The enduring contests between the ORGS and Royal Porthcawl resumed on 2nd & 3rd September in windy but otherwise temperate conditions.
This year the size of the match again increased to become 12 a side with the diehard ORGS team of Jock Fraser, Colin Passmore, Christopher Gabbey, Tim Watts, Antony Aitken, Rob Prior, John Newton, Bertie Garforth-Bles and Nick Hills being augmented by Charles Maisey and Charles Walker. Nine of us stayed in the dormy house, where Prior and Fraser continued happily to bond, and three stayed in the nearby Rose & Crown.
It will be recalled that selection for this fixture follows a “dead man’s shoes” policy and this year’s team (so long as it behaves which it just about did) gets picked for next year. Drop-outs, however, at the match manager’s discretion may fall to the bottom of the waiting list. That said, there must be a strong case for dropping the match manager whose golf was disgraceful.
The golf was not easy. The course was in fine condition with true but slow greens; but we soon appreciated what a difficult test it is with a fairly strong wind and very cruel rough. Porthcawl is a great test of golf with some spectacular holes and with the sea visible from all 18.
Nonetheless both rounds were highly competitive; and the ORGS came out equal both after the first round and in the final result. A tied match – 6 matches all. Aitken and Walker “brought home the bacon”. Indeed, on the first afternoon Aitken “aced” the seventh hole and consequently made a generous contribution to subsequent activities at the bar.
Our hosts entertained us regally starting with a sandwich lunch with plenty of wine (and a supplement of post prandial Kümmel) and a very enjoyable dinner in the evening which was again enhanced by some fine singing by Peter Owen, the home team’s leader. Our Captain responded as best we can, without singing the Floreat, by making a speech which was both funny and (for him) reasonably concise.
After dinner (at which in accordance with ORGS practice we bought the wine) there was the usual refreshment in that wonderful panelled bar and mirabile dictu the entire ORGS team survived without any broken limbs and managed to traverse (or to tack) its way across the car park to the dormy house where there were no serious complaints about snoring. A highlight of Tuesday morning was a brace of exceptional Moscow Mules imbibed by the usually abstemious Vice-President and the match manager.
This is a wonderful match which is always the greatest fun. Our opponents are both charming and singularly hospitable and the club is by any standards exceptionally welcoming. It is a golfing paradise.
The 2020 date is fixed – Monday 7th & Tuesday 8th September – and the dormy rooms duly booked. Roll on 2020!
Bernard Darwin Trophy
Woking Golf Club
Burnham & Berrow
Tues 25th & Wed 26th
Match v RND
Royal North Devon
Huntercombe Golf Club