A turning of the tide?

The 8th Wedge Trophy at Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club – 29th March 2014

Post Wedge Mondays are a complicated and confusing beast. On the one hand there are the inevitable negatives; a faint but noticeable second day hangover, a wallet full of receipts rather than notes, a few claret fuelled stories to regret, and the knowledge that we are so very far from another Wedge.

But my dear Wedgers, these little negatives are quashed into insignificance by the far weightier hand of positives. A man who has spent the weekend battling for the Wedge Trophy can safely say that he could not fathom a better use of time, he would probably argue that the Wedge formula of; great golf + greater individuals + greatest drinking = Wedge, is the most important discovery ever made by mankind. Couple this with the burgeoning history of this wonderful event, and you will always have people claiming at every given fixture that “THIS was the best Wedge yet”!

Please see the report below from Vice Captains.

Sam Mason and Andrew Berryman


Sam MasonThe snow abandoned 2013 Deal leg seemed a distant memory as the sun shone down on the Wedge collective. Momentum had clearly swung towards Deal in recent fixtures, with a halved match at WHGC, followed by a moral victory at RCPGC, followed by an actual victory at last the outing. This said our ever optimistic Captain had clearly stated he felt we had “absolutely no chance of defending”, inspirational stuff indeed! So after a slight batting order change when Fox was uncharacteristically late for his ill advised opening tee time, the morning golf got underway. In broad tee time order, this is the summary of things that need to be known of what transpired:

• On paper Waltham and Wells were a powerful lead off for Deal, but like Waltham’s banter (some say he spending too much time with Fewster) his golf was a bit off. Along with Oxford’s most decorated golf Captain they were seen off by Bowes of Bowesgate and the always good form Frith.
• Our Captain took the much talked about debutant Patches O’Hoolihan under his wing and tried a new “lead by example” approach, it was a welcomed change as an inspired debut from Patches saw them take down the House of Pain and Walton newbie Potter.
• When Fox did eventually emerge from the night before he was actually playing rather well, and along with Mason boarded the high speed direct par train all the way to a dog license victory on 12. Surely a weak opposition? No. They took down the usually brilliant Captain Waud who partnered the classy Chris ‘2 names’ Young-Wootton in his long awaited debut. Woof woof!
• Like Fox, McGahan and Yates had prepared with a dirty night out at the Kings Head and some friendly interaction with local types. Sadly the similarity stopped there and by the time either of them could see straight or converse they were muttering congratulations to their opposition and shaking hands. The always robust Vice Berryman and Hugh’s brother Simeon levelling things up at 2-2.
• Next was the hero from Deal’s maiden win, the one and only Martin Fent, on a hot streak of one victory. Partnered by Fewster who was noticeably becoming more foul minded with every Wedge, but that aside he gelled with the Deal legend and the Fentos win run continued as they beat James ‘Stevie Wonder’ Brodie & the older looking but apparently younger Waud.
• Bringing up the rear was point’s shy Corky partnering debutant and great man; Timmy Young-At-Heart-Ufton. It was the Captains rock solid anchor paring, therefore a shock to everyone when they were edged by Zorko who found some of his ‘man of year 2011′ form again and the long awaited return of an original Wedger; Hamish Clark.

All square at 3-3 at lunch then; representative of how ruddy bloody tight these Wedges have become. So to the business end (said the actress to the Bishop):

• The Captain knew his form man, so out went Fentos to get the Deal defence off to a ripsnorter, and with Matthew Wells in fine Wedge spirits as a quality foil it was always safe. Young-Woottons first Wedge would be a pointless one, though he and the big man Simeon were unlucky to come across the unbeaten steam train partnership of Fentos & Wells.
• Despite being a short one, Fewster had lunched hard, and Yates was hoping his hideous hangover was the only physical aliment he had caught from the night before. Needless to say this did not combine to overcome David Payne hurting from a morning loss and Zorko clawing his way back to form. Scores levelled at 4-4.
• Old and left handed, it’s not Payne, it’s Timmy Ufton, partnering Mason who had a strong belief in a the classic left and right handed batting combination. It was to prove a sound theory as Deal changed gears on the back 9 to take down the bandit Frith and the new to Wedge gent that is Davidoff Potter. Deal on top (again actress… Bishop!).
• Our Captain set himself in the key 4th tee time position with his groom Dr Alex Cork (a Bestman/Groom relationship, not any civil partnership, or marriage now I guess – If they wanted to!). There was to be no such romantic story, the always competitive Waud Jnr accompanied with Bowesy wielding his monstrous shovel sized irons were too much. When will Corky post his first Wedge point? Match 5-5.
• Fox was involved at the deep end of the key matches’ last time out, and he would have been pleased to have the unflappable pint guzzler McGahan for company. Playing against the turncoat Brodie and the now very very burnt Hamish it was bound to be a good match, but the Deal boys won that beautiful vital point that ensured they retained the Wedge. They also ensured Brodie remained the only man never to win a Wedge.
• Watching the 18th from the balcony it looked like the last match between Waltham & Hoolihan versus Waud & Berryman was tight. The Waud duff shortly followed by him canning a 25ft putt all added to the drama, but alas it was all a rouse and Walton had already got the job done on 17. So there it was a gentleman’s draw.

Golfing wise perhaps a slightly unsatisfying end for both teams, but Deal had done enough to retain the Wedge and that would undoubtedly mean the wine at dinner tasted a little sweeter for the Deal Dandies. Some claim the Wedge has entered a new era of Deal superiority, I wouldn’t be as bold as to whole heartedly agree… but either way, no one is in doubt that the Wedge Trophy itself goes from strength to strength. Another thoroughly brilliant Wedge weekend.

Sam Mason – Assistant to the Captain


Andrew Berryman2014 will be remembered as a truly great year for sport; A Winter Olympics, A World Cup in Brazil and a Ryder Cup in the home of golf. However there is one event that surpasses all others (despite two of the above not having been played yet) As Assistant to the Captain of Deal points out, this truly had to be the most stunning example of a Wedge trophy I have ever had the privilege of partaking in. Truly a Wedge to end all Wedges. From the first bacon and Doom Bar breakfast to the very last mayonnaise drenched chicken nugget, every minute of the 2014 Wedge deserves a place in the annals of history.

Curious then, that I have a slightly bitter taste in the mouth. Results have been calibrated and verified and no matter which way I look at it, three plus three still equals 6. 6 points for the home team and a narrow but irrefutable defense of the trophy. Despite our perfect tactics, exceptional banter, immaculate dress sense, splendid tanning ability (Scotsmen aside), stunning physical presence and obsessive preparation, Walton Heath failed to get the job done.

I have been racking my brain over the last couple of days trying to make sense of this reality. I have come to a startling conclusion, performance enhancing drugs.

Let’s look at the facts:
Captain Hedges – that luscious head of blond hair cannot be natural, I can only assume this is a side effect of steroid abuse
Assistant to the Captain Mason – there is no chance you can beat Myles Waud so comprehensively in a chest-off unless you have been taking something untoward
Fentos – getting to the club early to do a bit of practice. Where does he get the energy I ask you?
McGahan – left handed, that must be due to drugs of some sort
Hoolahan – all those marathons and iron mans. Drugs.
Fewster – obviously on drugs
The list goes on and on…

We have taken samples of hair, blood and urine (all of which we happened to find on Fox’s chinos) and they are currently in the lab with Bowes awaiting results. I am obviously a very gracious loser so will not be making any formal accusations until we have some concrete evidence to back up my theory.

Unfortunately that brings me to a close. Another magnificent Wedge passes us by and the arduous wait until the return leg wears heavy on our collective chests. Happy golfing in the meantime and keep a look out for stash updates ahead of the Walton leg.

Andrew Berryman – Assistant Leader

RESULT: DEAL 6 – WALTON HEATH 6. (Deal Retain)

Elation for the Deal Captain

Elation for the Deal Captain!

Click here to see the match by match results