OWGS 2019 Newsletter

Dear fellow OW golfer,

The OW golfing year started with a bang, literally, as James Whittington (Hon Treas.) swung the back of an axe unerringly through a window pane of the front door of our cottage in Norfolk.  This solved the problem of the flower of OWGS golf being locked out for the night before our first fixture of the year, against Royal West Norfolk.  But any hope of salvation was misplaced as our boiler had also broken down and the interior temperature was only marginally higher than outside.  A night to bring the memory of Win Coll galleries into sharp focus!

The hospitality shown to us by RWNGC the following morning was more secure, however: a proper welcome for the OWGS in the manner which we are extremely fortunate to receive from some of the most lovely clubs and courses in the UK. Something that we should all cherish!

Thank you to all of the match managers for their time and trouble in fostering links with clubs and societies who look forward to our fixtures and are genuinely pleased to see us back.  OWGS is very fortunate to have a flourishing fixture list and a growing band of OWs who are happy to travel the length and breadth of the country (Southampton/Winchester to Aldeburgh on a Friday night: Messrs Harris and Pringle!) for the pleasure of a competitive day’s golf in highly convivial company. 

We are also fortunate to preserve a fixture list which allows us to play golf at weekends which is becoming more unusual as clubs seek to prioritise their members.  So, do please support these matches and, if you haven’t played a certain course/match, then can I urge you to get in touch with the match manager in good time and put yourself forward?

In addition, we are always keen to bring additional matches into the fixture list no matter how formal or informal. The Society can help raise players, subsidise the youth and help aspiring match or match manager get from a conversation to a permanent fixture. We now have literally hundreds of members and cannot always satisfy the demand.

Perhaps I could even recommend a few fixtures as a starting place:

  • OWGS’s Summer Meeting at the Berkshire, wonderfully organised by George Close-Brooks?  A field of over 35 players took part this year in the first week of July for 36 holes, lunch and the chance to have their name memorialised on one of OWGS’s famous pots.  Save the date for Friday 3rd July 2020.
  • OWGS v Royal St. George’s on 26th July. This will take place the Sunday after the champion golfer of the year is crowned at Sandwich (!) and so will be a rare opportunity to play the course near enough in an Open setup. We have been reduced to one day this year so there will be competition for places… sign up with Ben Twiney.
  • Beyond that we have some wonderful matches against Eton at Rye, The Rifles at the Berkshire through to Huntercombe all of which present golfers of all abilities to enjoy some of the UK’s finest.

Also worth noting an early mark in your diary for November 2023 when OWGS will be celebrating its centenary. Early plans are afoot to thank the clubs that support us but also to gather to celebrate 100 happy and successful years!

Whilst on the thanks, can I offer mine – and yours – to Nick Holt, OWGS’s Hon Secretary, for maintaining the website, organising the Gerald Micklem Trophy, arranging the fixture list, chivvying match managers and keeping the cogs of OWGS well-oiled and functioning.  Likewise to James Whittington, ever-reliable OWGS Treasurer (and axe-wielder) and to our President, Tim Rowan-Robinson who is the spirit of OWGS personified.

Thanks and good luck in equal measure to my successor Charlie Hewetson, who takes over in January.  Charlie loves OWGS and will spread his enthusiasm for the Society on the links, in the clubhouse and in the School.  I can only wish him as much fun as I’ve had over the past two years.

Yours, Andrew Tusa

OWGS Captain : 2018 – 2020

OWGS Golf in 2020:

Halford Hewitt

Last year’s victory at the Halford Hewitt was not to be repeated this year, sadly.  Many of the team set off for Sandwich with the sound of congratulations for 2018 ringing in their ears following a very cheery drinks party at Boodle’s at which OWGS had the chance to re-hear those familiar war stories and salute our Hewitt medal wearers. 

We knew, however, that 2019’s was a tougher draw that would require us to play 36 holes on three consecutive days to win and our luck ran out on Friday afternoon at St George’s against Malvern, the competition’s eventual winners. 

The spirit that had made our run in 2018 so memorable was still there, although we missed Mark Coulman both on and off the course.  And our Friday night team dinner at the Old Red Cow in Sandwich was particularly memorable in featuring the return leg of a sing-off between Jack Keating and your Captain.  Let’s just say that the scores are now level! 

2019’s team: Jamie Cameron, Claudio Consul, Tom Hawkings, Nick Holt, Jack Keating, Tim Lewis, Paddy Buckley (flying in from New Zealand), Richard Sanders, Dino Varkey and Jay Varkey.  David Wybar provided the invaluable competition statistics and team tactics and Tim Rowan-Robinson, your ever-dependable President, was a constant support on the links and in the bar!

Grafton Morrish

Happily, our 13 year run of failing to make the Grafton Morrish Finals came to an end in 2019.  OWGS’s aggregate of 82 points was good enough to qualify in second place behind Millfield at North Hants in May, with a special mention to Tim Lewis and Ben Twiney who delivered 31 points with the pressure on – playing as the 3rd pair on the day. They knew that the team needed a good haul from the anchor pair and delivered.

Our draw for the Finals saw us playing at Hunstanton GC against Trent in the morning with the prospect of a second round match against Ampleforth, whom we had beaten in the final of the Hewitt in 2018.  Ampleforth’s key player, David Haig, had withdrawn due to injury and our second round opponents were Oakham, duly dispatched 2 ½ – ½. We never really got out of the blocks on Saturday morning against Charterhouse, the more disappointing as we certainly had the beating of them.  Charterhouse were beaten on Saturday afternoon by Birkenhead, the competition’s eventual winners.

Perhaps the most notable fact of the Grafton Morrish team was that it featured two former Golf Bursary Fund Scholars in Jack Keating and Sergej Stojiljkovic.  This was Sergej’s first OWGS competition and he took to it with immediate ease; Jack, a Hewitt winner in 2018 and Captain of the Aberdeen University Golf Club whilst an undergraduate is now at Oxford as a post-grad and lining up a place in the Blues side.  Other team members were Jamie Cameron, George Close-Brooks, Tim Lewis and Ben Twiney.

Let’s hope for many more Finals appearances and a win in the near future!

The Darwin Competitions

Darwin

For the first time for many years, we now have a potential team that could compete with the best in the tournament. Without being quite at full strength, we reached the semi-final, falling to Malvern (again) who went on to win the event (again).

The team was:

Tom Hawkings and Tim Rowan-Robinson

David Bonsall and Nyren Scott-Malden

Chris Fell and David Hough

A comfortable 3-0 victory against Wellington was followed by a much closer 2-1 win against a strong Tonbridge team and finally a 1-2 loss to Malvern. The stars of the team were Bonsall and Scott-Malden who won all their matches. Sadly, the President was made to feel his age amongst 3 current Hewitt players against both Tonbridge and Malvern. Even Hawkings was unable to compensate.

Senior Darwin

The team was:

Nyren Scott-Malden & Dayrell Macarthur

Colin Scott-Malden & Christopher Green

Andrew Brownrigg & Tim Rowan-Robinson

A comfortable first round 2 ½ – ½ win against Westminster was followed by yet another defeat at the hands of Malvern by ½ – 2 ½ . Having fielded the same team for some years, we are looking forward to a new intake for this very enjoyable but, in recent years, all too brief event.

Both events were hugely enjoyable, extremely well organised with Woking in great condition.

V Senior Darwin

Our 2 pairs, Michael Wauchope playing with John Sanders and Andrew Brownrigg partnering Christopher Cornell, each scored stableford points in the mid 20’s against the par 80 card, with no handicap shots.

Good fun as usual, though the team were a little shy of the winners score of two rounds in the mid 30’s.

The Alba Trophy

The OWGS team of Tom Hawkings and Nick Holt became the first team representing Winchester to win the Alba Trophy having come close over a few years. In blustery conditions scores of 77 and 76 were good enough to get into a playoff with Malvern – them again!

An extremely scrappy 37th hole was won with a bogey but that was good enough to win the silverware.

Golf in the School and Golf Bursary Fund

In October, the School hosted OWGS for the annual Aldington Match against the boys.  The result is certainly not the main show; more important is the quality of the young OW golfers of the future, their understanding of the game and of its social components.  This was never more exemplified than on Saturday afternoon at Hockley in the wettest round of golf I can remember: our stoical Wykehamist opponents ever-courteous yet gritty, whilst soaked to the skin. 

In the evening, David Bonsall as Chairman of the Golf Bursary Committee hosted a celebratory dinner in College Hall to mark the fund’s gaining its target of £3 million.  The fund’s establishment and success is a tribute to the determination and generosity of David and of John and Richard Sanders and many other generous contributors.

Golf in the School continues to make great progress under the stewardship of Rob Moore.  We haven’t quite had the run in the Micklem that our form on paper might merit but Olly Dickman is one of the best golfers to have come out of the School since Claudio Consul and the depth of school golf is a particularly notable feature.

Other admin:

Ties

The Hon Sec has taken delivery of a batch of OWGS ties which retail at the meagre price of £36 including post and packaging.  Please let Nick know your order.

With best wishes for continued success to OWGS on and off the links and I look forward to seeing you in 2020.