Most controversial or shameful moments in Wedge history;
1) James “Turncoat” Brodie changing teams; only to find he remained on the losing side. Poetic.
2) Sarah “Judas” Hedge betraying her Deal Captain husband; first by playing for the opposition, and then by getting pregnant!
3) Bowesgate! This one was pure shame. Shameful, even relative to this man’s extraordinary high base of shameful behaviour.
Then came the 16th edition of the Wedge, a Wedge which would deliver a moment of controversy that would dwarf all others in Wedge history. Nothing sweet about this 16th…
Walton Heath Golf Club, New Course
Walton’s Captain, co-founder of the Wedge, a man of great standing and reputation. The kind of man you could set your watch by, and be rightly aggrieved if it was a single second out of kilter. At least that used to be said, but Tuesday 20th November will be remembered as a day that reputation was shattered. Just 4 days before the Wedge he notified the Captains Committee that he would be unable to attend. Why? Presumably an emergency operation? He was making his one call from inside a prison. No. Sadly he was not injured or incarcerated. It transpired that Charles Waud was pulling out late for his girlfriend. He had a date. A date with his Australian girlfriend to go and support the Aussie’s at Twickenham, donning his new canary yellow trousers. The ultimate betrayal.
I will leave it for history to judge this heinous act. Instead I will focus on the tenacity of the great man who filled his shoes with aplomb; Mr Andrew Berryman-Ezra. Many Walton players described him as the Captain they had always deserved; popular, funny, talented, and good looking, all a very welcome change for Walton.
To the matches:
Late November was the latest a Walton Wedge had been hosted and only allowed for an 18-hole match to be decided over four matches of fourball (not very Wedge!). However, to my great surprise, this public course style format worked very well indeed.
Ian Hedley’s debut was stewarded by the recently promoted Captain Andrew Berryman. They took on the returning Deal stalwart (with the best Wedge record by miles); Mr James Earley, accompanied by Jimbo “Cheeseboard” Hedge. Quality golf was the order of the day, but leading from the front, Deal’s best pair upset the home side and won with Earley setting a new New Course record.
The gentleman paring of John Carroll & Pete Roberts went out next, playing Deal Captain Hedge and ATTC Mason. It was a wonderfully tight match and one of the most enjoyable rounds of golf I can remember. After some textbook timing and distraction from Sarah Hedges in Deals favour, it looked like the visitors might edge it, but classy old JC finished 3, 3, to ensure the match was halved, appropriately.
Nick Russell & Oliver Bowes didn’t look to have a full opposition at 9.30, with ‘Maxi Taxi’ turning up rather late for Harry McGahan, who was mildly concerned at the stench of booze on the driver’s breath. Eventually he did join George Carroll and perhaps buoyed by the elation of surviving the journey, dispatched Walton 5&4, setting an even newer New Course record (though his was net!). I have since heard from the RCPGC Office that a Mr Russell rang twice post golf to fully verify handicap claims!
They were yet to hear the fat lady singing, so Walton’s very own bandit Stuart Frith & Whitgift’s finest Nic Gates battled on against George Gunsohuge and Max, of ‘Maxi Taxi’ Williams. Unusually, a Whitgift man didn’t deliver the fatal blow, and Stuart let Hazza have his day as a lone bandit! The Deal pair sneaked it on the last hole.
In a reverse of recent fortunes at the Wedge, Deal had dominated the day to win 3.5 – 0.5. A well overdue victory, Deal’s first since March 2015! Still 10 – 6 down on the honours board, but there is a strange pattern of winning/losing 5 in a row. I am hoping that continues for a least the next few years.
All Wedgers stayed to enjoy the post-match social, and see England put one over on Waud’s Australia. It was feared that a Wedge with no night time shenanigans to follow the golf might be a little flat, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. The afternoon spent in the Members Lounge was one of the most enjoyable sessions the Wedge has seen. Exchanging the Jagerbombs and drunken kebabs for a few bottles of wine and half-time scones, was actually a roaring success. I am sure we will balance things out with a suitably raucous night in March, but whatever guise the Wedge takes, it has surely grown to thrive under all circumstances.
What those circumstances will be on Saturday 16th March 2019, I do not know…
– Will Waudo be welcomed back as Captain, or has the reign of Berryman and the Bedge Trophy begun?
– Will Pete Roberts ever be allowed on an away Wedge again, or are his ditch sleeping days over?
– Will Wedgers continue to spawn child after child and compromise their golfing time and form?
– Is it more likely George Donoghue is banned for performance enhancing drugs, or that Bowes is incapacitated by a ferocious STD?
– Will Waudo do the Harry and go walkabout like an ocker yobbo going oi for drongos and galahs, or hit the frog and toad from throwing a shrimp on the barbie?
Something is for certain; it will be another cracking fixture. So, roll on Wedge 2019. We look forward to celebrating your 17th & 18th editions, as you mature into a fine young man of great substance and charisma.
By Samuel Mason
Assistant to the Deal Captain