The Goldthorpe Salver
Champeen Charles Kaye
Runner-up Charles Webb
Goat Mark Nicholson
Best 1st Round Roger Thomas*
Tim Sugden Tankard Charles Kaye
Best 2nd Round Bill Butterworth**
Nearest Pin 1st Round RogerThomas
Nearest Pin 2nd Round Steve Sutcliffe
Longest Drive 1st Round Charles Webb
Longest Drive 2nd Round Mark Wilcox
Lost Ball Sweep Andrew Sugden (120)
Champion Sweep Mike Webb
Goat Sweep Roger Thomas
* Excluding Champion
** Excluding Champion, Runner-up & Round 1 winner
Twelve months after destroying the field by a record margin to win his first Salver, Charlie Kaye did it again. What's more, he not only defeated the worst conditions we have probably ever endured at Silloth, but also the best efforts of the Salver's impromptu handicap committee.
Tuesday September 11, 2012
For the first time, the Goldthorpe Salver festivities extended backwards to the Tuesday. Three competitors - Mark Nicholson, Chris Sampson and John Shires - decided that having taken the week off, they might as well make the most of it.
Shires was particularly keen to have another day's golf, not only because he would be missing the Salver itself (more of that later), but also because it would get him out of clearing up after his daughter's wedding the previous weekend.
It's a pity more didn't join them, because Hexham Golf Club in Northumbria was well worth a visit. First impressions were favourable as its clubhouse is reminiscent of Fixby Hall.
The track itself is a parkland layout, and despite being extremely wet - which course wasn't this summer? - it had a number of interesting and testing holes. The only slight disappointment was naturally the weather; frequent squally showers sweeping in from the west gave a taste of what was to come for the rest of the week.
Your correspondent would like to report on the result of the match, but all three competitors appear to have suffered a bout of convenient amnesia. It's perhaps enough to say that none showed the sort of form that threatened to trouble the Salver engraver.
From Hexham it was only 33 miles along the A69 to their overnight destination - the Crown Hotel at Wetheral - with Shires spending the first 20 of those convinced that he was about to run out of petrol.
Although he eventually found a garage in the nick of time, it wasn't the only problem he was to experience on the 2012 Salver.
The Crown was something of a disappointment. We were expecting a country pub, but discovered instead a revamped hotel with conference centre, wedding venue and leisure club, and a pretty average bar. The only consolation was that the TV on the wall was showing Scotland's failure to beat Macedonia in a World Cup qualifier. If we're to repeat the trip to Hexham in 2013, alternative accommodation might be on the cards.
Wednesday September 12, 2012
While Mike Webb, Mark Wilcox, Charlie Kaye and rookie Bill Butterworth were driving from West Yorkshire to Penrith, Nicholson, Sampson and Shires spent the morning reconnoitering likely dining venues for Wednesday evening. This involved driving many miles along almost impassable country lanes in a quest that proved utterly futile, since every establishment visited was either too far away, unsuitable, inappropriate, or closed. Still, it passed the time of day.
All morning the weather had been dreadful, but at least it showed signs of relenting as we arrived for lunch at Penrith Golf Club, where Wilcox once again consumed the largest item on the menu.
On arrival, Webb's opening gambit had been to ask rhetorically where we were eating that night. "Don't tell me.... we've no f***ing idea," he answered himself, accurately as it turned out.
The rain stopped just in time for us to tee off in a Stableford competition off full handicaps. Bill Butterworth gave early notice that he was going to be a contender later in the week with 20 points on the first nine, but eventually he was pipped by Mike Webb.
Both scored 35 points, but Webb won on countback. No one else broke the 30 point mark; Kaye was clearly determined not to give the handicap committee any more ammunition by carding only 24 points, the same as Shires, who was playing with new clubs for the first time. They clearly didn't
improve his game, or his mood, as his round was punctuated by familiar bouts of self-loathing.
Scores: 1, Webb MF - 35; 2, Butterworth - 35 (Webb wins on countback); 3, Wilcox - 27; 4, Kaye - 24; 5, Shires JJ - 24; 6, Sampson - 23; 7, Nicholson - 19.
Somehow we ended up for dinner at the Royal Oak at Welton, not far off the main road between Penrith and Wigton - but not before Shires had taken a 30 mile detour via the Crown at Wetheral where he'd left his washbag earlier in the day. The Royal Oak was in the hands of relief managers, who, to say the least, seemed to be extremely alarmed by the appearance of seven hungry golfers. However, in the end they provided a perfectly serviceable meal, though not of such a standard that will have us rushing back for more.
Thursday September 13, 2012
For the first time in many years, no one arrived at Silloth either late on Wednesday night or early on Thursday morning, so it was the same septet that sat down for breakfast at the Golf Hotel at 0800 sharp. Shires was still sitting there awaiting his poached eggs at 0830, and when they finally arrived, it was obvious where they'd spent the previous 30 minutes - in the pan, being poached to the consistency of marbles.
However the mood was lightened when Kaye innocently asked Wilcox whether anyone ever came to his osteopathic treatment rooms with arthritis. "No," interjected Webb, "but they often leave with it."
With Kaye again wisely opting to sit out the morning round, the remaining six split into two teams, and played a two-to-count Stableford competition.
Conditions were so appalling, with a gale blowing in from the west accompanied by lashing horizontal rain, that the round had to be curtailed.
In fact Sampson, Nicholson and Webb headed for home after the short sixth, while the other three managed one more hole before crossing to the adjacent 15th tee from where they were blown back downwind to the sanctuary of the clubhouse.
Thursday AM, Silloth-on-Solway GC
Given that one team had played considerably more holes than the other, determining who won could have become something of a challenge. In the end, though, it was agreed that the more stoical of the two teams should be awarded the match.
Result: Butterworth, Shires J & Wilcox beat Sampson, Nicholson and Webb M by a considerable margin.
Sugden WA, Butler, Drake, Sutcliffe, Thomas, Liddiment and Shires R arrived in time for lunch, during which a man looking uncannily like Wilcox was spotted seeding divots on the first tee (pictured). In fact it couldn't have been the Kirkheaton Strangler, since he was still in the clubhouse ploughing through his customary three course meal.
Only one conclusion could be reached: the imposter had clearly stolen Wilcox's trousers.
The 14 available for the afternoon round now split up into two teams. Captains Andrew Sugden and the Supremo went mano-a-
mano at the head of the field, with the rest playing fourballs behind them. Though the showers had mercifully abated, the wind was just as strong as the morning, but it wasn't enough to blow Kaye off course. The 2011 Champion - with help from Thomas - made light of the conditions to thrash Liddiment and Rupert Shires 8&6. However, that couldn't prevent Nicholson's team claiming the magnificent solid silver trophy.
Results: Sugden WA halved with Nicholson; Sampson & Shires J lost to Butterworth & Butler 4&3; Drake & Sutcliffe lost to Webb M & Wilcox 1 hole; Kaye & Thomas beat Liddiment & Shires R 8&6.
In another departure from tradition, dinner on Thursday night was held at the Golf Club, and a wise decision it proved to be. Not only was the food better than recent offerings at the Golf Hotel, but the wine list was also considerably longer, and the wine itself more palatable. It's an experiment that will no doubt be repeated in future years - provided of course the club can accommodate us.
Later in the evening at around 11pm, Charles Webb joined us from Paul Carman's Testimonial Golf Day at Fixby. He was extremely excited to be given the news by the Supremo that all the bedrooms on the first floor of the Golf Hotel had finally been refurbished, but his enthusiasm waned somewhat when he was informed that he had in fact been allocated a room on the top floor.
The only disappointment of the night came when John Drake announced that during the afternoon round he had aggravated a long standing injury, and would be unable to play 36 holes the following day, thus denying himself the chance of adding to his tally of six Salver victories.
Friday September 14, 2012
The weather forecasters had predicted that there would be no let-up in the near gale force westerlies, and on this occasion they were spot on. The wind was again whistling straight into their faces as the first group teed off in the Salver.
Nicholson's utter lack of confidence in the state of his golf was illustrated by his insistence that he led the field out, so that he'd have enough time to complete his administrative duties at lunchtime before inevitably going out first again in the afternoon Goat party. As it happened, his pessimism was well founded.
He was accompanied by Sutcliffe and Shires J, who would be leaving midway through the first round to catch a flight from Manchester to Corfu, where his luxury villa awaited.
That meant that he too would be unable to compete in the Salver, though having only just made it into double figures by the time he departed after the 11th, it's safe to say he wouldn't have been involved in the shake-up. (Incidentally, as he drove through Wigton on his way back to the M6, he was apparently involved in a near collision with "Jock" Whiteley coming the other way, though given Whiteley's propensity for hyberbole, there's probably no truth at all in this story.)
The degree of difficulty was apparent from the lunchtime scores, as even Charles Webb failed to break 30 points. He led the way on 29, one clear of Kaye, with Thomas and Webb M a further three behind on 25.
At the rear of the field, the Supremo propped up the rest with 7 points, three adrift of Sutcliffe.
With the gale finally blowing itself out, conditions were a little easier in the afternoon, and at the turn - with the lunchtime leaders still neck and neck - the race for the Salver looked like going to the wire.
However it's a measure of the quality of Kaye's golf that while Webb C didn't drop another shot to par on the back nine, the reigning champion not only kept pace with him, but finished three points clear to retain both the Salver and the Tim Sugden Trophy.
Meanwhile Nicholson's afternoon improvement - at least he made double figures in the second round - wasn't enough to spare him the Goat prize. Dinner was taken back at the hotel, where - with Webb deputising for Shires as official photographer - there was almost as much discussion about Kaye's handicap as the quality of the wine.
As always, thanks are due to the golf club: the appalling weather earlier in the "summer" might have meant that the rough and the heather were even thicker than usual, but once again the greens and fairways were in superb condition.
Thanks also to the Golf Hotel, who strangely didn't seem to mind that we'd taken our custom elsewhere on Thursday evening; and to Mark Nicholson, who kept a firm hand on the administrative tiller with customary diligence and forbearance. A lot of organisation goes into the Goldthorpe Salver, and without Mark's hard work it would not be the success that it is.
PLAYER BY PLAYER RANKINGS
1. Charles Kaye 28 + 36 = 64 At least Dick Turpin wore a mask. What on earth can we do about his plainly ridiculous handicap?
2. Charles Webb 29 + 32 = 61 He's the man to blame again for making us endure horrid weather. It was nice the previous week.
3. Roger Thomas 25 + 30 = 55 Sober as a Judge? We can all be comforted by the thought that when he wakes up, it's the best he feels all day.
4. Mike Webb 25 + 24 = 49 Not a bad effort for a man just about to lose his legs. Claims that he should have won the best first round prize on countback rather than the Judge are still with the tournament committee.
5. Mark Wilcox 24 + 23 = 47 When quizzed about why he was drinking straight tonic water in the early hours of Friday morning, he replied: "I'm getting more sensible in my old age." Not many would agree.
6= Bill Butterworth 18 + 28 = 46 Given how far he hits the ball, should be as big a bandit as Kaye.
6= Chris Sampson 24 + 22 = 46 His two rounds were at least consistent. Consistently average.
8. Rupert Shires 20 + 23 = 43 Year by year his victory in 2009 becomes ever more remarkable.
9= Peter Butler 14 + 25 = 39 Visions of goatdom at lunch prompted a second round recovery.
9= Andrew Sugden 16 + 23 = 39 As the man with the shortest swing in golf, he didn't have the same excuse - that it'd been blown to buggery by the wind - as everyone else.
11. Steve Sutcliffe 10 + 22 = 32 Dare we say he exceeded expectations? Behaved himself too.
12. John Liddiment 14 + 17 = 31 As captain of Woodsome, he's playing too much. Clearly over-golfed.
13. Mark Nicholson 7 + 13 = 20 Obviously weighed down by the responsibilities of office.
John Shires Departure for Corfu spared him possible humiliation.
John Drake 22 points in the afternoon round after his long lie-in was hardly the stuff of a champion.
Jock Whiteley Didn't even take any photographs.