The Goldthorpe Salver
Champeen John Liddiment
Runner-up Bill Butterworth
Goat Steve Sutcliffe
Best 1st Round Bill Butterworth
Tim Sugden Tankard Charles Kaye
Best 2nd Round Mark Nicholson*
Nearest Pin 1st Round John Drake
Nearest Pin 2nd Round Charles Kaye
Longest Drive 1st Round Bill Butterworth
Longest Drive 2nd Round John Drake
Lost Ball Sweep Bill Butterworth (63)
Champion Sweep Chris Durrans
Goat Sweep Bill Butterworth
* Excluding Tim Sugden Tankard winner
The 2014 Goldthorpe Salver ended with an unexpected but highly popular winner. John Liddiment confounded the swing analysts (and his own odds) to triumph by a single shot - the culmination of another eventful and enjoyable week.
Monday, September 8
This year the fun started even earlier!
The Supremo and Chris Sampson set off for the West Coast on Sunday afternoon, and spent the afternoon assessing the relative merits of various watering holes in West Lancashire. While they insisted that it was all in the interests of research, nonetheless it meant that they were slightly the worse for wear when they were joined on Monday at Fairhaven Golf Club in Lytham St Anne's by John Shires and Charlie Kaye.
After a largely glorious summer, the course was bone dry, and while some of the fairways were brown and dusty, the greens were in superb condition, encouraging some unexpectedly decent golf. Nicholson fired a birdie 2 for a nett 1 on the short 5th, and despite a birdie on the 9th from Sambo, the Supremo and Shires were two up at the turn.
However Kaye showed what a bandit he is with birdies on two of the last three holes, leaving Shires with a nasty six footer on the final green to halve the match. Alas he lipped out (somewhat unluckily, you might think) to give first blood to Sambo and Kaye.
Result - Sampson & Kaye bt Shires & Nicholson, 1 hole
The advance party was booked into Thurnham Hall, a Grade 1 listed 17th century country house hotel (pictured below) in the middle of nowhere south of Lancaster. In common with other establishments run by Diamond Resorts with whom Sambo has a convenient
relationship, catering is not its strong suit, but thankfully the previous day's reconnaissance had paid off with the discovery of a decent pub nearby.
Unfortunately the quickest route to The Mill at Conder Green involved a hazardous cross country yomp across three fields full of sheep and cows (and their droppings), followed by a 400 yard hike along a canal towpath.
Thankfully it was worth it, especially when - after a decent meal - we were offered a lift back to the hotel by a friendly barmaid.
Tuesday, September 9
For Shires and Kaye the morning brought the unwelcome discovery that their 17th century accommodation came complete with 17th century plumbing.
Neither of the showers in their superior suite of rooms could be persuaded to provide hot water. However the management gave assurances that the problem would be resolved by the time they returned later in the day from their round at Windermere Golf Club.
Another glorious day in glorious surroundings saw Sambo and Kaye repeat their 1 hole victory of the previous day, though only after another close battle notable for a run of four 3s around the turn by Shires (it should have been 2,3,3,2 had his putting been up to snuff), and two successive fresh airs from the Supremo.
After a precautionary shower at Windermere the quartet returned to Thurnham Hall, and walked to another pub in Conder Green before deciding that they couldn't improve on the meal the previous night, and ate again at The Mill.
Unfortunately the kindly barmaid wasn't on duty, so the return journey to their lodgings had to be undertaken on foot; perilous enough in daylight, but downright dangerous in darkness.
Wednesday, September 10
Despite the hotel's assurances that hot water would be restored to Kaye & Shires' room, their showers remained resolutely freezing; the only consolation was that Sampson was able to negotiate a modest refund on the bill.
Meanwhile Sunday's reconnoitre by Sambo and Nicholson had located a greasy spoon café for breakfast in the unlikely surroundings of nearby Glasson Dock at the mouth of the River Lune.
Glasson Dock (pictured below) is a place no one in the party had ever heard of, let alone visited before, and considering its remote location, it's odds-on that none of them will ever return. However it did afford the opportunity to while away a couple of hours before setting off for Penrith GC, where two 2-balls were entered into a Seniors' Open competition.
With Charlie Kaye sitting it out, claiming he couldn't play three days in a row if he was to compete seriously at Silloth, Shires joined forces with Mike Webb, while Sambo teamed up with the Supremo.
Despite the distraction of an unusual sponsor board on the first tee (pictured left), both teams scored surprisingly well.
Webb was in fine form as he and Shires played the back nine in four under fours, rattling up 25 points to finish with 42, while Sampson and Nicholson came in with a creditable 39.
Later it was discovered that Webb & Shires had finished in the prizes, though as yet there's been no acknowledgment from Penrith of their achievement - or for the 2s registered by Sampson, Nicholson and Shires. Meanwhile the side-match ended in a creditable half.
While Webb played particularly well, coming back in level par - "it's downhill from here," he predicted accurately - Shires was unhappy with his form, and his frustration boiled over on the 15th when he threw a rescue club at his bag, destroying his mobile phone which he'd placed in a side pocket.
Later dinner was taken at the Oddfellows Arms at Caldbeck, which sadly was nowhere near as good as the previous year.
Thursday, September 10
When Shires awoke the next morning and tried the shower in his room at the Golf Hotel, guess what? There was no hot water. Cue much shouting and swearing, especially as he'd taken at face value a notice on the wall informing guests that the tap had to be run for at least five minutes before any hot water could be expected. 15 minutes later he was consequently late for breakfast.
His bad humour was only slightly mollified when it emerged that the entire hotel was a hot water free zone, since the boiler had broken. However we were assured that a plumber was on his way, and the problem would soon be sorted.
Meanwhile Charlie Kaye had realised that he'd left a bag containing his cheque book and other personal items in his room at Thornham Hall, so while Sampson teamed up with Shires against Webb and Andrew Sugden in a Woodsome v Fixby fourball, Kaye drove back down the M6 to retrieve his belongings.
Not surprisingly, since Andrew played with a Winfield ball, purchased at least 15 years ago from Woolworths, Woodsome were victorious.
Morning result - Woodsome (Sampson & Shires) bt Fixby (Webb and WAS) 4&3
The remaining nine players arrived at lunchtime, along with non-playing member Frank Whiteley, who appropos of nothing announced that he couldn't possibly be as bigoted as people think because he employs a one legged rastafarian gardener.
It would be nice to be able to report the result of the afternoon contest; alas the records appear to have been lost. However whatever the make-up of the two teams, photographic evidence proves that the spoils - and the magnificent silver trophy - were shared between the two captains, Mike Webb and Steve Sutcliffe.
Meanwhile word had been received that the plumbing at the Golf Hotel had still not been restored to full working order, so apart from the Judge, whose single room boasted (if that's the right word) an electric shower, ablutions were performed at the Golf Club, where later we were served an enjoyable three course dinner.
Friday, September 11
Thankfully the weather - which had been beautiful most of the week - held for the Goldthorpe Salver, which as usual produced fine, average and downright abysmal golf (not to mention bad luck stories) in equal measure.
Mike Webb turned up looking like a Butlins redcoat in cream trousers and a vivid scarlet pullover, and was immediately christened Ted Bovis, whereupon, obviously thoroughly discombobulated, he played so poorly that he ended up in the Goat Party for the second round.
At lunch, Bill Butterworth was the clubhouse leader with an impressive (but since he's a bandit, unsurprising) 39 points, followed by John Liddiment and John Shires with 37, and Peter Butler on 34. Observant readers will have noticed that all four leaders are members of Woodsome - cream obviously rises to the top.
Apart from Webb, there were few surprises at the other end of the field either, where Steve Sutcliffe languished four points adrift of the field.
The second round produced plenty of drama, with all the leading four faltering to a greater or lesser extent. With just a handful of holes left word reached them that the arch-bandit Charlie Kaye had reached the turn in something ridiculous like 24.
Shires and Butler had started the afternoon round so poorly that they were already out of contention, but Butterworth appeared to throw in the towel, muttering darkly about false handicaps (which, coming from him, is pretty rich.)
Even as they putted out on the final green, there was a widespread belief that the trophy was already on its way back to Honley.
But in fact, Kaye himself had finished poorly, leaving Liddiment - who'd played steadily throughout, making the very most of his shots - to come in under the radar and win the Salver with 70 points. Butterworth finished on 69, with Kaye a further point adrift. Had there been leaderboards around the course, it's quite likely that Butterworth would be champion, but there weren't and he isn't.
Kaye had to make do with the Tim Sugden Trophy for the best second round, while special mention must go to the Supremo (right), whose 34 points in the afternoon not only earned him an award, but rendered him - and everyone else - almost speechless.
Liddy's coronation - after a predictably average dinner at the Golf Hotel, where they produced the wrong menu, and there still wasn't any hot water - was widely welcomed, especially by Frank, Sambo and Liddy himself. They'd all been ridiculed when they placed their bets the previous night, but had the last laugh as they trousered large wads of cash when the winnings were disbursed.
As usual, thanks go to everyone who helped make the event just as memorable as always. Even the plumbers, who at least gave us plenty to talk about.
1. John Liddiment 37 & 33 = 70
2. Bill Butterworth 39 & 30 = 69
3. Charles Kaye 31 & 37 = 68
4. Roger Thomas 33 & 33 = 66
5. John Shires 37 & 27 = 64
6. Mark Nicholson 29 & 34 = 63
7. Rupert Shires 28 & 32 = 60
8. Peter Butler 34 & 26 = 60
9. Chris Sampson 31 & 27 = 58
10. Andrew Sugden 24 & 31 = 55
11. Mike Webb 27 & 27 = 54
12. John Drake 30 & 23 = 53
13. Chris Durrans 29 & 21 = 50
14. Steve Sutcliffe 20 & 24 = 44