Welcome to the first OWGS newsletter of 2022!
Spring (and Cheltenham) is here and hopefully you have had an opportunity to get onto the golf course. Here a few match reports to bring you up to speed with the OWGS in Spring
- OWGS Survey
We have a survey which I would be grateful for you to complete… 3 or 4 minutes of your time!
This would help us think about participation, comms, costs and the upcoming centenary
- PLAYERS REQUIRED!
Christopher Cornell is seeking a couple of players for his match vs The Rifles – Saturday 23rd April at New Zealand.
Cost is £120 for 2 rounds of foursomes and includes coffee etc, lunch and tea. 1 round including lunch etc is £82. Members £36
If you can make it then please drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org
- OWGS v Royal West Norfolk Golf Club. Report by Andrew Tusa. Result : OWGS win 9 – 4
The day dawned crisp and clear, at least I think it did. With porridge bubbling and bacon sizzling, the preparation of breakfast for the travelling OW golfers was the top priority. The more so given the previous evening’s fare of fun and darts on the North Norfolk coast and the need to fuel stomachs for a gritty day against RWNGC.
OWGS had responded to one of the first fixtures of 2022 with gusto. 14 players signed up, including the unknown debutant James Wilton, later revealed to be the better-known James Walters, with depth throughout the side. Although a late Covid call had unfortunately claimed Alastair Maxwell, a hip injury to RWNGC’s star player Simon Hardy (sustained at the Bell Inn in Sandwich two days earlier) more than evened things up. On paper the odds were tilted towards OWGS.
The morning’s play was evenly balanced. Coulman and Close-Brooks, reliably off top again, managed to birdie the final hole to halve with Julian Stocks and James Amies; Paddy Dear, playing in his first OWGS match for 30 years (we’re hoping for a shorter time to his next fixture) trimmed the Vice Captain, Johnny Martin Smith, and Will Garnett 3&2; the Dinwiddys (CV and JM) went down to an inspired executive RWNGC pairing of Capt and Hon Treasurer.
RWNGC led narrowly 4-3 at lunch.
Then the fun started. Firstly, the Smoke Room at Brancaster full of the buzz of morning accomplishment or disappointment, suffused with the smoke from the coal fire, wakened from Covid-induced slumbers. Then the Dining Room upstairs (the last OWGS fixture before the builders move in?); chilli for 27; the tide seeping in.
And what can only be described thereafter as a post-prandial rout.
Never in the 16 or 17 year history of this fixture has either side produced a clean-sweep in the afternoon. There aren’t many instances of OWGS pulling off a victory from behind. So a 6-0 drubbing of the home side was unheralded.
Seasoned observers wondered what transformation had been wrought on the OW psyche? Aside from one match (Dear and Tristan Hanson 6&5 winners over the Osborn brothers), one match finished on 18; three on 17 and one on 16. Surely enough opportunity for a choke somewhere amidst the tension?
Well, the ’22 vintage of OW golfers is clearly made of stern stuff: the product of many self-improvement podcasts over two locked-down years. Who knows how long the pixie dust will last – suffice to say that RWNGC is already looking forward to the re-match.
- OWGS v Old Bradfieldians. Result : 6-6
This highly anticipated match was last played in February 2020 just before our worlds were changed significantly. Since then we have all aged more than the calendar suggests, though in that time Bradfield seemed to have recruited a cohort of youth that meant that some of the usual foe that we have faced in this match were banished to the sidelines.
We were lucky to have a glorious February Sunday morning and we were grateful to George Close-Brooks who managed to traverse the country fresh from collecting points at Brancaster. We also welcomed Sergej Stojiljkovic for a debut in an OWGS match after leaving university in Belgrade in 2021. The rest of the match was made up of some decent looking OWs, vying for some spots in the upcoming Hewitt. To that end, it was encouraging to see Winchester race out to a 4-2 lead at lunch; points from some ever reliable players and pairings – Hawkings, Sanders, Varkey, Lewis, Twiney, Cameron and Sergej in his first match.
In direct contrast to Tusa’s gents in Norfolk the day before, Tom’s West London crack team obviously don’t lunch so well. A 4-2 reverse in the afternoon meant that the match was tied; not helped by the Hon. Sec. being told by Captain Hewetson on the 18th tee that a half point from his 1-up lead would be enough to win the match only to see a pushed drive end in an unplayable spot.
Special note to Tom Hawkings for organising the match and chapeau to Tom, Jay Varkey and Ben Twiney for all picking up 2 points from the day.
- OWGS vs WinColl at Woking – Result : 3.5 – 2.5 LOSS
The OWs took on the men of WinColl in the traditional curtain raiser before the Gerald Micklem trophy. This is a great opportunity to stay in touch with the school and hopefully help them with some confidence building ahead of the big event. Both objectives were achieved as the school were able take the victory; though Tim Lewis (playing some really exceptional early season golf) and Tim R-R did gain some pride for the old boys.
Sadly the school lost in the first round of the event proper, which is becoming a stronger and hugely competitive event each year.
- Captain’s Weekend – Royal St. Georges on Saturday and Royal Cinque Ports on Sunday.
Again, after a lull in 2021, it was wonderful to get some OWs together for a spring weekend on the Kent seaside. Most were able to gather on the Friday night for a few beers and a curry before the competition got going on the Saturday morning.
We were greeted by a bright, blustery and chilly morning and a format that had been drastically over thought to try and provide good competition, and a format (a mix of scratch matchplay and net handicap) to try and assess players for the final few Hewitt spots. A triumph of sorts as all matches were close though spoils went to Captain Charlie Hewetson and Hon. Sec. Nick Holt who managed a gross 77, the best score of the morning after starting with a 7 at the 10th . 2nd from the morning was Tim Lewis (yes, him again) and Christian Portz, back into the fray after a few years away from OW Hewitt selection. Testament to the quality of golf however, that in a tough, cold 3 club wind, the high gross score was 83.
Thus Holt & Hewetson played against Jamie Joshua & Jack Thompson (another welcome OWGS debutant) in the Championship Match and were victors by a slim margin, but good enough to take home the John Arthur tankards (christened “The Baldrick” some years ago).
Full results for the day are posted below.
Of course, the weekend would not be a weekend without further entertainment on Saturday night. Those staying down were treated to a private dining room at the George & Dragon where Tusa unfurled his latest dinner party game – “The Prince of Wales has lost his hat” – and the rest of the pub were left working out what on earth was going on. Thereafter, those that had struggled for rhythm in the cold wind of the day were able to find some on the “dancefloor” of the Fleur…
Sunday gave some the opportunity to go and see some of the redesigns at Deal where we were generously hosted and entertained by a good friend of the Captain. Fair to say that a very strong wind and some recently tined and sanded greens made play very difficult but an early reccie was well appreciated.
- Halford Hewiitt 2022
Winchester are drawn to play Bedford in the first round of the Hewitt at 10.40 on Thursday April 7th at Deal. Should we be successful the likely next round is versus Tonbridge on the Friday morning. We have not played against them since 1953 and, as a result, have a 5-1 positive record.
The full draw can be found here.
It goes without saying that we would love to see as many spectators as possible. If you would like to come down then please let me know and we can try and help with F&B / accommodation. There are dinners on the Wednesday (black tie) and Thursday (pub!) as well as many there supporting during the day. All are really very welcome.
Further details on the team will be sent in due course.
- OWGS Survey
For those that have got this far then I congratulate and thank you. But you clearly have some time on your hands and therefore I request that you spare us a couple more minutes and complete this short survey!