Champeen Roger Thomas
Runner-up Charles Webb
Goat Mark Nicholson
Best 1st Round Roger Thomas
Tim Sugden Tankard John Liddiment
Best 2nd Round John Liddiment
Nearest Pin 1st Round Charles Webb
Nearest Pin 2nd Round Chris Sampson
Longest Drive 1st Round Charles Webb
Longest Drive 2nd Round John Drake
The 2016 Goldthorpe Salver was notable for fine weather, an absence of injuries, the re-appearance of Charles Webb, and a second win at Silloth for His Honour, Judge Roger Thomas QC. Although his subsequent victory speech attributed his success to his abstinence from alcohol, a more plausible explanation is that he's a bandit playing off a false handicap - of which more later. Meanwhile Steve Sutcliffe's lunchtime retirement left the Supremo to assume the mantle of Goatdom.
Monday, September 12, 2016
Never let it be said that Goldthorpe Salver competitors are averse to change - at least those taking part in the pre-Salver tour, which this year started at Clitheroe Golf Club in Lancashire instead of Fairhaven. Despite fine weather on the day, the parkland course itself was very wet underfoot, though the greens were in superb condition and lightning quick.
As usual Shires J and Nicholson took on Sampson & Kaye, and trousered all the money, winning the match when Shires holed a nasty 12 footer for an improbable par on the 17th. They took the back nine extras as well with Shires closing it out by chipping stiff on the last.
This year there was only one injury scare, when the Supremo's approach to the 16th came to rest on the steep bank of a stream. His decision to play it conjured visions of an early exit from the week's golf, but fortunately he managed to make contact without ending up into the water. Sadly the same could not be said of his ball.
JJ Shires & RMB Nicholson beat CV Sampson & CM Kaye 3&1
Mike Webb, who feels that too much is written about the early part of the week, and not enough about him, will be pleased to hear that check-in to Thurnham Hall this year passed without incident, there was plenty of hot water, and apart
from Nicholson fouling his only pair of shoes by treading in several cowpats on the way across the fields to dinner at the Mill at Conder Green, there was nothing else of particular note to report.
Tuesday, September 13, 2016
It's a good job that the quartet set off in convoy the next morning, because otherwise - having foolishly ignored the Supremo's instructions by failing to read his e-mails - Shires would have driven to Kendal Golf Club instead of Kirkby Lonsdale. Unfortunately (at least as far as Sampson and Kaye were concerned) he didn't, and again partnered Nicholson to victory.
The course was again very wet, but unlike Clitheroe, the greens were extremely slow, and, it has to be said, not in the greatest condition.
The golf was nowhere near as good as the excellent bacon and egg sandwiches served for breakfast, but the superb weather - it was the hottest day of the summer in many parts of the country - and the picturesque setting in the shadow of the northern Pennines more than compensated.
Shires and Nicholson were two down after seven, but the Supremo's nett birdie on the ninth was good enough to halve the front nine, and in the end a gross birdie by your webmeister on the par three 17th proved crucial.
JJ Shires & RMB Nicholson beat CV Sampson & CM Kaye 1 hole
The round was completed well before the weather broke, but impending thunderstorms dictated a precautionary taxi to the pub later that evening rather than the customary cross country hike. At least it saved Nicholson from getting more cowshit on his black brogues.
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Unfortunately the Supremo's luck ran out at Glasson Dock the following morning, when he sat in a large dollop of birdshit while waiting for breakfast. Sambo wouldn't allow him to travel in his car without attempting to clean it off his trousers,
which provided one of the more arresting images of the year so far (see picture).
While Mike Webb, Wilcox, Butterworth and Thomas drove from Yorkshire to Penrith, Shires insisted on travelling there via Kendal, so that he could see what he'd missed the previous day. The golf club there sits high above the town, giving spectacular views of the southern Lake District - but at a cost. The mere thought of tackling the hilly terrain was nearly enough to give Nicholson a heart attack.
Meanwhile Webb arrived at Penrith in a state of high agitation. While loading his clubs into his car the previous evening, he'd somehow managed to lock his keys in the boot of his fancy Mercedes. "Never mind," he thought. "I've got a spare."
Alas it didn't fit the lock, and subsequent phone calls to Mercedes, the AA, the police and even a group of feral youths from the nearby Fernside estate, well versed in the art of breaking into cars, all
failed to resolve the problem. Mercedes vehicles are apparently so clever that nothing - even extreme violence - can circumvent their alarm systems and penetrate a locked boot. As regular readers will recall, Webb has previous when it comes to car keys - though on this occasion Andrew Sugden was several thousand miles away in Menorca and had nothing to do with it. The only solution was to borrow his son's bats and drive up in his wife's Renault Clio. Hardly a fitting conveyance for the senior partner of one of Huddersfield's premier legal practices.
The Judge turned up with a tale of woe of his own. He'd left three of his clubs at Woodsome after practising there the previous day. Such are the perils of practice.
Wilcox - who'd astonished everyone in the clubhouse by wading through curry, chips AND rice for lunch on another of the hottest days of the year - also received a nasty surprise on arrival. Imagine his discomfort when, on pre-ordering his evening meal at Silloth Golf Club (as per the Supremo's email), he was told he was only allowed to have one course.
A shotgun start for an earlier unrelated seniors' competition meant that by our own tee-off times the course, which was in splendid condition, was almost deserted, and our two fourballs completed their rounds in around three hours.
Webb and Thomas blamed their subsequent thrashing at the hands of Shires and Sampson on their club travails, while Butterworth's approach to the 18th, which hit the top of the flag and dropped stiff (see pic), ensured a half in the other match.
JJ Shires & CV Sampson beat MF Webb and RM Thomas 5&4; W.J.C Butterworth & RMB Nicholson halved with ML Wilcox & CM Kaye.
After checking in at the Golf Hotel, dinner was taken at the golf club, where Wilcox defied the Supremo by ordering bread and butter pudding in addition to his fillet steak. Meanwhile various suggestions for teams the following morning were proposed, and after much debate it was decided that, with Kaye and Nicholson sitting it out, it would be Rishworth School versus the Rest. Butterworth and Wilcox are both proud alumni of this minor public school near Halifax, while Thomas attended Heathfield, its preparatory school.
It prompted Webb to remark with his usual acerbic wit that: "If I'd gone to Rishworth, I'd have kept quiet about it."
Thursday, September 15, 2016
There's nothing quite so unattractive as the gloating of a minor public schoolboy. And there was plenty of it after the fourth raters from Rishworth beat Shires (The King's School, Canterbury), Webb (Sedbergh), and Sampson (Worksop) by 87 Stableford points to 76. Mind you, it's obvious that after coming in fully three holes behind their opponents, the Rishworthians had clearly been searching for balls well beyond the statutory five minutes, thereby driving a coach and horses through the rules of golf. "What more can you expect from a Secondary Modern," observed Webb.
Old Rishworthians (87 points) beat Proper Public Schools (76)
Nicholson hadn't been entirely idle on his morning off; he spent the time arbitrarily dividing competitors for the afternoon round into two teams, under the captaincy of the Judge and the Almondbury (formerly Kirkheaton) Strangler, who went out first in a two-ball.
Webb C, Butler, Liddiment, Drake, Shires R, Durrans and Sutcliffe had all arrived at lunchtime to complete the party. Liddiment brought with him the Judge's three missing clubs, retrieved from the Woodsome practice ground, and Little Charlsie arrived with his brother's weapons that had been plucked from the boot of his car following the defeat of German boffinry by old fashioned Yorkshire ingenuity - ie: the use of the correct key.
The highlight of the afternoon was Butterworth's eagle on the par four 18th, which prompted Rupert Shires to ask naively: "How do you get a two on the 18th?" To which there is only one answer: "You hole your second shot."
After the match, which resulted in a narrow victory for Wilcox's team, both leaders said they felt rather like Ryder Cup captains. Strange, then, that no one saw them roaring around the course on buggies exhorting their troops to greater efforts.
Result - Team Wilcox bt Team Thomas 2½/1½: (Team Wilcox first): M.L.Wilcox halved with R.M.Thomas; J.R.Liddiment & R.M.B.Nicholson lost to J.Shires & P.J.Butler 3&2; W.J.C.Butterworth & M.F.Webb beat C.P.Webb & J.A.Drake 3&2; R.J.Shires & C.F.Durrans beat C.V.Sampson & S.G.Sutcliffe 5&3
At dinner at the Golf Club, which was unfortunately infiltrated by a number of Corbynistas without ties, Charles Kaye - absent last year because of his anal abscess - was finally presented with his prize for winning the 2014 Tim Sugden Trophy (see below right).
However as usual most attention was focussed on the various draws for the Salver the following day. In particular, who would be partnered with Steve Sutcliffe, who would be unlucky enough to draw Steve Sutcliffe in the Champion's Sweep, and who would be fortunate enough to draw Steve Sutcliffe in the Goat Sweep.
Sutty's re-appearance also affected most people's calculations for the lost ball sweep, though Mike Webb clearly made a hideous error by failing to factor in his participation. In the event Sutcliffe nearly surpassed Webb's prediction single-handed.
The Goldthorpe Salver
Friday, September 16, 2016
Though the weather wasn't quite as good as the previous day, winds were still light, and conditions were surely set fair for decent scoring. Alas, not fair enough for Sutcliffe, who - after spanking his opening drive straight down the middle - managed to record just one solitary point in 18 holes, after which he announced his retirement from the contest. Whether it was the result of a) injury, b) lack of ammo, c) couldn't be arsed or d) a combination of all the above, remains unknown; in any event it led to Nicholson assuming favouritism for the Goat title, and the potentially hazardous prospect of Sutcliffe spending the afternoon in the bar with Whiteley, who'd arrived at lunchtime.
Fortunately out on the course others fared better. Charles Webb and Thomas led the halfway leaderboard on 34 and 33 points respectively, with Mike Webb and Rupert Shires not far behind.
One incident during the morning round also posed an interesting question. What's the point of the club providing lavatories on the 11th tee - not to mention the code to get into them - if players can't be bothered to go inside, and pee on the grass outside instead? (see picture)
The second round followed a familiar pattern. Thomas made the most of his generous handicap to overtake Charles Webb, defending champion John Liddiment stormed through the field with a superb 38 points to take the Tim Sugden Trophy, while Nicholson - left high and dry by Sutcliffe's withdrawal - failed to make up enough ground to avoid Goatdom.
One observation: the club's error in losing our tee times while transferring bookings to the BRS system proved to be a blessing in disguise. The allocation instead of the final members' times meant that we flew round the course, leaving more time to enjoy the hospitality of the bar. Any chance of a repeat next year?
Dinner was served at the Golf Hotel, apparently under new management, and with a new chef in the kitchen. The food was much improved; surely never before has the word "delicious" been uttered in the Criffel Room!
Liddiment's meticulous stewardship of the book led to a £17 profit, while Charles Webb dominated the prize presentation, scooping up four boxes of golf balls. "At least I have an inkling of what I might be getting for Christmas," said his brother.
However the main talking point of the evening was the Judge's victory speech, which extolled the virtues of tee-totalism and scurrilously implied that his success was due to other competitors' excessive drinking. Clearly the power of the bench has gone to his head. The real reason - as everyone knows - is that off his handicap, he's a bandit.
Yet another successful and enjoyable trip was concluded with an agreement that, the danger to Little Charlsie's participation notwithstanding, next year's competition be moved back a week, and - for the 63rd time - the exhortation from the hard-working Supremo to "READ YOUR BLOODY EMAILS!"
1. RM Thomas 33 & 36 = 69
2. CP Webb 34 & 34 = 68
3. JR Liddiment 27 & 39 = 66
4. RJ Shires 31 & 33 = 64
5. MF Webb 32 & 30 = 62
6. JJ Shires 28 & 28 = 56
7. WJC Butterworth 29 & 27 = 56
8. JA Drake 20 & 35 = 55
9. ML Wilcox 22 & 32 = 54
10. CV Sampson 27 & 23 = 50
11. CF Durrans 19 & 28 = 47
12. PJ Butler 19 & 26 = 45
13. CM Kaye 25 & 18 = 43
14. RMB Nicholson 19 & 20 = 39
DNF SG Sutcliffe 1 & DNP