The Goldthorpe Salver
Champeen Charles Kaye
Runner-up Charles Webb
Goat Steve Sutcliffe
Best 1st Round Rupert Shires*
Tim Sugden Tankard Charles Kaye
Best 2nd Round John Shires**
Nearest Pin 1st Round Charles Webb
Nearest Pin 2nd Round Mike Webb
Longest Drive 1st Round Charles Webb
Longest Drive 2nd Round Chris Durrans
Lost Ball Sweep John Drake
Champion Sweep John Shires
Goat Sweep Steve Sutcliffe
* Excluding Champion
** Excluding Champion, Runner-up & Round 1 winner
The 2011 Goldthorpe Salver was something of a one man show, and for a change the man concerned wasn't Charles Webb.
Retired industrialist Charles Kaye gave notice that he was in fine form in the two rounds he played at Penrith and Silloth immediately before the competition; unfortunately the Salver Handicap Committee was negligent in its duty, and the result was the highest winning margin since the inception of the tournament. Inevitably, Charles was also the proud recipient of the Tim Sugden Trophy.
Wednesday, September 14
After 20 years even the most mathematically and geographically challenged should have worked out how long it takes to get to Cumbria, so how is it that Webb and Shires managed to arrive at Penrith Golf Club fully two and a half hours before the allotted tee time? Let's put it down to boyish enthusiasm.
In due course they were joined by Kaye, Sambo, the Supremo and Wilcox, who eschewed the sandwiches ordered by everyone else and devoured an enormous plate of pie & chips before changing into one of his many appalling golfing outfits - a pair of tartan plus twos.
For once the weather forecast was spot on; the rain had swept eastwards across the Pennines in the late morning, leaving behind only a stiff westerly breeze, which proved to be no impediment at all to 21 handicapper Kaye, who shot a nett 60 to amass 45 Stableford points which propelled his team to a comprehensive victory.
In hindsight the self-appointed handicap committee (ie: the other five) should have acted there and then. In fact they ought to have realised that Kaye meant business when he turned up on the first tee with a relatively new ball rather than his antique Penfold Commando. Unfortunately the warning signs went unheeded.
Result: Kaye (45), Wilcox (32), & Nicholson (20) beat Webb M (34), Shires J (27), & Sampson (25) by 81 points to 67.
After the usual dithering in the golf club bar, we headed for dinner in Keswick. More aimless milling around ended with Wilcox choosing Sweeney's Restaurant & Bar, where he satisfied his gargantuan appetite with a huge steak before finishing off half of Shires' pizza.
Thursday, September 15
Once again the weather forecasters got it right, and we were blessed with one of the most glorious days we've ever had at Silloth. However with Kaye and the Supremo deciding that their bodies would not be able to take 36 holes two days running, only four players teed off on Thursday morning.
No doubt it was a memorable match, but unfortunately the only recollection your correspondent has of the morning's proceedings was of Wilcox's lurid day-glo orange trousers, which made him look like a cross between a Guantanamo Bay inmate and a council dustman.
The remaining competitors arrived over lunch, amongst them the new slimline Andrew Sugden, who was keen to show off a set of new gnashers that had apparently been installed by his dentist early that morning.
Meanwhile Nicholson announced that his morning off hadn't been wasted, as he'd spent the time devising the afternoon's teams - Rabbits v Non Rabbits. On the face of it, the presence of 15 participants appeared to pose an insoluble problem, but the Supremo came
up with a neat solution to the conundrum by deciding that although he'd play, he wouldn't actually compete. No change there, then.
In any event the two teams were evenly matched and the contest ended all square. However someone had to take home the magnificent silver trophy, so a putt-off between the two team captains - Thomas (Rabbits) and Wilcox (Non-Rabbits) - was hastily arranged.
The Judge wins the putt-off
The competition began in bright evening sunshine, but by the time both men had missed eight putts of ever-decreasing lengths, the light was fading fast - along with the hopes of the spectators that they'd make it back to the hotel in time for dinner.
True to form Wilcox missed his ninth putt as well, leaving Thomas to grab the glory and victory for the pesky Rabbits by holing a four footer.
Scores (Rabbits first): Thomas beat Wilcox 1 up; Butler & Kaye beat Drake & Durrans 3&2; Liddiment & Shires R lost to Sampson & Shires J 2&1; Sugden & Sutcliffe lost to Webb C & Webb M 4&3. Rabbits 2 pts, Non-Rabbits 2 pts. Match won by the Rabbits in a sudden death putt-off.
We arrived back at the Golf Hotel to find that a table had been laid for us in the bar rather than our usual dining room, but after a few choice words from the Supremo, the natural order was restored and we were able to enjoy - if that's the right word - dinner in private.
Regular readers of the website will recall that, in rebuffing our offer to pay corkage on our own wines, the hotel had promised us that their own list contained "a wide selection of wines from around the world". There was an element of truth in this boast, but only due to the fact that while the label on one bottle of their house Sauvignon Blanc indicated that South Africa was the country of origin, another claimed that it was made in Chile.
Little wonder that there was subsequently a discussion about whether or not to move to the Golf Club for the Thursday evening dinner in 2012.
The only other matter of concern was the absence of the magnificent silver trophy which would have been presented to Roger Thomas in recognition of the Rabbits' victory earlier in the day, had Durrans bothered to bring it with him.
Further efforts were made to pull Charlie Kaye's handicap - in view of another sparkling performance in the afternoon - but again they sadly fell on deaf ears.
Friday, September 16
All week we'd been subjected to dire warnings that the weather was due to turn extremely nasty overnight, but although we awoke to grey skies, the rain thankfully hadn't yet arrived.
However a hint of moisture in the air and the threat of precipitation prompted most of the field to don full waterproofs for the morning round. At least it meant that we were spared the sight of Wilcox's latest haute couture offering.
The Supremo hands over the missing magnificent silver trophy
In the event, the rain held off until around 1230, by which time the opening fourball had made it back to the sanctuary of the clubhouse, and although those still out on the course were subjected to a brief but heavy shower, it didn't appear to upset the rhythm of the frontrunners, inevitably headed by Kaye, who came in with 41 points. Credit is also due to Rupert Shires (37), Sambo (35), and Little Charlsie (35), who began his defence of the Salver with a gross 73.
At the other end of the field, it looked like a two horse race for Goatdom between Sutcliffe (14) and Nicholson (19).
Two on-course incidents also deserve mention. Only the windmill was missing as Andrew Sugden attempted to turn the pathway in front of the tee on the 2nd into some sort of crazy golf course.
Meanwhile Mr Justice Thomas deserves a reprimand for his injudicious behaviour on one of the par 3s on the back nine, where he thrashed his club into the ground after knobbing his tee shot. A member of the green staff, who had witnessed the misdemeanour, left the scene with a sad shake of his head.
The Hogsback wins again
The rain continued over lunch, stopped in time for the Goat Party to tee off, then returned with a vengeance - but only for around 45 minutes while most of us were nearing the turn.
Nothing, though, could put Kaye off his stroke, and he romped in with 43 points to win by a record margin.
Charles Webb again came in with a gross 73 to clinch the runners-up spot, and with Sambo, the Beast and the
Judge failing to improve on their morning efforts, the next best second round performances came from Durrans and Shires J, who both managed 32. Meanwhile the dogfight over last place was in doubt until the final green, where the Supremo sank an eight foot putt to consign Sutcliffe to Goatdom.
Highlights of the dinner that followed included Charlie Kaye asking for an OAP discount before protesting that he's not really a very competitive golfer, and a champagne toast to Butler's impending nuptials.
As usual, thanks are due to Liddy, who would have made more than £7 on the book had Wilcox not piled in on Kaye (so that's why he didn't want to pull his handicap), and to the Silloth-on-Solway Golf Club. From an aesthetic point of view it's a pity the greens had been hollow tined just before our arrival, but quite frankly it didn't make much difference to our putting.
And thanks also to the Golf Hotel, who - after a few hiccups - acceded to our every request, including Wilcox's demand for porridge and kippers.
PLAYER BY PLAYER RANKINGS
1. Charles Kaye 41+ 43= 84 Bandit.
2. Charles Webb 35 + 35 = 70 Complained about the greens being hollow tined, but only has himself to blame. We would have been there the previous week but for his Party in the Park shenanigans.
3= Chris Sampson 35 + 30 = 65 Actually rather impressive.
3= Rupert Shires 37 + 28 = 65 The only man in with a shout of catching Kaye after the first round, but he blew it.
5. Roger Thomas 32 + 29 = 61 Club throwing marred an otherwise solid display.
6. John Shires 27+ 32 = 59 Yet again his performances improved consistently after some luncheon lotion.
7= Chris Durrans 25 + 32= 57 Probably as good as he could have done.
7= Mark Wilcox 27 + 30 = 57 Better at eating than golf.
9. Mike Webb 29 + 27 = 56 As usual got worse and worse over the five rounds. Not very good at all.
10. Peter Butler 27 + 25 = 52 Mind was clearly focussed elsewhere. Brains in his bollocks.
11. John Drake 27 + 21 = 48 I repeat, it's just so sad.
12. Andrew Sugden 24 + 22 = 46 Not an imposter after all. Sleeping habits gave him away.
13. John Liddiment 22 + 15 = 35 Hardly a great advertisement for the teaching prowess of John Eyre.
14. Mark Nicholson 19 + 15 = 34 Avoided Goatdom thanks to a brave putt - and that's the only thing that counts.
15. Steve Sutcliffe 14 + 19 = 33 Goat again - but we suspect he's not really all that bothered about it.
Snapper Whiteley In view of some of the performances above, he should seriously consider taking up the game again.