Five fruitful years of the Wedge and we find ourselves mulling another Monday Wedge hangover having just completed the 10th Wedge Trophy. How far the Wedge Trophy has come since Charles Waud & Michael Hedges hatched a gin inspired plan to unite Walton Heath & Royal Cinque Ports in golfing matrimony. At this landmark anniversary one is inclined to reflect on the fledgling history of this wonderful match.
• Some 61 different golfers have represented their clubs and played in the Wedge; 29 for Walton & 33 for Deal (one man has represented both teams!).
• Of the 106 points contested in the Wedge, Walton has won 56 to Deal’s 50 but the series is all square at five apiece.
• Walton won the first four matches and retained the fifth, but Deal are now unbeaten for 3.5 years having won three and retained twice.
• Only 5 men have played in every fixture; the two Captains, Deal’s VC/ATTC, Oliver of Bowesgate, and The House of Payne.
• Speaking of the one and only Payne, he is the most prolific collector of Wedge points from either team, winning 13 points in his 20 matches.
• The best win rate from a regular Wedger goes to the Deal stalwart James “I just got married and missed the 10th Wedge” Earlington at 80% with 8 wins from 10 (didn’t even use a calculator).
• Deal has never lost a Wedge when Alex Cork has played, but he has not won a single point in 6 attempts. However, the greatest shortcoming hails from James Brodie, who remains the only man to never win a Wedge (he has played in 8, 4 for each club)!
Not wanting to get too lost in nostalgia I will turn attention to the momentous occasion of the 10th Wedge Trophy held at Walton Heath Golf Club. In keeping with the way Wedge fixtures have gone in recent years this was a rather close affair, both in terms of the golf and camaraderie.
Apart from one tight game ending in a halve between Myles Waud & a rejuvenated Pete Roberts against Mason & Munro, the other four morning matches were won comfortably by Brodie/Tillie & Berryman/Story for Walton, and by Mr Hedge/Mrs Hedge & Hedge Jnr/Seeley for Deal. So an enjoyable but essentially pointless morning as it ended 2.5 points apiece and we could have gone straight to the Pimms o’clock luncheon.
Every Wedger has long learnt the need to adopt a selective memory, so I am sure Walton weren’t thinking about their post lunch collapse earlier in the year and Deal weren’t thinking about the last time they lost at WHGC in 2011… actually with the latter it’s just difficult to remember that far back! Whatever the memories, more were about to be made, only to be subsequently forgotten if appropriate.
Walton would again have two matches won early doors with the experienced and seasoned pairings of Waud/Story & Berryman/ Bowes bringing home the pork based rashers. It would be tighter in the Deal wins but no surprise to see the greatest Tonbridge pair to have never played in the Halford Hewitt win their match, to be joined by our best on paper Hedges/Brown being the best in practice. Sides level at 4.5 respectively.
Down to Roberts/Tillie versus Farage/Hoolahan, both teams had a man fighting for form. For Walton it was Roberts who had struggled in past Wedges but with a half point in the morning he was starting to look a bit more professional. For Deal we had Farage, having joined Deal this year he had started his club match form with a dog license defeat, a loss to a man four times his age, and a defeat that very morning. However, reports from the course were that this was a ding dong match that could go either way… it went neither.
A halved match which meant Deal would retain the Wedge and ensure the 10th Anniversary would be celebrated with the overall honours very much even. Truly a game of two halves, one of Walton domination, the other of Deal learning to convincingly just edge matches to Walton’s frustration.
So Happy 10th Anniversary my dearest Wedge, I hope you enjoyed our bromantic meal at KaoSarn followed by night caps at Clapham Grand. I think what we have really works, you know what I like and I don’t want you to ever change. I mean if Waud can go steady in a relationship then we can sure as hell make it work. What I am trying to say is… I love you Wedge.