START DATE 7th December 2016

07 Dec 2016

Posted by: Gavin Sargent

Subjects: Captains blog

I know I've spent much of this year looking bemused and bewildered, but I think I surpassed even that high bar on Friday 18th as we were all royally entertained by Sean Alexander. Now I find it quite disappointing that a bloke who can apparently hide a signed £50 note inside a walnut inside a lemon, is unable to weave his magic on our beloved Norwich City FC and make some goals happen, preferably in the opposition's net. Do not however be mistaken by the look and posture of our Master Auctioneer in the photo – I'm told this is Keith's Thinking Face (I dread to think what his Gormless Face looks like), as he's bamboozled by another of Sean's wizard tricks.

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Our master illusionist treated everyone to table magic over dinner, before we all repaired to the bar area for further gasps, headscratching and applause as the main show unfurled. I have been very lucky this year with all our attractions – thank you to my Social Committee for helping put together such a great programme, and Mr Alexander's was yet another evening where I couldn't have wished for better. It was also really kind of him to stay for a drink or two afterwards with the hardened boozers (I do recall Mr and Mrs Cross being there), and hopefully I'll get to a game at The Carra with him before too long. Splendid food as always from our Karen too, it almost goes without saying but I always like to pass on the compliments of her audience to her too!

My Charity Fund continues to tick along nicely, and thank you to all who've contributed so far this year. I was the delighted recipient recently of a cheque from the Duffers Swindle, a superb £350 donation to Macmillan Cancer Support presented to me by Phil Sayers. Anyone who knows this Swindle will be aware of the mysterious presence of The Dark Side, and as you can see from the picture of the occasion we were visited by not only Dwarf Vader, but also Jabba the Hut. Thank you everyone who's chipped in this year, this money will be hugely appreciated by everyone at Macmillan, and makes me hugely grateful to you all given the reason I nominated them as my charity for 2016.

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I found myself almost beyond temptation at this point to include a photograph of one of number so nearly getting his feet wet at Halesworth, but as he's a mate and I'm in to him for some money I thought I'd better not. Suffice to say I've had some great games recently not only there, but also at Weston Park and Bungay as I try to cover as many local courses as possible whilst Captain of Eaton. I'm very pleased to report also I've now hit my target of playing with 150 different people this year (it's a bit sad to have kept a log, I know), with Peter Vaissiere, Harold Chapman and Anthony Schindler the fine group of men who got me to that number. What a great game we had too, with Harold's assessment of what constitutes a Par score being entirely unique, enormous fun though.

The frost might be biting a bit hard right now, but it's making for some glorious late Autumn days such as the final 24 hours in November, when Mark and I played the penultimate Captain Pro match of our season against Magoo and Magoo. No, not two respected solicitors or accountants, but Billy “Bow Bells” Taylor and John “I Hate You” Butler, two massive handicap bandits who were receiving far more shots than any reasonable Competitions Director should allow. Added to that they had the cheek to be playing us under winter conditions, where our prodigious length wasn't so much of an advantage, and I make that point merely so I can remind Mark I actually outdrove him three times. Having said that he outscored me on two of those holes so maybe I should stay quiet, length is apparently not everything. So off we set, and after Mark's traditional birdie start and a 3 nett 2 for yours truly on the 2nd we find ourselves in the driving seat. This is where the fun starts, as we reach the greenside bunkers on the 3rd to discover our opponents have played each-other's ball (that's 3 Up thank you), and then on the 4th watch on as Bill duly plays his partner's ball again. And given good things always come in threes, our crafty Cockney duly picks up John's ball on the 10th too for good measure. At this point I think our Professional's 'Nice Guy' image goes a step too far, given I'd have ground the Fraudulent Handicappers into the dirt. Mr Allen however was a little laissez faire, but it made for a great game in the end as we eventually came back from dormie one to win the last for a great half. And I hit my approach in flush at the 18th with a hybrid, not something I've been able to say all that often this year – how nice it was to sit in the clubhouse afterwards without having a face like thunder at the state of my game! Mark has now had a taste of what 2017 will bring in the elfin shape of my Vice Captain, don't forget to keep an eye on which ball he's playing next year old son. Also you all need to be aware of the Captain lurking with his camera phone as I desperately take more footage for the video I intend to show at our AGM – any howlers and blunders from this year you have on film will be gratefully received!

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Two further happenings to mention – firstly the presentation and discussion around our VAT monies. The dining room was overflowing with interested parties as our Chairman and Finance Director gave a brief snapshot of our cash position, and I thought the comments from the floor were appropriate, relevant and constructive, and I'm sure will be acted upon.

Secondly yesterday evening the club played host to the finest body of men ever assembled in its hallowed surroundings.

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Yes, it was the 2016 black tie Past Captains Dinner, or Union Jack tie in my case. One more opportunity to show off, though sadly it isn't one of those that revolves. This splendid event is an opportunity for those of us who've put our necks on the block to share some wine, chew the cud, put the world to rights and then generally fall over. Tribute was paid to absent friends, and Maurice Gaston in particular gave such a lengthy homily I began to wonder if we'd still all be sitting there the following morning. Thankfully a momentary pause for breath allowed us to yell at him to sit down (if he wasn't already, we weren't quite sure). Honestly, what a great mob – thank you all for all the help and support you've given me this year, for your forbearance of my grotesque trouserwear, and particular mention to Ted Evans and Chris Cooper, who have groomed me throughout and are therefore entirely responsible for my behaviour.

What's up next? I'm off to Thorpeness today for the annual Greenkeepers Scramble, where I expect Steve Freestone to continue his deadeye iron play on our behalf. And then the big final event under my auspices will be our Eaton Golf Club Christmas Party on Friday 16th – and party it shall be with a comedian (no, not me) as our compere, masks, hats, Christmaswear, songs and alcohol. Come along and have a good time with us, look forward to seeing you there!