The Goldthorpe Salver
Champeen John Liddiment
Runner-up Roger Thomas
Goat Peter Butler
Best 1st Round Roger Thomas
Tim Sugden Tankard John Liddiment
Best 2nd Round John Drake*
Nearest Pin 1st Round Peter Butler
Nearest Pin 2nd Round Bill Butterworth
Longest Drive 1st Round Mike Webb
Longest Drive 2nd Round Bill Butterworth
Lost Ball Sweep Bill Butterworth (49)
Champion Sweep Chris Sampson
Goat Sweep John Drake
* Excludes Tim Sugden Tankard winner
Due to injury, illness, wedding commitments and one no-show, the field for the 2015 Goldthorpe Salver was smaller than usual, but nothing can diminish the achievement of John Liddiment, who took the title of Champion Golfer for a second successive year. Once again he overcame Silloth's challenging links - and his own idiosyncratic swing - to win, this time by a heathy four point margin.
Peter Butler went from hero to zero to finish last. Oh, what fun we would have had if he had not won a competition at Woodsome the previous week, thereby having his handicap reduced. Without it, Mike Webb would have been Goat.
Monday, September 7, 2015
The usual advance party suffered a frustrating journey to the West Coast, thanks to a combination of roadworks and an accident on the M60 (and also in Sampson's case, getting stuck behind a funeral cortege on the outskirts of Lytham St Annes).
However it couldn't spoil another good day at Fairhaven GC, where Shires & Nicholson - two up after nine - saw off a late comeback to triumph by one hole against Sampson & Kaye.
Result: Shires & Nicholson bt Sampson & Kaye, 1 hole.
Regular visitors to the website will recall a slight problem with the hot water (or lack of it) in 2014 at Thurnham Hall, which was again to be our base for two nights. Although the plumbing was back in full working order, this year the booking system appeared to have suffered a breakdown,because when Shires & Kaye opened the door to the luxury apartment they had been allotted,
they were greeted by an elderly demented woman and her fat and ugly daughter, who was was worryingly dressed only in a bath towel.
Fortunately there were other rooms available, and to help them get over their considerable shock, Shires & Kaye were offered free drinks by the management. They even allowed Sambo and the Supremo to join in.
In order to avoid another meeting with the geriatric and her offspring, the quartet opted to dine elsewhere, and being creatures of habit, they undertook the same cross country yomp as last year, braving man-eating cows (see picture below left) to eat again at The Mill at Condor Green. Happily it was again worth the effort.
Despite Thurnham Hall's location only a couple of miles from Lancaster Golf Club, our efforts to play there in 2014 had been thwarted because it was hosting a major golf day.
This year, there were no such impediments, and we can report it was well worth the wait.
The clubhouse is actually Ashton Hall, a largely rebuilt 14th century mansion, and we were served excellent bacon sandwiches in its impressive baronial dining room. The parkland course was in very good condition, and provided a stern test, admirably negotiated in particular by Shires and Nicholson, who again won on the 18th. Your correspondent's notes refer to Kaye suffering a brainstorm on the final hole, though such is the passage of time, no one can recall the exact circumstances.
Result: Shires & Nicholson bt Sampson & Kaye, 1 hole.
Wednesday, September 9, 2015
Readers might remember a brief trip last year to Glasson Dock for breakfast, and the bold assertion that such was its isolated situation on the estuary of the River Lune, none of us was ever likely to visit it again. That prediction proved to be wildly inaccurate.
While there, however, breakfast was overshadowed by grim medical news. Overnight the Supremo's forearm had swelled alarmingly, changing colour from pallid pink to vivid red - the result, he thought, of an insect bite, possibly received at Fairhaven.
In addition, Kaye announced that for some time he'd been suffering from some sort of abscess in his backside (and when I say "in", I really mean "up").
He'd been told by his doctor that if it hadn't been reduced by the antibiotics he'd been prescribed, he would have to return home to have it lanced. Alas the drugs had clearly failed to do their job, and by now Kaye was shifting painfully from cheek to cheek. Regrettably he decided that after delivering Shires and his kit to Penrith, he would have to pull out of the tour.
Meanwhile medical attention for Nicholson's arm was sought en route at a chemist in Lancaster. Worryingly he was informed that while it could indeed have been caused by an insect bite, it could also be the first signs of an embolism or thrombosis, and he should obtain further advice.
Accordingly, once the quartet had been joined at Penrith Golf Club by Webb and Wilcox, Kaye drove Nicholson to the local Primary Care Centre, where although he received a slightly less gloomy prognosis, he was informed that for the next couple of days golf would probably be out of the question.
Some might surmise that the Supremo's phlegmatic response to this news was tinged with relief that at least he wouldn't be returning to Woodsome with the Goat Prize.
And so to the golf. Despite being informed that regrettably their prizes from the previous year's Seniors' competition were not available because allegedly the professional had left the club taking his records/stock with him, Shires and Webb entered the same event again in a fourball with Wilcox and Sampson.
Neither pairing threatened the prizes this time, with Shires & Webb amassing 37 points, three ahead of Wilcox and Sambo. Of more interest, however, was the sidematch. Thanks to a run of four threes from the 7th, Shires & Webb turned five up, but Wilcox and Sampson staged a mighty recovery on the back nine, and - aided by your correspondent hitting his ball up a tree on the 17th - they took it to the final hole, where Webb finally settled it by holding his nerve and holing an eight footer.
Result: Shires & Webb bt Sampson & Wilcox, 1 hole.
Those left standing drove to Silloth for dinner at the golf club, where after his absence the previous year, Wilcox proved he had lost none of his appetite by devouring an enormous steak pie, and subsequently giggled like a schoolgirl at his own farts.
Thursday, September 10, 2015
Thursday morning's party - already reduced in size by the unfortunate withdrawals of Kaye and Nicholson - was further depleted when Sutcliffe failed to turn up. When all attempts to contact him failed, it was suggested that - given his unfortunate track record - a call to Carlisle General Infirmary might be in order. It was to be several weeks later that the Supremo received a garbled explanation involving the loss of his mobile phone and/or his memory.
Whatever, it left only five to play the morning round in glorious weather, with Roger Thomas coming out on top in a Stableford competition.
Result: RM Thomas 34 pts, MF Webb 29; CV Sampson 28; JJ Shires 27; ML Wilcox 24.
Butler, Liddiment, Butterworth, Drake, Rupert Shires and Durrans arrived at lunchtime, and teams for the afternoon round were arranged in alphabetical order, with Shires J captaining one team, and Butler the other. Observant readers will have noticed that because of Sutcliffe's absence, there were only 11 competitors. This dilemma was resolved by Wilcox playing on his own; not surprisingly he was the only loser amongst the S-Ws, as Team Shires won the magnificent silver trophy by two points to one.
According to Mike Webb, special mention should be made of Mike Webb, who by the time he and Rupert Shires beat Butterworth and Drake 6 & 5, had not dropped a shot to par.
Result: ML Wilcox lost to CV Sampson & JR Liddiment 2&1; RM Thomas & JJ Shires beat PJ Butler & CF Durrans 5&4; MF Webb & RJ Shires beat CWJC Butterworth & JA Drake 6&5. Team Shires 2, Team Butler 1.
After briskly demolishing whale and chips followed by ice cream and chocolate sauce in the clubhouse bar (see picture above), Wilcox left to attend the wedding of Chris Broadbent's daughter. Mysteriously Chris Durrans, who was invited to the same nuptials, chose to stay the night and play Friday's morning round before heading south. All of which just goes to show who wears the trousers in Wilcox's house.
Once again we were served an excellent meal in the golf club dining room, where the draw was made for the Salver, and bets were laid on the outcome. In the past John Liddiment has proved himself to be a highly accomplished bookmaker, but after just about everyone piled on The Judge at what appeared to be overly generous odds, he declared the bank would be in danger of defaulting should Thomas be victorious.
Friday, September 11, 2015
The weather, which had been magnificent all week, was splendid again as 10 golfers did battle over 36 holes on Silloth's magnificent links, watched intermittently by a gallery comprising the Supremo and Frank.
However Liddiment's worst fears appeared to be confirmed when The Judge came in with 33 points to take a lunchtime lead, two ahead of the reigning champion himself. They were in fact the only players to break the 30 point mark, with the rest of the field closely bunched in the mid-20s.
At the foot of the standings, Sambo's disappointing score of 22 was only beaten - if that's the right word, which it probably isn't - by Durrans (pictured), who, with a swing resembling a labourer scything a field, was unable to amass more than a meagre, measly and paltry 16 points. Whereupon he simply buggered off to Bunty's daughter's wedding celebrations, no doubt happy in the knowledge that he'd avoided certain ignominy.
Instead that mantle was fiercely contested. While Sambo rallied slightly in the afternoon, Butterworth slumped badly, and Webb's game - so good 24 hours earlier - continued its customary Friday collapse.
Only the fact that Butler had won a competition at Woodsome the previous week, which led to a handicap reduction of two shots, saved Webb from the Goat Prize.
Sadly therefore, it was Butler who was later forced to accept the Goat Prize and don the tie of shame - humiliations he accepted with his usual good grace.
In contrast, the business end of the competition became something of a procession. The Judge - without a healthy dose of alcohol to steady his lunchtime nerves - faded away, and the rest were too far back to mount a serious challenge. Mention should be made of John Drake, who rolled back the years with 32 points to finish third, but it was left to Liddiment to ease home in some comfort.
While there are some - ie: Webb - who churlishly question the number shots he receives, a winning total of 64 points over two rounds is hardly banditry. What's more, anyone who can get round Silloth twice with a swing like an ISIL executioner deserves everything he gets.
Incidentally his victory meant that the book made a small profit: few had wagered much on lightning striking twice.
Dinner was served at the Golf Hotel, where the enjoyable banter and bonhomie more than made up for the mediocre food and wine, and with just about everyone - apart from your correspondent - picking up some sort of prize, we all departed the next morning looking forward to doing it all again in 2016.
Thanks as usual are due to the Supremo, for his unstinting work in making it happen year after year. It is truly appreciated.
1. JR Liddiment 31 & 33 = 64
2. RM Thomas 33 & 27 = 60
3. JA Drake 25 & 32 = 57
4. JJ Shires 26 & 31 = 57
5. RJ Shires 27 & 24 = 51
6. WJC Butterworth 28 & 22 = 50
7. CV Sampson 22 & 27 = 49
8. MFWebb 25 & 24 = 49
9. PJ Butler 25 & 22 = 47
CF Durrans 16 & absent
RMB Nicholson & CM Kaye