START DATE 18th October 2016

18 Oct 2016

Posted by: Gavin Sargent

Subjects: Captains blog

I'm heading rapidly towards the door marked “Exit” everyone, not many Blogs left until the Silly Trousers are no more, so the flowery babies made one final appearance as I acted as starter to the Norfolk Past Lady Captains, and hopefully we managed to send everyone off down the 1st in good spirits. Less so yours truly as the schedule of the last couple of months finally got to me and my back gave out in spectacular fashion – big shame but it's been reasonably helpful this year given the nuts and bolts which hold it all together. So it was with regret that I couldn't make Richard Ong's doubtless sensational Quiz Night, but I thank him and his team hugely for what I gather from the feedback was a consummate effort as always.

I was back on my feet I'm happy to say for our annual Trophy Presentation Evening, an opportunity to gasp at the sheer amount of silver polish our poor Steward of the Year must have had to get through to make all these pots gleam so elegantly.

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We had a long list to get through but it was good to see so many people in the house to applaud those who played so well throughout the year. Particular tribute was paid to those who represented us throughout the county and beyond in what's been our most successful year for some while – our Ladies won the 1st Division of the County Scratch League, Chloe Rowswell was in the winning East Region teams at both Full and Junior level as well as being County Under 18 Girls Champion, Sue Jackson won the Ladies County Golf Association Annual Medal, Mark Skipper was County Men's Senior Champion (both scratch and handicap), and our crack pairing of Stephen Long and Iain Reid won the Men's County Foursomes. We also won the Men's Handicap Team and Men's Senior Scratch Team Shields and retained the Turner Trophy (the largest pot of the lot), so quite a haul and a lot of handshaking to get through. Highlight of the evening though was of course being able to present a trophy to myself, for winning the Friendship Cup alongside low handicapper Steve Limbert.

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Congratulations too to James Johnson who collected an absurd number of Junior trophies, and to Peter Negri who won the Masters Mug earlier in the day with a spectacular nett 62. Well played each and every one of the cup winners, there's a lot of competition within our Club these days and it's a great achievement to be loading your car with some of our silverware. Thank you also to Peter and Sarah who organised the whole presentation with aplomb and made sure I had the right trophy in my hand at all times.

The following day I had the pleasurable company of Dave “Don't Tell Him” Pike and Chris Cooper CBE, as Mark Allen and I took on our 8th challengers in the Captain Pro series. This was truly a game of two halves as Mark and I set off at a hell of a rate, going out in nett 32 and being ahead by a considerable number of holes at the turn. It was then that the Real Chris And Dave turned up and they scooted back in nett 30, though thankfully we'd been far enough ahead to make sure it never truly reached squeaky bum time. Mark played really well and rolled in 4 birdies, and would have been well under par but for picking his ball up on the odd occasion I'd already contributed. It must be nice not to worry too much about breaking 70, and it's very reassuring as his partner to know he's almost bound to birdie all the par 5s – that's the second Captain Pro match in a row that's happened, fabulous stuff to watch. We now stand 5-3 up in the series with the Chairman and the Vice pairs to come, tough opposition.

After a couple of days away to contemplate next year and how lonely and meaningless my life will be, I was back on Thursday 13th to take part in our second Norfolk Alliance fixture of 2016. Unfortunately for my partner on the day Mike Ambridge I endured a final attack of the Captain's Curse, and together we did everything but dovetail. This was all rather disappointing as our companions for the day were Paul Robson and Gary Hubbard from Royal Norwich who were both excellent company, shame they never found themselves in a position to exclaim “Good shot”. Nothing we could have done though would have matched the feats of Josh Ring and Tom Littlewood from King's Lynn, who shot a barely believable 58 to win the day. Nothing that is unless Mike and I had both been allowed to play off handicaps of 36.

So to Friday the 14th and what I calculate to be the final Club golfing commitment of my Captain's Year, and my second opportunity to welcome the Norfolk PGA Pro-Am to Eaton. We had a very healthy turnout with 23 professionals and a day to savour for some quality golf and good company. In my group too I'm pleased to say, even if the quality golf was a little intermittent at times – Michael Skipper, Mike Ambridge again, John Butler and I piecing together a 2-ball better-ball of 135 to be thoroughly mid-table. As far as I can recall this was my first ever round with Michael, and not that my eyes are a whole lot of use from a golfing perspective, his game looked very solid other than a couple of swings – just really fine margins and there are going to be some distinctly good scores in there very soon. As for the rest of the team, as you can see it was kind of Mike Ambridge to offer some swing assistance for one of the more elderly members of our Club. Worryingly John started hitting some really good shots after his tuition, I do hope he doesn't make a habit of requesting such on-course help in his Captaincy year.

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I could barely believe the winning longest drive on the 1st (inevitably) by Rob Newman, which I Bushnelled at 62 yards beyond what I thought was a good drive by yours truly! A most enjoyable day all round then, and even more so when I found out the only man to shoot red figures all day long was our very own Mark Allen with a 68.

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So congratulations to Mark for a great win in the Norfolk PGA Pro-Am, and with that I announce there'll be comparative radio silence for a while now with only non-competitive golf to report on for the rest of my creaky tenure. However the good news is we will be having some excellent socials for the remainder of 2016, and I very much hope you will take the opportunity to get spectacularly drunk on happiness and alcohol in my company. Next up is our Oktoberfest together with a full-on Oompah Band, do come along for a singalong and general booze up, it'll be great to see you there!