Hockley Centenary Match

A wonderful report of the day, written by Chris Fell


Things didn’t go according to plan. I had added an hour to the estimated journey time to allow for a leisurely sandwich in the Hockley clubhouse, catching up with friends and preparing for the first tee and the titanic struggle ahead. A glorious summer day in Hampshire beckoned. Gradually the sky darkened, the rain steadily increased to something almost tropical (or

Scottish) and the M25 slowed to a crawl. As a result, there wasn’t time for a sandwich, just a snatched bag of crisps, a struggle into full waterproof kit and exchanges of British greetings with other barely identifiable shapes cowering under shelter around the clubhouse: ‘This should be fun’, ‘Could be worse’, ‘May only be wet for a few holes’, etc.


I managed to find my playing partners who were to make up our team. Like most OWs we were a diverse group bringing lots of potential to the tee.

Henry Whaley, representing the School had a free swing, a pleasant manner but no waterproofs. There was a point at the top of the course when we feared for his health but he stuck to the task and played better and better as the round went on!


I represented the Masters (keeping my lack of qualification for such a role discretely hidden), Tony Canning represented Hockley Golf Club (Gary Stubbington’s comment was: ‘a new member, rather useful’) and, making up the four, Tim Brooke-Taylor (C 1954-8):  guest of honour and man who has progressed from Goodie through Rector (of the University of St Andrews) to someone who Hasn’t a Clue, made up the four.


By the first green we were all soaked to the skin. Everything was wet and a great number of shots had been attempted by some. ‘Och, when I was growing up if we didn’t play in weather like this, we wouldn’t play at all,’ was the encouragement Tony offered as we clambered up to the second tee, ‘just grip the club a little lighter’. While we struggled and failed to cope with the conditions Tony, with the help of an eagle on the 15th, knocked it round in a steady gross 73 or so. Golf is often a game that teaches us humility alongside achievement and pleasure. No matter that a youth spent at Troon and a positive handicap for many years underpinned the skill on display. This was now very wet Hampshire and, Henry aside, we were not spring chickens. It was very impressive.


Tim, meanwhile, was recovering from challenges to the suitability of the Samantha-related content of ‘I’m sorry I haven’t a Clue’. Statements such

as: ‘Samantha went to the butchers the other day. He offered her is beef in aspic but she said she would rather have his tongue in cider’ were, apparently, causing concern at the BBC. But, like Henry and I, he soldiered on, watching Tony steadily knock it round between the hunts in the rough for our balls.


Despite Tony’s efforts, or more accurately because of ours, we were far short of the winners: Patrick Maxwell,  Peter White, Anthony Dakin and David McKenna. I can only assume they already knew about the soft hand theory.


Dinner was a friendly and enjoyable event rounded off by informative and entertaining speeches from Stephen Moore and from Rodney Hall on Hockley’s continued growth and success and also on the interesting details on the founding of the Club, its purchase by Win Coll masters and subsequent bequest to the School, and finally from one from TB-T (containing the Samantha story above and more). More details on the history can be obtained from the Club or via http://www.hockleygolfclub.com/home/club_history/


For more details on Samantha, you can follow her many fans online.


A very enjoyable day – fun, memorable, educational and wet. There will be more opportunities for the Club and the School to celebrate their shared experience of the downs, whatever the weather. I hope this match proves to be the start of a regular fixture.



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