The results are in, they have been counted and recounted. Blood tests and urine samples have been returned and (aside from various STDs) they were clean as a whistle. There is nowhere to hide, no more excuses to make, Deal’s dandies have administered a thorough spanking to the Walton weaklings, right in their own back yard.
Walton Heath’s Captain and Vice were in fine fettle on that fateful morning. We were standing among the strongest Walton Wedge side ever. Preparation had been extensive, champagne was on ice and the glorious smell of bacon was flowing from the kitchen. Captain fantastic had organised everything to a tee (pun). The Deal Captain’s usual self deprecating rhetoric only added to the feeling of good cheer.
Golf is so often a game won and lost on the narrowest of margins (a nasty lip out here, a cynical rule breach there). Sadly for the Walton faithful, that could not be said of this occasion. Deal, spurred on by recent controversies and a large helping of youthful optimism, were totally dominant. Their tactics carefully planned out, their putting superb and their conversational skills improving from a low base. Of particular note have to be Deal’s rookies who not only defied expectations on the scoreboard, but also proved to be thoroughly good company and a great Wedge fit. Well played to Harry, James, Jimmy (Jonny) and Hedges II.
Nobody was more crushed by the defeat than our glorious leader, the Walton stalwarts had been totally outclassed by a more focussed opposition. Only two of the home team managed to save the score from embarrassment with some fine golf. John Carroll (tired) and Phil Richards (hungover) brought home two points apiece. Perhaps these qualities were exactly what was required to overcome Deal’s romping performance.
‘Search for the hero inside yourself, search for the secrets you hide’ – M People
We were in our darkest hour, at our lowest ebb. Still, if we’ve learned one thing from the Dandies over the years, it’s how to put a brave face on a crushing defeat. Throughout the evening as the beers and limoncello’s disappeared, talk slowly turned from the disappointment of the past to the vast potential of the future. Surrounded by Clapham’s finest 17-year-old girls, (and the odd 40 year old to keep Charlie happy) Walton Heath rediscovered their mojo.
So where to go from here? 40 years after the greatest sporting contest of the 20th century, the Rumble in the Jungle, get ready for the what will almost certainly be the greatest sporting event of 21st century. Deal are on a blissful high, brimming with confidence after a supreme retention of the trophy. Walton are standing tall, stoic in defeat and desperate for revenge.
Watch out Dandies, we’re most dangerous when our backs are against the ropes!