Champeen Rupert Shires
Runner-up Chris Broadbent
Goat Mark Nicholson
Best 1st Round Charles Kaye*
Tim Sugden Tankard Mike Webb
Best 2nd Round Mike Webb
Nearest Pin 1st Round John Drake
Nearest Pin 2nd Round Chris Sampson
Longest Drive 1st Round Mike Webb
Longest Drive 2nd Round Chris Durrans
Lost Ball Sweep Steve Sutcliffe
Champion Sweep John Drake
Goat Sweep John Liddiment
* Excluding Champion
The 2009 Goldthorpe Salver will be remembered for magnificent weather, arguably the most hideous rough since the event's been held at Silloth, and an unexpected but worthy winner in Rupert Shires.
Wednesday, September 9
After trying out Windermere and Keswick in previous years, an advance party of five - Webb, Shires J, Butler, Sampson and Nicholson - opted for change, and the general consensus was that in Penrith Golf Club, we've finally found the ideal spot for the pre-Silloth warm-up. It's friendly, well-established, and plenty long enough, and despite recent rain, it was in remarkably good condition.
What's more, as it's situated mainly on a plateau above the town, it has superb views of the Lake District to the west.
Rather than splitting into an unsociable threeball and twoball - and after consulting a bemused pro - we devised a method by which all five of us could play together.
This involved the first three to tee off playing as individuals, while the other two played one ball as a foursome pairing, with the order changing on each hole. If that sounds complicated, you can be assured that it's not as complicated as trying to work out a scoring system.
Suffice it to say that no one could fathom out whether there was an outright winner - a state of affairs that wasn't helped by Shires and Webb possibly (or maybe not) playing each other's balls on the 18th.
Although there were some reservations about the menu (none of us having a particular yearning for beetroot risotto), the feeling was that it's probably worth returning next year.
Later that night we arrived at Silloth in a state of high excitement at the prospect of seeing first hand the new alterations at the Golf Hotel. Some things never change though: the first person we met was Fausto, enjoying a nightcap in the newly refurbished bar.
Thursday, September 10
With Wilcox and the Judge arriving at the hotel the previous night, and Duck turning up at the golf club in good time for a 9.30 start, nine of us teed off on Thursday morning. Even Wilcox realised that the best bet was to split up into threeballs, which were duly selected at random (see picture).
Despite uninterrupted sunshine and hardly any wind at all, the teams enjoyed (or endured) wildly differing fortunes, with Webb, Thomas and Butler taking the money
Scores: 1: 82 points - Webb (34), Thomas (32) & Butler (21); 2: 74 points - Bunty (31), Drake (36), Nicholson (20); 3: 64 points - Wilcox (27), Shires (24), Sampson (22).
At lunchtime Butler left to attend various weddings, while Kaye, Durrans, WAS, Liddy, The Beast and Sooty all arrived, making a total of 14 golfers available for the afternoon's entertainment.
Given that there were few credible aternatives, teams were split up again into Youth and Experience, with The Beast and Sugden WA appointed captains and given the honour of playing against each other at the head of the field.
It will come as no surprise that Rupert (pictured with the magnificent solid silver trophy) won that particular battle, and all but one of the Youth pairings - Wilcox and Nicholson, naturally - followed his example.
Scores (Youth first): Shires RJ beat Sugden WA 4 & 3; Durrans C & Broadbent C beat Sutcliffe S and Drake JN 4 & 3; Wilcox ML & Nicholson RMB lost to Webb MF & Sampson CV 1 hole; Shires JJ and Thomas RM beat Kaye CM & Liddiment J 3 & 1. Final Score: Youth 3 Old Gimmers 1.
During post-round drinks in the Golf Club bar, Sooty happily announced that, as luck would have it, he'd spotted a beer festival on the prom in front of the hotel, and he and several fellow competitors decided to begin their preparations for the following day's Salver by paying it a visit. Given that it cost £7 to get in, and a band was playing loud thumping music, several of the more sensible members of the party elected not to join them.
When everyone reconvened in the re-decorated bar, it was quickly noticed that following criticism on the website last September, Bunty & Wilcox had been shamed into wearing ties - leaving Liddy and Charlie Kaye as the only men underdressed this year.
With our traditional dining room now incorporated into the bar, the hotel's new management thankfully agreed to give us exclusive use of the new dining area - a gesture welcomed both by us and no doubt by the hotel's other residents.
Silloth Beer Festival
Once sweeps and draws were completed - no nasty surprises for Webby this year - Liddy opened the book, with Webb, Drake and the Judge installed as early favourites. While one or two returned to the beer festival to make the most of their £7, Wilcox tried unsuccessfully to contact Charlie Webb in London, where he was poncing about at the Proms in the Park, to see if he wanted to place a bet. Sadly little Charlsie seemed to have turned his phone off - probably a
good decision in view of events the following day.
Friday, September 11
Although several members of the party woke up on Friday morning feeling a little the worse for wear, all eventually rose for breakfast, and Wilcox - who by his own admission was one of the worst sufferers - commendably insisted on maintaining his tradition of ordering kippers.
An hour later the first three ball teed off in more bright sunshine, eager to make the most of the benign conditions, and no doubt confident of taking the course to the cleaners. Alas, for Andrew Sugden, any such confidence was misplaced, as he predictably knobbed his tee shot into deep rough scarcely ten yards away.
He wasn't the only one to discover that, as a result of an extremely wet July and August, the rough and the heather was just about the deepest that we've encountered in 19 years of visiting Silloth.
You only had to be a couple of feet off the straight and narrow to find yourself with an almost unplayable lie - if, that is, you could find your ball in the first place. It's no surprise that in the two rounds, a total of 100 balls were lost by the 14 competitors.
Considering the conditions, therefore, it was truly astonishing that the Beast should take the front nine apart to rack up an extraordinary 26 points by the turn. Although he couldn't maintain the same momentum on the back nine, Rupert was still a comfortable halfway leader with 39 points - four ahead of Duck.
As the second round progressed Drake fell away, the Beast began to stutter, and Charlie Kaye - five points adrift at lunch - emerged not only as the closest challenger but a likely winner. In fact standing on the 16th tee, Kaye was actually one point ahead, whereupon he announced to his playing partners that he thought Rupert deserved to win, and what's more he had no intention of allowing Wilcox - who'd wagered £2 on him at 12-1 - of winning anything.
It can't be proved that Charlie deliberately made a complete arse of the last three holes, but what can't be disputed is that he failed to register another point.
It left Rupert a three point winner from the consistent Bunty, the highlight of whose second round was holing his second shot to hole 2 from 80 yards, with Kaye third (65) and Webb - who had the best second round to take the Tim Sugden Trophy - once again fourth (64).
The race for Goat was effectively over at lunch. There was no way back for El Supremo after a first round which saw him only just creep into double figures, and his suggestion at the presentation dinner that the absent Butler should in fact be awarded the prize on the basis that he hadn't got any points at all, was clearly the raving of a desperate man.
By way of consolation, as well as the Goat Tie, Mark also awarded himself a splendid new trophy (pictured below).
Following the presentations there was much discussion of what we should do to mark the 30th anniversary of the Goldthorpe Salver in 2011, and surprisingly it didn't take long to reach a consensus. Sambo's suggestion that we return to Silloth as usual, while also holding a separate 18 hole event at Fixby - open to all who knew Phil or who've ever played in the tournament - met with universal approval.
The truth is that we could go anywhere in the world, but it would be hard to imagine that we could better what we experience year after year at Silloth.
Thanks once again to Jo and her staff at the Golf Hotel, to the Silloth-on-Solway Golf Club, and to all the regulars who once again made it two (or three) days to remember.
PLAYER BY PLAYER RANKINGS
1. Rupert Shires 39 + 30 = 69 - Clearly a complete bandit. Improbable winner of the longest drive last year, and now he scores 26 points on the front nine in the morning! The only factor preventing his disqualification is that for the rest of the day he was just as useless as the rest of us.
2. Chris Broadbent 33 + 33 = 66 - Mr Consistency, but so he should be as he plays every day. His second shot to the 2nd hole in the afternoon was a candidate for this year's Champagne Moment. At least he wore socks this year.
3. Charlie Kaye 35 + 30 = 65 - With three holes to play he had the Salver within his grasp. What happened next is the subject of a stewards' inquiry. Did he deliberately throw off, or is he just sh*te? On balance, probably just sh*te.
4. Mike Webb 31 + 33 = 64 - Disappointed to have fulfilled his expectations by finishing fourth again, but he did win the Tim Sugden Tankard for the best second round. Would Suggy have approved? You must be joking!
5. John Shires 33 + 26 = 59 - Game affected by thermals at Penrith (ask Webb), and never recovered. Broken leg on the 7th didn't help either. Snored loudly (according to Webb).
6. Roger Thomas 31 + 27 = 58 - In contention at half way, but second round confirms the suspicion that abstinence from alcohol doesn't necessarily make you a better golfer.
7. John Drake 34 + 23 = 57 - In desperate need of a brain transplant. For such a talented player his second round quite frankly beggared belief.
8. Chris Durrans 27 + 28 = 55 - No second round charge this year. As usual, talked a good game - in fact talked a lot.
9. Chris Sampson 23 + 29 = 52 - Uncharacteristically limp performance from one of the bookies' perennial ante-post favourites.
10. Mark Wilcox 23 + 27 = 50 - As always, looked the part. Spotted some nice wild flowers, so it was worth the journey.
11. John Liddiment 22 + 26 = 48 - Made a profit again on the book, so who cares what his golf was like.
12. Sugden WA 25 + 20 = 45 - Tee shot on the 1st wins this year's Champagne Moment, especially as he had the bottle to try and find it.
13. Steve Sutcliffe 22 + 21 = 43 - Title challenge possibly derailed by the proximity of the Silloth Beer Festival. Magic moment? Asking the waitress for Sherry Trifle....without the trifle.
14. Mark Nicholson 10 + 20 = 30 - Just think, if we'd have played it over four rounds and he doubled his score every time, he'd probably have won! Instead he's the Goat again, and the proud recipient of a beautiful new trophy.
Peter Butler - Nothing in his performance over two rounds at Penrith on Wednesday and Silloth on Thursday morning suggested that he would have been in contention had he lasted the course.
Frank Whiteley - I just wish he wouldn't sit on the fence.