About 13 degrees, a light Spring breeze, piercing blue sky, and a low but warming evening sun accenting the contours of our wonderful links. Yes, on Friday evening it looked to be shaping up for a classic Spring Wedge on the Kent coast – rousing, and frankly arousing, stuff!
40mph ice cold winds and snow, straight from the frozen nether regions of the “Beast from the East 2” – an incredibly unwelcomed sequel. Perhaps a Russian retaliation for Theresa May’s wrath? Who knows. Probably was that sour faced b****es fault, but as usual, we had to deal with the consequences!
Amazingly all 16 Wedgers arrived in the bar on time, and less surprisingly there were numerous calls to stay exactly there, but Wedgers are a hardy bunch. Golfers adorned every piece of clothing they could lay their hands on, and even then, most adopted the Bowes philosophy from his Tinder/Grinder “date” the night before; an extra layer was essential.
Four matches were bravely fought over a differing number of holes. I believe all but the delicate Captains match managed an impressive 15, with 3 holes sacrificed for the most welcome refuelling hut stop of living memory. No physical injuries were sustained that a scalding shower couldn’t rectify, though a special mention must go to Oliver Daws who battled on despite a nasty fall at the 6th, such tenacity from a man not long out of hospital, and he continues to battle on courageously at the ripe old age of 20!
This is not to say every man / woman / transperson etc. (please refer to ‘Wedge LBGTQ Policy’), exited unscathed. The emotional trauma was very real indeed. It seems a distant memory when Deal squared up the Wedge Trophy series at 5 apiece, because this Walton victory now sees Cinque Ports trail woefully behind with the scores at 10 – 5!
How did Deal lose you ask? Well, very briefly:
- Hedge / Dawes vs Waud / Smitherman – Saw an early point and lead for Deal, though the narrow victory only came by pairing Deal’s two best golfers. Waud had lost, but still looked confident, almost smug!
- Mason / Ufton vs Carroll / Russell – After Deal were deservedly 3 down at the turn to a strong Walton pair, they battled back admirably to earn a quality gentleman’s half. Surely looking good for Deal.
- Leah / Andrews vs Webster / Hedge – Two big names of Deal GC came up against a man desperate to get to the bar and balance his blood type to the preferred Bordeaux blend, and he coupled with the treacherous wife of the Deal Captain, proved too much. All level.
- Bledge / Carroll vs Bowes / Young Wotton – On paper a certain home win; Walton were exhausted from “bonking”, Bledge selected his favourite pins, and Deal had the assistant pro… but this game was played on a course, not paper, and Walton hammered Deal 5&4!
But, every cloud, and the fixture saw three Wedge Debutants fit in beautifully, as always happens given the strict selection criteria, and a quick doff of the cap to them individually;
Nick Russell, a great man on and off the course;
George Carroll, offering a Pete Roberts professional performance; and
James Bledge, the proud manicurist of the best greens in England.
It would be fair to say the 15th Wedge was a rather unconventional occasion. Notably, Sarah “Judas” Hedges switched sides and followed in the footsteps of James “Turncoat” Brodie and Sam “Slippery” Smitherman, though she did finally win a Wedge. This was also the first time in Wedge history the match was contested over a single morning round, and with only 4 matches it means the lowest total points ever, beating the first ever Wedge which had just 6 a side, but 6 matches.
However, it was perhaps the oddity of a Wedge afternoon free from golf which actually gave rise to something very familiar indeed; the glorious Wedge spirit. From the moment we arrived in the Aisher Room, gathering around the roaring fire, enjoying our well-earned refreshments, it was an afternoon to be spent in simply fantastic company. The Wedge has never been stronger, it is an irresistible compulsion, and a great privilege. That said, if Deal lose gain… I’m not playing anymore!
By Sam Mason, Assistant to the Deal Captain.