreement to establish a working party to decide where we might spend the Goldthorpe Salver’s 30th anniversary (Wilcox not included).
Finally thanks must go to Jo at the Golf Hotel, deputising in the absence of Christine and Fausto, who were in Italy, and to the staff at Silloth on Solway GC. By common consent the course as a whole and the greens in particular were in better shape than ever.
PLAYER BY PLAYER REPORTS
1. John Drake (18 + 39 = 57) – Despite photographic evidence to the contrary, delighted to have won again. A deserved winner too, after a magnificent second round.
2. John Shires (21 + 36 = 57) – Needs either Nicholson’s sports psychologist or a mobile bar. Runaway leader when 1 under par after six holes in round 2, but then crumbled badly as lack of alcohol took its toll.
3. Rupert Shires (13 + 41 = 54) – The Beast confounded the critics with the longest drive in the afternoon, when 41 points also made a mockery of his woeful morning showing. Worthy winner of the inaugural Tim Sugden Trophy.
4. Mike Webb (19 + 33 = 52) – Responsible for this year’s Champagne Moment – his expression when paired with Sooty and WAS in the first round. Didn’t sleep a wink and never recovered.
5. Mark Wilcox (23 + 28 = 51) – First round leader but slumped badly after lunch. Still banging on about how the longest drive at the 18th should have been replaced by closest to the centre line on the 15th – just because he hit it straight for once.
6. John Liddiment (19 + 29 = 48) – Another triumph, as the book made £58. On the golfing front, threatened briefly in round one, but faded to mid-table mediocrity.
7. Peter Butler (17 + 31 = 48) – Considering the state of his body, happy just to get round.
8. Chris Durrans (19 + 28 = 47) – As excuses go, blaming hockey for his lack of ability is pretty lame.
9. Roger Thomas (19 + 27 = 46) – Abstinence from alcohol made the rookie one of the pre-tournament favourites, but his start to the afternoon round almost drove him back to drink.
10. Chris Sampson (12 + 32 = 42) – Another of the pre-tournament favourites, but desperate 1st round left him out of contention.
11. Chris Broadbent (19 + 25 = 44) – Last year it was his trolley packing up; this year, his arm. What’s his excuse for 2009? And where was his caddy?
12. Andrew Sugden (17 + 22 = 39) – If only he’d follow his own tips….
13. Steve Sutcliffe (15 + 18 = 33) – A triumphant return to action, simply because he turned up - and didn’t end up as Goat, or comatose.
14. Mark Nicholson (11 + 20 = 31) – Goat. Says it all. Dreadful in round one, and didn’t get any better. Says he’s given up golf until next April. Good riddance.
DNP - Richard Whiteley – As usual, couldn’t get a word out of him, but took some nice photos.