Report from Halford Hewitt Team Captain – Dan Burstow
We had drawn Tonbridge at the draw earlier in the year, the number 1 ranked team out of the 64 competing teams! However, our squad of players is perhaps it’s strongest ever and after our narrow loss in the plate final last September we arrived with hopes of giving them a good game. We were drawn at Royal Cinque Ports (Deal) and arrived on the Wednesday for practice in stiff winds and some driving rain with a forecast of some seriously strong winds forecast for the Thursday First Round.
A superb dinner at ‘The Frog & Scott’ for the squad and supporters and the team to take on Tonbridge was announced by playing Captain Dan Burstow with engraved Cross Pens presented to each player very generously provided by Jim Fawcett. The team to take on Tonbridge in the morning was as follows;
- Russell Ogden & Rob Huxford
- Paul Turrell & Chris Hobbs
- Dan Burstow & George Atkins
- Alex Taylor & Joe White
- Jeremy Waud and Tom Fairfax
A good mix of age and experience and youth and power! Rob Huxford having played in the plate last year was handed his first cap and had the honour of leading us out. The weather at the course was extremely challenging with gusts of 40 – 45 mph providing a real challenge and a few problems on the greens.
Our first pair drew the strongest Tonbridge pairing, including a player who had just won the Spanish Senior Amateur Open! They succumbed 7&6.
Our second pair of Hobbs and Turrell put in a fine performance and were well up for most their round, and despite a slight comeback they clinched a fine 2&1 Victory.
Burstow and Atkins in the third string found themselves falling 3 behind on the 12th to a fine Birdie and had it all to do.
Our Fourth string of Taylor and White fought hard against another very strong pair and lost 4&3.
The back match of old sage Jeremy Waud and young gun Tom Fairfax played brilliantly and holed out superbly on the greens from within 10 foot to secure a fantastic 5&3 victory.
Locked at 2 games all attention turned to the middle match where Burstow at Atkins won the 14th and 16th to bring it back to 1 down with 2 to play. Two fine shots into 17 should have seen it return to All Square but a 3 putt and they headed down the last needing to win the hole, which they duly did with a fine par. By now rumours were going around of a potential giant killing with the balcony of the clubhouse filling up and a large crowd following as we headed back down the first. A good drive from Atkins was followed by a wild Tonbridge drive that was found in heavy rough, where they claimed an ‘Embedded ball’ which under new rules despite being in thick rough would allow a drop. After some deliberation the drop was allowed which allowed them to drop out of the thick rough and hit an approach to the front edge of the green some 40 ft away. Burstow hit a good approach to some 20 feet. With the wind howling no putt was easy and Tonbridge hit a good putt to 4 foot and we putted up to about 3 feet. Tonbridge holed a downwind putt, but alas Burstow could not hole his 3 foot slider and the dream was over.
We had run Tonbridge as close as is possible and probably should have and deserved to win. We headed to the bar to drown our sorrows and take the congratulations from many of the other teams for such a great performance.
That evening at our customary wine tasting the ‘Hewitt Award’ for the best performance was presented by our president Rob Mcowen to Jeremy Waud and Tom Fairfax for their fine win. It was also noted that this year was Rob’s 50th Hewitt that he has attended as a player and supporter. A fine dinner followed in a private dining room that allowed some boisterous speeches and a few jokes! The team of 6 was announced for the plate where we would be playing Winchester who also had an agonising 3/2 defeat in the 1st round losing the deciding match to a birdie on the 20th hole.
Our team to play them at Princes was as follows;
- Alex Taylor & Joe White
- Chris Hobbs & Paul Turrell
- George Atkins & Tom Fairfax
Alex and Joe had an extremely close game with Winchester just edging ahead at the end and taking a tight 2&1 win.
Atkins and Fairfax made a fine pairing and Tom’s second win was duly secured with plenty of holes to spare. Sadly, Turrell and Hobbs could not turn their game around and we succumbed to a 2-1 defeat.
The team and supporters had time for a good lunch at Royal St Georges before heading home to reminisce on a year we nearly pulled off our biggest ever win. To add to our frustration, Tonbridge marched on to the final of the main competition but were beaten in the final by last year’s winners Loretto.
The Hewitt Awards – By President, Rob McCowen
This was the 10th year of the Hewitt Award, a pair of silver goblets, which are presented each year to the pairing in the OHJGS Hewitt team with the best matchplay result.
There were two outstanding wins on the Hurstpierpoint team against No1 ranked Tonbridge this year with Chris Hobbs and Paul Turrell winning 2/1 but the Hewitt Award went to Jeremy Waud and Tom Fairfax for their resounding 5/3 victory. This was a new Hewitt pairing combining the experience and tenacity of Jeremy with the youth and power of Tom. The matches were played in some of the toughest Hewitt weather on record with winds of over 50 mph.”