It is very easy to be biased, as home captain, to suggest that this probably was the best Wedge so far.
A great throng of men assembled in the Clubhouse at Walton Heath for our 5th Wedge Trophy. Faces old and new gleaming with excitement for a match where both teams were definitely fielding their strongest teams yet.
A champagne breakfast set the tone for the day, though some did question whether this was in fact the Wedge Trophy or another one of the Waud Wine Club’s summer meetings! I guess it was rather confusing as there were Waud Wine Club standing order mandates littered around the bar! (Contrary to popular belief, Waud is always working!)
With fine weather and a couple of bacon rolls on board – the teams head out on to the Old Course and there were some very interesting morning results.
Match 1 featured the Junior Professionals from the respective clubs as well as heathens Champions from 2011 batting it out against each other. This was no means a classic match, but Deal edged a scrappy match 3&2.
Match 2 was a far more impressive standard, with rookie Chuckles Waltham and Earlington having a very tight match against Berryman and a sober Bowes. Deal looking strong at this point; 2-0 up.
Now technically, Deal were not actually 2 nil up, as matches 3 and 4 had already finished, with extraordinary wins for Walton, 7&6 and 8&7. It would be unfair to go into details for these matches – but it is probably worth mentioning how sporting it was for Myles and Stuart to 3 stab on the 10th green to avoid winning 9&8!
In Match 5, the Bakery and Fewster snuck a fantastic win against Chatterton and Zorko. Once again the old adage, 3 up with 4 to play never wins came true, and Deal stole a very important point out of Walton’s grasp.
The back match was another close affair with rookie Simeon Stevens and new member Pandy Prickett sneaking a 1up victory over Fentos and skipper Hedges.
3 – 3 at lunch, and what a game we had in prospect.
Lunch came and went, though a sandwich and chips lunch dragged out for 2 hours as there was a necessity for another Waud Wine Club wine tasting and then magnum of Kummel as we presented the rookies with their Wedge Trophy ties.
The afternoon round – This will be the most talked about afternoon in Wedge history….
I will skip the first 5 matches for the moment – as the real drama was happening in the back match. Set up beautifully – Captain Waud and Vice Captain Bowes of Walton against Captain Hedges and Assistant to the Captain Mason of Deal.
Now granted, we had an extra half an hour in the bar compared to everyone else. We needed to finish off the dregs of the kummel, have a whisky, have a port and get a couple of bottles of wine for the course. But even so, this did not prepare me for what happened mid afternoon on the 1st September 2012!
Waud and Bowes came out exceptionally strong, everyone looking slightly inebriated, but this was expected after a rather punchy lunch. 6 up at the turn and there looked like there was only going to be one result. Then, we were struck by ‘Bowesgate’!
Walton lost the 10th, the 11th, the 12th (we actually lost Bowes half way down the 12th), lost 13th, Bowes fell over on the 13th tee, fell asleep half way down the 13th fairway, fell over on the 14th tee…twice, got lost half way down 15 (granted I had put him on the 5th fairway on the Old!), then Bowes passed out for a couple of minutes when he had found our ball!
Needless to say, it was amusing the first time he fell over, but for the 5th, 6th and 7th times – something had to be done. The match was stopped and a halve was called. We were very much hoping that this match did not affect the outcome of The Wedge Trophy.
Rule 6-7 (Undue Delay)
The interpretation and application of this particular Rule provides more than enough difficulty in dealing with able-bodied golfers by themselves. To suggest a mechanism by which this Rule should be applied to disabled golfers is equally as difficult. Clearly, there is enough subjectivity in determining what constitutes undue delay that considerable Committee discretion is required. In that regard, a slightly liberal interpretation of what constitutes undue delay is suggested when dealing with golfers with disabilities. Ultimately, each Committee must establish what it considers to be reasonable parameters in defining undue delay, taking into account the difficulty of the golf course, weather conditions and the quality of the field. To offer more specific guidance to the Committee is probably not realistic.
So quite rightly the R&A are reluctant to stipulate specific rules regarding delay when the golfer competing (in this case Bowes) has an obvious disability. It would seem wholly inappropriate to consume any time of either Walton Heath or Royal Cinque Ports Committees with the R&A’s suggested ‘discretion’ on such situations. I therefore suggest that we were quite right to make this an “in-house” decision among the Wedge Committee. Thankfully we were fortunate enough to have both members of our two man Committee in the group in question. After short, efficient debate, as always, Waud and Hedge came to thrift agreement that the Committee ruled the match an “honourable halve”.
(research undertaken by our roaming reporter – Sam Mason)
So, the back match returns to the clubhouse, to find a veranda (resplendent in Wedge Trophy Number 1s) eager with anticipation to find out the result as the match was sitting on a knife edge at 5.5 all!
6 – 6 was the end result, and the first drawn match in our short, but stunning history.
As usual, not too much can be given away about the evening’s activities. An excellent dinner at the Duke’s Head in Putney followed by an epic performance by all on the dancefloor in Fez.
Gentlemen, another great Wedge – and we look forward to the next leg at Deal in March.