The Senior Darwin is a spin-off from the Bernard Darwin Trophy.  It is played between the original 16 schools of the Halford-Hewitt Cup at Woking Golf Club every June. The format is scratch foursomes knock-out, three pairs in each team, with a minimum age of 65. The atmosphere is highly competitive, most players having single-figure handicaps, but the matches are played in a fine Corinthian spirit.

This year’s ORGS team comprised a squad of seven players rather than the usual six: Robert Lyons, Peter Stanbrook, Christopher Gabbey, Jonathan Gilbert, Jock Fraser, Alick Hay and John Hendry, the last two making their first appearances. At this stage in our lives we may perhaps be forgiven for failing to include our houses and years, just as we have forgotten most other things except how to swing a golf club.

We won the first round against Wellington 3-0, with comfortable victories for all pairs. Peter Stanbrook played with Robert Lyons, Christopher Gabbey partnered John Hendry, and Jonathan Gilbert teamed up with Alick Hay.

The policy of providing the new players with experienced partners in the first round paid off in the afternoon, when we met Winchester. Stanbrook and Lyons came across a decent first pair who stormed ahead while they were still half asleep, and were 5 down by the 8th. They got three holes back, but lost the 13th to a streaky 30 foot putt and finally lost 3&2. This left our other two pairs with no leeway; but Gabbey and Fraser were up to the task, and Hay and Hendry came back from 3 down to win five holes on the trot before completing the job on the 16th.  Match to Rugby, 2-1.

On the second morning we were up against Malvern. Stanbrook and Lyons faced anything but a good first pair and won 5&3. Then Gabbey and Gilbert had a great tussle with Malvern’s best pair, coming to the 18th one up. There Gabbey hit an enormous drive and Gilbert followed up with a majestic pitch to six feet, a fitting finale to his great career in the Bernard Darwin and Senior Darwin competitions. We lost the third match comfortably, but no matter: we were through to the final by 2 matches to 1.

So, on to the latest battle against our old rivals Tonbridge. Stanbrook and Lyons faced the redoubtable Geoff Clay and his able partner but proved the steadier over the second nine, winning 3&2. Behind them Gabbey and Fraser were involved in another frantic contest, losing what had been a three hole lead to a rather fluky chip on the 16th green. Undaunted, Fraser hit a brilliant pitch over a greenside bunker at the 17th to save the half. On the 18th we were on the fringe above the hole in two, from where Gabbey rolled a superb long putt down to four feet. Tonbridge had a tricky putt for a four from the edge of the green but just lipped out, leaving Fraser to putt out bravely for the match. Meanwhile the third match had been lost to an experienced pair, but once again, no matter: the Senior Darwin Salver for 2016 was in Rugbeian hands for the first time since 2007. Certainly the proudest day of my golfing life.

Robert Lyons


March 2021

Tuesday 9th
Match v The School
Woking Golf Club

Friday 19th & Saturday 20th TBC
Winter Meeting & HH Squad
Burnham & Berrow Golf Club

Wednesday 24th
Match v London Solicitors GS
The New Zealand Golf Club

April 2021

Thursday 8th  - Sunday 11th
Halford Hewitt 2021
Royal St George's & Royal Cinque Ports

Tuesday 13th - Wednesday 14th
Match v Royal North Devon
Westward Ho!

May 2021

Thursday 6th
Spring Meeting
Huntercombe Golf Club

Sunday 9th
Grafton Morrish Qualifying Event
Royal Wimbledon Golf Club

Friday 21st
Match v Blackwell Golf Club
Blackwell Golf Club

June 2021

Friday 11th AM
Match v Luffness New
Luffness New Golf Club

Friday 11th PM
Scottish Meeting
Luffness New Golf Club

Saturday 12th
Scottish Meeting
HCEG - Muirfield

Tuesday 15th & Wednesday 16th
The Senior Darwin
Woking Golf Club

Wednesday 16th
The Veteran Darwin
Woking Golf Club

Wednesday 23rd
Public Schools Midlands Meeting
Little Aston Golf Club

July 2021

Thursday 1st & Friday 2nd
The Bernard Darwin
Woking Golf Club

Thursday 8th
2021 Northern Meeting
Notts Golf Club (Hollinwell)

August 2021

Wednesday 18th
Match v Uppingham
Luffenham Heath Golf Club

Sunday 22nd
Match v Malvern
The Berkshire Golf Club

September 2021

Wednesday 1st
Match v Veteran Lady Golfers
Ashridge Golf Club

Monday 6th & Tuesday 7th
Match v Royal Porthcawl
Royal Porthcawl Golf Club

Friday 10th & Saturday 11th
Autumn Meeting & AGM
Rye Golf Club

October 2021

Friday 1st - Sunday 3rd
Grafton Morrish Finals
Hunstanton & Royal West Norfolk

Sunday 10th
27 Holes of Foursomes
Royal Worlington & Newmarket

November 2021

Tuesday 16th
Match v Royal North Devon
Rye Golf Club

December 2021

Monday 6th
Advent Informal Meeting
Burnham & Berrow

Woking Golf Club