START DATE 21st August 2016

22 Aug 2016

Posted by: Gavin Sargent

Subjects: Captains blog

Something of a hasty re-write for Blog 18 as I've just hotfooted it back from Royal Norwich, where our Cullington team were taking on Thetford in the semi-final today. What a brilliant day it turned out to be with our boys turning round a halfway deficit to triumph by 13 holes overall, a magnificent effort from all concerned. I'll admit to sneaking in a cheeky round myself at Eaton beforehand, where for once I beat my ever-increasing handicap, and I decided against watching the frenetic 90 minutes at Portaloo Road and instead raced off to watch our lads polishing off their morning 18. One of the great things about the foursomes format is the ebb and flow of tight matches, and healthy leads can quickly turn into tricky deficits. We lunched on a deficit of 2 down and the omens were not good as Rob Newman and our Team Captain Dave Thomas dropped the 1st of the afternoon to a birdie. After that though things started to turn everywhere we looked, and we looked everywhere given we were zooming about erratically on our buggy with me at the wheel. In fact I almost ran over Thetford's ball on the 10th in one of their matches (must get my eyes tested) and one of ours later on in the round too (just to equal things up). Every one of our team played a blinder – Scott Brinkley and Ewan Marshall again led superbly from the front in winning by 7, although Ewan subsequently depressed me no end by telling me his decimal handicap is now already lower than mine, and he's only 14 years old. If you put a line graph of how his handicap's been going recently and turned it upside down, I suspect you'd now have a line graph looking suspiciously like my handicap. Not to worry, David Rush and Carl The Shadow Heywood, and Steve Pyschocop Limbert and Phil Sayers were collectively awesome, with top accolades going to Rob and Dave at the back of the field for overcoming a morning defeat of 5 down by winning 5 up in the afternoon against the same opponents – that's some going.

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Thank you to all those from Eaton who came along to support the team, they really appreciated it and asked me to mention you in despatches. The final is going to be on Sunday 18th September against Dunston Hall at Costessey Park and it would be great to have as many people join us as possible to help the boys along.

Now I'm sure I speak for all of us in congratulating Chloe Rowswell, who scored a convincing victory in the Ladies Championship, firstly finishing rather a lot of shots clear in the strokeplay on Tuesday 9th before beating Sue Hosking in the matchplay final the following day. Then on Thursday we hosted the NCGU County Seniors' Championship with a crack field from far and wide across Norfolk. I'm very pleased to report we hoovered up on the trophy front, with Mark Sperrin, Roger Finney and Mark Skipper winning the team shield, Tony Reid-Cowan finishing runner-up in the nett with a 68, but the man carrying away more silver than anyone could know what to do with was Mark Skipper with a fantastic gross 72 off a handicap of 4.

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Here's an array of Marks posing with the team shield with Doug Gilchrist, President of the NCGU and some interloper over there on the left.

Earlier in the day of the Seniors' Championship we had advertised a Meet the Greenkeepers event, where all members were welcome to come and have a chat about the machinery and chemicals the team use, and understand more about the reasons why various practices are the ones they follow. It's a shame the attendance was more than a little sparse because it was an interesting experience and gave me a wider view on what goes on behind the scenes. All those who came along enjoyed the session albeit it felt like we were conducting it in the middle of November rather than in high summer. Given my entirely unfair reputation behind the wheel I would guess Steve and Paul were more than a little nervous when I demanded a photo opportunity,

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so between them they made very sure the keys were nowhere to be found whilst I was in the driving seat. A well-run meeting and thank you to all concerned – the good news for everyone is that I don't actually start Monday after all.

On Sunday the 14th Eppie and I ran our second Mixed Roll-Up, although I actually deferred to Eppie's far superior organisational skills as well as her golf, as once again she was triumphant over our merry band, partnering Christine Gillham to a narrow victory over yours truly and Annie Ng. After that I was very pleased to make an all-to-rare appearance with my Wednesday gaggle, going along comparatively serenely until once again the 17th got the better of me. It's funny how we struggle with certain golf holes at times, and whilst the 17th isn't completely straightforward I seem to be finding a variety of ways to make a hash of it. Any tips would be very welcome, as long as they don't include retiring the clubs altogether (before anyone says it).

On to Thursday 18th and an opportunity to make a display of myself and seek gratuitous hugs from all and sundry at our Ladies Invitation Day. Our highly esteemed President David Gibbs was given the starting duties on the 1st tee whilst I had the short walk to the 10th, and what a pleasure it was to have a laugh and a joke and set everyone off in good spirits.

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I have absolutely no idea what is going on in the photograph but it seemed a good idea at the time with a lady guest from Royal Cromer, who seemed to be rivalling me for colour blindness. It was great to see Debbie Ogaard-Nielsen paying us all a visit from across the Atlantic, but even she was unable to rival the team of Val Lerpiniere and Sue Jackson, who with their guests Judy Taylor and Bridget Andrews were triumphant with a commendable score of 120.

It never stops in the summer and the following evening found us gathering in the clubhouse for the now legendary Joe Burroughes Summer Quiz, where Joe takes sporadic breaks from cigarette smoking to bamboozle the best brains in the club. Alice Arnott and I acted as his Anthea and Isla (Joe's words, not mine) and everything seemed to go to plan, although my judgement may have been increasingly affected by the power of San Miguel as the evening wore on. Everyone chipped in towards a bottle of Bollinger for Anne Templeman via a game of Heads or Tails for Macmillan, and whilst she may have been lucky in the game of chance her team the Early Risers relied on their superior powers of recall to win the quiz once again. We all need to figure a way of putting a spanner in their works, they're starting to win too often. A handicap system, mandatory dope testing or an outright ban for them? Maybe I'll talk to our next Quizmaster Richard Ong and ask if we can target their weak points with his questions. Or do we all just say well done and we'll revise harder for next time? Regardless, a great night and a great day today with the Cullington boys, happy times.