Sadly for those who have already read the summary of TATTCORCPGCWT (The Assistant To The Captain Of Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club Wedge Team), I am woefully short of facts and figures to dazzle you with.
In fact this inadequacy is a fitting metaphor for the way the last five Wedges have unfolded. A cocky and brash Walton side has played second fiddle to a well seasoned and focussed Deal team. As with any sport played to such a high level, the margins are exasperatingly small. No more so than at the tenth playing where Deal retained the trophy by a whisker, proving once again what a cruel mistress the Wedge can be.
Drama lay around every corner last Saturday. A deluge of rain the night before and a still morning meant that the course was there for the taking for both sides. It seems like the standard of golf witnessed over the proceeding two hours and thirty-five minutes was pleasantly and surprisingly high. As we gathered around mountains of chips and oceans of Pimms at lunch, it emerged that there was never more than a point in it at any one time. We headed, almost inevitably, for a halftime draw.
I’d love to tell you how different the afternoon turned out to be. About how Deal crumbled under a wave of Walton supremacy. About how the golf was so thrillingly different to the morning that golfers on both sides were frozen in jaw-slackened amazement. However even as we sat in the bar awaiting the final two groups, the draw felt as inevitable as the post-Clapham kebab. Needless to say that those results came in as expected, topping off the tightest of days in a dead heat and a Deal retention. Gutted!
Rather than drag the Waltonites further down into a pit of despair, let’s instead focus on how tightly poised the series as a whole has become. The bizarre early Walton dominance followed by the stunning Deal comeback can only add to the legend of an event unmatched in the golfing calendar. So at five apiece, the only true winner of the Wedge trophy is the friendship that blossoms more with every playing (until, of course, Walton start winning again). So what of the future? Indulge me for a while as I transport you forward in time to a much bigger anniversary.
In 45 years time, when our grandchildren are asking excitedly about the 100th playing of the Wedge, we can sit them down on our knees and talk them through every glorious detail of the formative ten fixtures. Our grandchildren will have every right to be interested, by then the competition will have (almost certainly) overtaken the Olympics to claim its rightful place as the most prestigious amateur sporting event in the world. A certain rockstar status will surround the original class of 2011-2015, those whose bravery, skill and sharp wit laid the firmest of foundations for this skyscraper of golf. The Great Tenners, that’s what they’ll call us.
We all have a duty now, not only to each other but to every single generation of Wedgers to come.
To steal a phrase from a hero of mine;
‘With great power comes great responsibility’ – Peter Parker, Spider-Man the Movie, 2002.