AGM – Captains Annual Report for 2016

OHJGS 2016 Captain’s Report

It has been a great pleasure to be your Captain for the past 12 months. Fortunately, I have been able to attend most events and have thoroughly enjoyed it all.
The year started with the Hewitt warm up weekend down in Kent. Luckily the weather was a great deal kinder than the previous year and we were pleased to welcome two rookies in Freddie Newmarch and Tom Fairfax. They embraced the Society ethos very quickly and I hope that they will be part of the Society for many years to come. They just need to do a little work on their diary organization!
Next came the Hewitt proper where we were drawn to play Shrewsbury in the first round at Royal Cinque Ports. We were pleased to welcome another two rookies for the main event in the guise of Christian Wimshurst and George Atkins. George, having left the school the previous summer, reduced the average age of the team considerably. Both rookies performed commendably and are likely to be team members for some time. Unfortunately, Shrewsbury were too strong for us and they carried on to the semi-final where they were beaten by the eventual winners Tonbridge. Thanks to Jeremy and Rick for organizing everything for the team and the growing band of supporters. Additional thanks to Gentleman Jim Fawcett for supplying the team shirts and along with JCW the wine for our Dinner at Dunkerleys.
At the end of April, we had our annual match against Eastbourne at Walton Heath. This is a 4BBB match with 4 pairs per side. I am pleased to say that we managed to edge this one 2 ½: 1 ½ thanks to a sterling comeback from your Captain and IPC John Fraser in the final match snatching a half having been 2 down with 3 to play. This enabled us to retain the Sussex 2 Iron. An enjoyable supper was had at the Grumpy Mole at Tadworth.
Our Spring Meeting was held at West Sussex on 11th May. Despite heavy overnight rain the course was in excellent condition and obviously suited the defending champion Jeremy Waud who managed to win the Gibbs Cup for the third year running. Some Society handicap adjustments required methinks. In the afternoon, Derick “Austin Powers” Fulcher and Alex Fleet overpowered the opposition to win the Petherbridge Bowl in the foursomes. This is a fantastic venue and we need to do everything we can to retain it on our Calendar.
Later in May we had the annual match against the School at Mannings Heath. I think I am right in saying that John Graham played for the first time. The match was halved which meant that the School retained the Henwood Salver. It is very encouraging to see that golf is now being taken seriously at the School. They have a special membership at Mannings Heath which enables the boys and girls to play there each week. One of the boys was the current Rye Junior Open champion which is a very prestigious title. During the summer the boys won the West Sussex GC Schools foursomes Tournament beating the likes of Charterhouse, Eton, Harrow and Winchester. Let us hope that they will become Hewitt players in the not too distant future.
Derick Fulcher hosted the Jonathan Baldwin Goblet meeting at the Drift GC at the end of May where IPC John Fraser started his run of form to win the trophy.
On 17th June I hosted the 22nd RAC meeting which was won by Bob Carter. After a 3 ½ hour lunch the decision whether to play in the afternoon was made by the heavy rain falling. The highlight of the day was playing with Alan Buttifant (on debut) when both of his golf shoes separated from the soles. His on course repairs managed to hold out and he flapped his way round the back nine. Hopefully he had some shoes on his Christmas list.
At the end of June, we had the second Norfolk Tour organized by the indefatigable Ian Pilcher. The venues were Royal Worlington, Hunstanton and Swaffham. It was an excellent few days slightly marred by the heavy rain at Hunstanton which even Ian could not control. IPC John Fraser played consistently well to win the Seniors Trophy. Thanks to Ian and we look forward to the 2017 Tour where Gog Magog will take the place of Royal Worlington.
Early in July the Mellin Tournament was held at West Hill where we were drawn to play Cranleigh in the main event. This is a senior version of the Hewitt. West Hill was in superb condition and the greens were lightning quick. Despite the conditions, we were unable to overcome Cranleigh and were beaten by Bedford in the Plate. There will be a few younger players available to play this year which will hopefully improve our chances.
Our annual match against Canford was played at Stoneham on 19th July. In very warm conditions, Canford were a little too strong for us on the day and ran out 3:1 winners. Hopefully we can reverse the result this year.
Our Summer Meeting was held Royal Ashdown Forest on 29th July. We had invited any of the School team to join us as our guest and I am pleased to say that Oli Tipple took up the offer. Thank you to Jeremy Rawlins for chauffeuring Oli. We were pleased to welcome Brett Gibbens for his first appearance with the Society. He had met Mark Semmence at Kelly College in Devon where Mark is HM and Brett has a daughter in the school. Mark sold the Ashdown meeting to Brett saying that it is a fairly flat course! We hope to see them both back next year with theodolites and levels. On the course Steve Waud won the singles and IPC John Fraser and Derick Fulcher won the foursomes.
In the last week of August a select group of Roger Goodacre, Paul Ruddlesdin, IPP Dudley Stratford and I travelled to Northern France for 4 days golf. The weather was exceptional with unbroken sunshine and 37C every day. We played Champ de Bataille, Villarceaux, Morfontaine and Chantilly. It was an excellent tour and thanks to Roger for organizing and our hosts Iain and David. The one downside was being told that shorts were not allowed at Morfontaine and Chantilly.
The Autumn Meeting was held at Old Thorns Country Club in Liphook on 22/23 September. We welcomed another newcomer, Maurice LeMay, who had travelled up from Devon to join us. We were blessed with fine autumn weather on both days which obviously suited Danny Boy Burstow who made a clean sweep of both singles competitions and the foursomes with IPC John Fraser. The rest of us just had to follow in the slipstream. It proved to be a good venue with everything on site.
The following day (25th September) a team of 6 went to West Sussex to play in the Sussex Schools competition. This is 36 holes of scratch foursomes played for by Brighton, Lancing, Eastbourne and Hurstpierpoint. After a promising morning, we were unable to maintain the momentum and Lancing ran out deserved winners. Thanks to Paul Turrell for organizing our team and the event.
October saw the finals of the Grafton Morrish tournament held at Hunstanton and Royal West Norfolk GC aka Brancaster. The team had prequalified for this at Knole Park back in May. We were drawn to play Kimbolton at RWNGC who pipped us 2:1 in a closely fought match. Alex Fleet and Dan Burstow played very well to secure a point. We were unable to progress in the Plate. I enjoyed a good couple of days in Norfolk and thanks to Danny Boy for organizing everything for the team and their supporter.
Our penultimate event was the match against Aldenham held at Porters Park GC on 13th October. A hard fought match was eventually halved 2:2. Perhaps the most memorable part of the match was one of the opposition objecting to Budgie smoking on the course and leaving his playing partner to carry on alone. Supper was had in the clubhouse. Thanks to IPC John Fraser for organizing our team and Raymond Gee & Keith Jenkin coming along to support.
Our final event was the pre- Christmas meeting at Walton Heath on 9th December. This was the second time we held this event and it was well attended. Despite the gloomy conditions, it remained dry and the event was won by IPP Dudley Stratford. A hearty lunch was had by all including Ian Pilcher who had travelled all the way down from Norfolk for lunch. Surely Sue’s cooking isn’t that bad!! Thanks to Jeremy Waud for organizing the day. A few of us then went on to raid Jeremy’s wine cellar at home.
Being the Captain of the Society is a fairly easy task as long as you can get to most of the meetings. The hard work is done by the Secretary, so thanks to Rick for performing this task so cheerfully. Also thanks to our Treasurer Derick Fulcher (retd) who is soon to be replaced by Patrick McGahan. Finally, thanks to our President Rob McCowen and the Committee for your support and advice during the year.
My one disappointment during the year has been the continued low attendances at most of our meetings. Hopefully this can be remedied. This is countered by the encouraging signs of what is happening with golf at Hurst. If we can harness these youngsters to join us, then the future should be bright. Hopefully we can get a few more of the school team to join us at Ashdown so that they can get the spirit of the Society into their systems at a young age.
It only remains for me to wish Mark Baldock all the best for a successful year as Captain in 2017.

Graham Negus
Captain OHJGS 2016