Halford Hewitt 2009 – Report by Chris Swallow OT Golf Team Captain
Trent returned to Royal St Georges for the 2009 campaign. Talented rookie Joe Tulley ( 2000 – 2005) joined a squad of Chris Swallow, Ian Birch, Nick Peplow, Jon Carter, Stuart Carlisle, John Bailey, Rob Cox, Greg Roberts, Tom Rolfe and Nile Goulding. Sadly Ali Wakefield was unavailable due to taking a year off on a ski season.
The first round match was drawn against Felsted on the Thursday. Carter & Rolfe out first pairing struggled from the off and took a heavy defeat.
However, Birch & Tulley out at three and Peplow & Bailey out five had comfortable wins 5&4 and 4&3 respectively. Carlisle & Cox won their match 2&1 which left Swallow & Roberts who were halved in their match to walk in giving Trent a very comfortable win 3.5 -1.5.
On Friday our surprise opponents were St Pauls who had beaten a strong Liverpool team in their first round match. Carter and Goulding went out first and had a commendable win 2&1. Birch and Tulley,our strongest pair going out three, uncharacteristically found a number of the very penal bunkers and lost their game 2&1.
Carlisle & Cox had a high quality battle at two, but lost 2&1. Swallow & Roberts won their game 5&3 leaving the result in the balance and to be decided by Peplow & Bailey the fifth and anchor pair.
Sitting reasonably comfortably we were three up with four to play. Our opponents then put together a high class run of three holes paring them all with a fine up and down from the sand on the 17th. Both pairs hit quality tee shots and second shots into the green on the 18th. Bailey struck a solid putt to par the hole meaning St Pauls had to hole a 15 footer for a birdie to continue the match which to Trent ‘s dismay they managed to do. Most tour professionals would be proud to finish one under on four of the toughest finishing holes on the Open rota as our opponents had just managed to do to us!!!
We were still in the game going down the 19th. Both pairs missed the green, Trent in the stronger position being just off, our opponents being in the front trap.
St Pauls splashed out giving both an opportunity to close out the game. Bailey, first to putt, managed to catch the hole and just lipped out, so when the opposition failed to hole we were down the 20th.
At this stage the tension was palpable. Some would much prefer to be playing and in the mix, others cannot even bear to watch. Either way this is argued to be the essence of the Halford Hewitt – extra holes in front of an expectant group of spectators.
Bailey hit a great drive down the middle, while our opponents hit it wide and right. However, both pairs managed to get to the green front in three strokes. St Pauls finished in regulation two strokes while Trent had three putts and lost the match 3 -2. The sense of disappointment was immense.
We took heart from one of the best Trent performances in recent years and look forward to returning with the likelihood of a stronger team again next year.
Anyone playing golf to a single figure handicap who would like to involve themselves in the squad and matches should call Chris Swallow on 07710 324047