I am sure we are all familiar with this famous children’s rhyme – ‘Liar, Liar, Pants are on Fire’, but I am sure you would agree that this is not something you would expect to be the headline of a match report on The Wedge Trophy website. More on this later…
So on Saturday the 9th October 2021, we returned to Walton Heath for the 22nd playing of the Wedge Trophy.
With Covid rules pretty much relaxed, normal Wedge service resumed. Both teams were able to reconnect with old friends, as well as welcome Wedgers new. We were pleased to introduce Calum Moultrie to the Walton side, as well as an excellent triumvirate of Sam Nicholson, Will Stanyard and Alex Skinner to Team Deal.
After a short fog delay, where bacon and Guinness helped us pass the time, 16 players headed out for the morning foursomes on the New Course. Here is a short run through the morning match ups – and as you are about to read, I am not sure we have ever seen so many uneven match ups in Wedge history. (maybe Hedges has some stats on this?)
In Match 1, Myles and Simeon from Team Walton took on the Deal Wedge Captain who was partnered up with new boy Sam Nicholson. Plenty of shots were flying around in this game in favour of Walton, but unfortunately for Walton, they were dispatched in the country as Deal drew first blood.
Following out in Match 2, George Bezzra (formerly known as Andrew Berryman), who has experienced limited golf recently following the birth of his gorgeous daughter Rosie, was partnered with Walton newbie and current SEJ captain, Calum Moutrie. Batting against Max McGahan, whose last Wedge was at Walton in October 2016, paired with rookie Will Stanyard. Some very dubious handicap negotiations went on here, with Walton giving 22 shots, where there should of actually been only 11. Berryman clearly has Baby brain still – anyway, the Deal boys ran riot here too and took the spoils 5&4.
Match 3 – WH stalwart, The House of Payne sent out with his vanity handicap of +1 (yes, seriously!) partnering Finlay Hutchinson, who was also pleased Corky wasn’t in attendance after a minor run in at the bar in Deal a few months prior when he questioned his Wedge record. They were matched up against Chris Wood and Tommy Farrell. The Deal boys were in fine form in this game, with the Walton boys holding their heads high to take it to the 17th green, but Deal were too strong and won 2&1. (this was the only close match in the morning session)
Into the final match of the morning, where Waud C and Stefan Tillman took on Patrick Karrberg of La Manga fame, partnered up with Maxim Williams, the nominated Assistant to the Deal Captain for the day. The Walton boys had a fairly tidy morning and managed to get Walton on the score board and managed a swift exit to the bar with a few holes to play.
So the score being 3 – 1 at lunch to Deal, as we enjoyed the traditional Golfers Special lunch of Chicken goujons and chips, flushed down with more Guinness, Magners and Vin Rouge. (The Argadens 2014 is drinking particularly well right now!)
Lunchtime is always a great time to reflect on Wedge’s past and present – to catch up with friends old and new and also enquire where the regulars were that could not make it on this occasion. To date we have had 40 players represent the Walton Heath side – and Deal bringing up their half century with an impressive 50 players who have represented the side.
With all the rearranging of Club matches and meetings due to Covid, there were plenty of matches taking place on this Wedge weekend – with Deal having a new match against Hoylake, a club match against The Outpost Club, as well as a few boys playing down at RSG in their Autumn Meeting. Many congratulations to Michael for pulling together such a brilliant side, as well as play in the morning himself as he was scheduled to be up in Manchester running a work event. Hedge is the most capped Wedger, having notched up 39 matches in our great fixture.
Anyway, with Walton as the incumbent Wedge Trophy holders, Deal required 1.5 points from the 4 points available in the afternoon games to take the Wedge Trophy back down the road to the coast. The sharper readers among you will then note that Walton then required 3 points in the afternoon to draw the match and retain the trophy. So it was all to play for on a stunning afternoon on the Old Course.
The afternoon rounds went in a similar fashion to the morning, with three absolute drubbings and one tight match. Big victories went to Berryman and Stevens for Walton in match 1, Farrell and Kaarberg for Deal in match 2, Waud C and Hutchinson for Walton in match 3 – meaning that Walton had dragged the score back to 3-4 with the last match result to come in.
All was tense on the Walton terrace, as last out was Myles and Walton newbie Calum playing the two Max’s from Deal. Rumours were flying around that the match was tight – and a Whatsapp made it back to Walton HQ that Walton were dormie 2 up…followed by a message 5 minutes later, simply saying, dormie 1 up…
It is fair to say that Myles has not been in the greatest form of late, with the nightmare of putting it in the ditch on 18 at Deal fresh in the memory that meant that Walton had only retained the Wedge rather than winning it last time out.
Needless to say, nerves were high in Camp Walton. To everyone’s surprise, Myles walked around the corner of the proshop, looking up to the terrace, with his arm raised into the air, in an attempt to rev the terrace crowd up like Maximus Decimus Meridius. Shouting ‘were you not entertained?!?! – only joking, but his hand was in the air.
Myles and Calum did hold it together, taking their match, ending the fixture 4-4, and Walton retaining the trophy.
The remaining players were treated to a terrific thank you speech from Maxim Williams (assistant to the Deal Captain for this fixture), who stepped in beautifully as Mike Hedges head up the road to Manchester.
Some of you may be wondering why Max was required to give the speech in Mike’s absence, and why the usual Assistant to the Deal Captain, Sam Mason, was not in attendance.
Funny story… when we did not see Sam’s name on the team sheet, questions were asked and we were told from the horses mouth (Sam’s mouth) that he could not make it, with the response as gospel: ‘weekend is a long standing plan to catch up with a group of friends from The Shire. Kind of an annual tradition, sadly no golf!’
Now Sammy, unless Deal is now referred to as ‘The Shire’, and your group of friends were actually representing the Outpost Club, and when you said ‘sadly no golf’, what you actually meant was ‘sadly loads of golf’ …then we can let you off here…
However, your friends on Instagram and Facebook looked surprisingly like the American lads from the Outpost Club!
Liar, liar, pants are on fire!
Sam Mason representing Deal against the Outpost Club on Saturday the 9th October 2021.