If Peter Alliss attended the Wedge, he would say; “It would be very easy to drool with sentimentality over the Wedge Trophy. But, at the end of the day, it is simply two teams trying to knock seven bells out of each other, in the nicest possible way.”
On arrival the course was shrouded in mist, masking the battle field and what was to turn into a stunning day’s weather. Spirits were high as the two great great teams met in the clubhouse over bacon rolls, drinks of varying potency and few customary hangovers. Such was the anticipation and excitement some had even completed a dry run of Rivals the night before! Now the largest ever Wedge contingent, stood bantering in the club house, basking in the glorious Wedge atmosphere. Waud & Hedge both looked confident; Waud with history on his side and salivating at the prospect of continuing the embarrassing dominance in early Wedge history. Hedge knowing he had his strongest group of players yet with home advantage, his thoughts were probably best summed up by Fred (the newest ‘quoter’ to the Wedge), when he simply asked; “will Deal be able to Bounce Back or will they be driving a Vauxhall Vectra to Dundee in their bare feet whilst gorging on Toblerone”? With old Wedgers reacquainted and new Wedgers suitably welcomed, it was time to answer that question….
A punchy group first out with Deal & Walton Captains going head to head; both hand picking tried and tested partners in Mason and Robinson respectively. Waud said this would be a foully tight match, and he was only bloody right, never more than one in it until a class couple of bird-dogs from Walton on 15 and 16 condemned the board champs to a 2&1 loss. Not the start Deal needed.
Next up the large cahoona paring of James “only play the evens” Brodie and Christian “I wear banana hammocks” Bjarnram against David “house of” Payne and Andrew “bandit” Prickett. On paper a great match, in reality, a rather comfortable win for Walton as they took the Swede & Etonian to the cleaners.
Billed as the banter match; Fewster partnered new boy Baker to take on Zorko and Waud the younger. According to Myles he and the man of 2011 had never lost, sadly for him his golf was as bad as his banter and under the pressure of Fewster’s chat and the meticulous approach of golf gadget maestro Baker, Deal fought back winning 4&3.
The young gun debut pair next; Foxy & Yates, unsurprisingly part of the Friday night Rivals warm up team! Taking on the formidable pairing of Bowes and Story. No one knows if the Halford Hewitt pair would have faired better without Jager bombs still coursing through their veins or if they simply found Bowes game improvement clubs aimed at beginner golfers intimidating or indeed if Ed’s ‘Where’s Wally’ glasses put them off? Either way it was another point to Walton.
Surely Harry Potter Karrberg and father of two Fent would chalk up a point against Miles who was still jet lagged after his return from down under and Richards a man cursed with ugliest of swings! Alas, Potters magic failed and Fent looked a broken man; Walton were romping to victory and we were yet to break for lunch!
The final morning group had Bad Duncs looking for redemption, being partnered by Kents number one Assistant Secretary. Stuart “Molinari” Frith had left his less successful brother at home this year and teamed up with Fred “Quoter” Mack. With Leah fighting for form (no one doubts his class), this was a tight match, but one which was always being edged by the Walton boys, a line I am getting fed up with writing frankly!
In the word of Richie Benaud; “And that’s lunch!” A genuinely shocking morning for Deal with the score at 5-1. If it wasn’t for the enjoyment of the first Pimms of the season I think some would have flung themselves from the balcony! As the Captain and Chairman presented the brand new dashing Wedge match ties, it was the Walton boys with the widest of grins in the photos. Hedge looked positively red with embarrassment, but mainly from heavy sunburn, and I think Prickett just had vicious reaction to the soup! Golf aside there were many a Pimms, Doombar and red wine consumed in the glorious sunshine, and all were in agreement that this was so very typical of the Wedge.
Now this is the point of the day where in a perfect world (from a Deal perspective), that tales of a great comeback, where players fought tooth & nail and through perseverance and self believe snatched victory from the jaws of certain defeat. Tragically I have no such tale to tell, despite Deal looking fairly strong in most matches at the turn, the results come shower time made for rather sorry reading if you called this little corner of Kent your golfing home.
It simply pains me too much to run through match by match but I shall pay the Walton dominance the respect it deserves and mention the few Deal points, the latter will not take long I assure you.
Special mentions for having a two point day have to go to:
Waud – Leading from the front, a great man.
Payne – More consistent than rain, in the rain forest, during rainy season.
Robinson – Semi pro brings home the bacon
Prickett – Red faced bandit, but forgivable; good lad.
Mack – Waltons version or Fewster, including the alcoholism
Storey – A true success story; 100% Ed!
So on writing I realise that is half the Walton team, a mark of their performance! There was one shinning light for Deal (though it may have been the sun reflecting from his head); Baker, who provided over half of Deals points with a win and a half. Also Fewster, Hedge, Karrberg and very surprisingly Bad Duncs; were the minor points contributors for Deal. Though it should be noted that Duncan’s win was also a victory between classes, as he defeated his old (and very old looking) posh school bully Richards… sleep easy now Duncs!
The upshot of the day’s golf was simple though; Deal had lost the fourth Wedge in a row and are yet to celebrate a victory. Walton played some divine golf and in Deals own back yard dispatched a 9.5 – 2.5 defeat!
So Deal quite rightly cut a rather dejected figure in the clubhouse, but this is a Wedge, and that means after the golf is done, both teams unite over considerable banter and lash. There was an epic dinner, world class speeches, appropriate fines, blinding service, some Kings Head action, roughing it in Rivals “premier” nightclub, and quite simply another legendary night of Wedge bonding.
Finally, as I write this sitting in my Vauxhall Vectra at a service station just outside Dundee, shoeless, and starting on my 4th Toblerone, and not the small ones, we’re talking medium sized! I am left thinking; when the hell are Deal going to win a ruddy Wedge???