Finally The Wedge Trophy seems to be getting the media recognition equal to the gravitas and status of the fixture. Here were just a few of the quotes following Saturday’s Wedge:
– “I didn’t think I could see this team play like this, they were fantastic.” – Clive Woodward
– “Just goes to show what you can achieve when you play positively and show ambition to score points.” –Peter Stringer
– “It was one of the most courageous performances I’ve seen from a team. It was an unbelievable game” –Stuart Lancaster
I found it strange that this iconic golfing event attracted so much attention from those mainly known for their involvement with rugby. However, this level of press coverage is not to be sniffed at, I think they all made excellent observations about a great Wedge Trophy.
It was a morning dominated by Walton; they destroyed the opposition in four matches, with all shaking hands on 15 or earlier. Walton’s VC Berryman & former disgraced VC Bowes were obviously keen for a long lunch and beat an off song Lark & not so fantastic Fox before the Chequers! It was looking like a repeat of the fiasco of March 2012 when Walton thrashed Deal at home to win their fourth Wedge. However, a few vital points were salvaged by Earlington/Glynn & Mason/McGahan, both pairs winning their tight matches down 18 to ensure a sliver of hope remained in the afternoon. Though there was no doubt when beholding the self-assured look on Charlie Waud that this was looking ominous for Deal who had disgracefully never managed to win a Wedge at home!
The afternoon was looking like a formality, as was the Six Nations with both Scotland and Italy folding to leave England a daunting task of needing to beat the French by 26 points – Deal were feeling that pain. In contrast to the morning matches only one game would not make it to at least the 17th green, this was to be an afternoon of fine margins (please refer to Michael Hedges inspirational “Any Given Saturday” speech) this was indeed a game of inches, and it was the team willing to die/drink for that inch that would prevail.
What followed that afternoon was nothing short of miraculous, in an abundance of matches which could have gone either way, there was a remarkable 30 minutes when results were trickling in and the Deal score kept ticking along. Then we had confirmation of what seemed implausible – 5 matches in, all points to Deal. Finally a home victory! Whilst watching a brave England RFU fail, Deal had succeeded. Could we make it an afternoon whitewash? No. It turns out McGahan spent his round battling some potentially messy ramifications of what looked like food poisoning! Corky tried his best to stem the flow, but unfortunately things slipped away. It mattered not. It was a colossal comeback from Deal and a 7-5 victory bringing the Wedge series back to 5-4 and making it 3 years and counting from the last Walton win.
As I reflect on this 9th Wedge Trophy I would like to offer a few observations, questions, thanks and thoughts:
– Welcome and congratulations to all rookies in attendance, excellent debuts from Webster, Gates and Lark. The Wedge seems to go from strength to strength with wonderful new people wanting to get involved and then bringing so much to proceedings when they do.
– Well played to David Payne & Oliver Bowes; both delivered two points for Walton on a difficult day. Patrick Glynn and James Earlington were good enough to oblige by matching that feat for Deal.
– Why have Deal started winning? Well I can tell you that Dr Alex Cork has never once lost a Wedge in his three outings. Despite personally not winning a point in that time he is a clear bastion for Deal victory.
– Why have Walton started losing? Since James Brodie has switched allegiances and started batting for the other side, Walton has not won. Despite personally winning a fair few points in that time he seems to be the ‘anti-Cork’.
– As several people rightly gushed in claret fuelled speeches over dinner; this is a unique and remarkable fixture. We should all be proud to be involved with the Wedge Trophy and long may it continue.
I will finish on that note and let Walton start another process of deconstructing a performance where they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. Perhaps a case of white line fever? Do Walton need to practice their lunch sessions? All I know for sure after speaking to Waud is, and I quote;
“There is 100% categorically not a leadership issue with Walton. This is clearly a bottom-up issue, and I will personally ensure I get right to the bottom of it”.
A Deal Dandies sole focus over summer is to remain in-form and avoid complacency at all costs, because I strongly suspect that Walton will seriously contemplate the idea of considering winning more points.
Until then my Wedge brethren.