Earlier than expected given there’s a big opportunity at the end of the season, but Noz is back – his last win was at Wokefield Park. Joining the club of sponsor winners, he now has the honour of drinking from the Munich throughout Manga. Here is his match report.

5 years is a long time in the wilderness, a really long time. Jesus only spent 40 days there and people still talk about it today. Thats not to say that my achievement in winning the Spittle Shield outshines Jesus, Jesus fasted for 40 days as well whereas I enjoyed (without sharing) a very tasty Creme egg on the 9th and also a bottle of diet pepsi.

Its been a strange 5 years for me and I’m sure most people will find it hard to believe that such a competitive golfer’s last win was the Claret Jug in 2012. Of course, there have been many other notable successes in that time, winning Nozzers hulk twice, a Saturday hulk in Devon, second place in the Kent CJ to an unflappable Boyce and a second in the Cleobury Mortimer matchplay through a holed 3 foot putt by Little Nellly on the final hole. I would never blame my children for ruining my golf game over the last few years – but it is their fault. I’m intent on getting back on track this year and playing more often and getting back to a reasonable handicap.

We lined up in what was, for a Saturday in February, thoroughly decent weather. Relatively calm, relatively warm and just a really nice day to play golf. But of course we didn’t, it was cold, it was windy, it was wet and it was totally Millers fault. We actually lined up on the Sunday in a freezing weatherbomb of gale force winds because Millers was in Newcastle on the Saturday. He wasn’t though, he was in Solihull and a bit busy, so Rob didn’t play (riding his pushbike), Bruce missed Hannahs birthday and Pete had to get back to London late on a Sunday evening. I’m assuming he has personally apologised to all the people he inconvenienced because I’ve not seen anything on the numerous whatsapp groups he bombards with his unique brand of “humour”.

16 turned up for the Spittle Shield – a record for what historically is the worst tournament on the calendar. The 3 club challenge was abandoned this year, as, for the first time, we were actually playing  a decent course. I’ve always enjoyed the Arden course having played there on a few occasions with Mattie Pea when he worked there and hadn’t gone completely weird, and a chap called Trevor before he started emailing me to sign petitions to ban gay marriage. I’ll probably take us back there provided I can continue getting a decent price for a round in February.

The fun started on the 1st tee, Donk did ok with the spoon, Peds and Ron had negotiated an interesting bet with odds of 4/1  that Peds couldn’t beat Ron gross on a single hole. Peds spanked it down the middle of the fairway, and Ron overcome with nerves topped it about 100 yards. We couldn’t really see how the rest of the hole played out, but Ron made his par and held his nerve for the rest of the round to win the bet.

I was out with Bruce, PK and new man JP (one of 2 introductions from PK, the other being Stav). We all played ok – I put together a decent 18 on the front 9. A little trip to the range on the Saturday seemed to help as I managed to continue my driving where I left off last year, hitting a pretty decent length, reasonably straight with my new (Gregs’s old) totally masculine, mans driver.

Bruce won the shark on  the eighth playing into a strong headwind, and then took great delight in telling me how poor my club selection was – backing up the slightly pretentious whatsapp statement from Donk a few days later about how most of WHV don’t know how far they can hit their own clubs.

The back 9 was more troublesome, the weather got worse and a couple of poor shots from around 60-70 yards cost me blobs on 2 holes that should have been at least 2 pointers. On the 18th I was sure I’d lost it, but thought I might have a chance if I could get a par. I took a 4 in the end and was pleased to get over the water but the 2 points was just enough to get me to 31 points and take the win.

Longest drive was won by Miller, who knocked it a yard past Bruce, who had knocked it 2 yards past Ron. There was a stewards enquiry on the 18th for the second nearest the pin with very little to choose between Bruce and Millers. Boyce eventually made the call and gave it to Bruce over his good mate Miller. Probably karma after Miller had ruined everyone elses day.

A decent day out and opener to the season, its back to a lower quality course for the next one (the April fools day Gibbon) and then off to the 25th best course in England at the end of April and then the PEDRO skins in May.

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