After the dramatic climax to the regular summer season, a calm descended at Ash Valley. To kick start the winter programme, a specially arranged Match Play Pairs event was organised to welcome our new Members to the Ash Valley family. Quite fittingly the result ended in a 2-2 draw with Malcolm Rosborough holing the important putt on 17 to salvage victory in the last game. As the trophy was shared, the match will be rearranged for this year’s winter schedule.
The October Midweek Stableford was badly hit by the weather and attracted only three combatants. John Hawkins romped to victory with 30 points with Mick Saterlay (25) and Danny Doyle (21) filling the other two podium places.
Saturdays Monthly Stableford fared slightly better with 12 participants. Mark Forster’s blistering round accumulated him the grand total of 41 points, he ended up 7 points clear of runner up Karl Brown who returned a respectable 34. Marks return netted him a two shot reduction in his handicap. Mark Dowling’s fair showing with 32 secured third spot while John Hawkins again amassed 30 in fourth.
The Rosborough Cup
The 26th October was a rather poignant day not only as it hosts the annual “Ryder Cup” style battle between the Captain’s and Vice Captain’s team it also doubles up as the club presentation day. This Rosborough Cup would also see our long suffering Club Professional, Steve Barker leave us for pastures new.
Both sides seemed well balanced on paper but what happened on the course even stunned Steve Barker as the results came in. Captain John Dixon and Vice-Captain Alan Smith shared a creditable point and shook hands on the 18th all square. Steve Monks, Graham Jackson, Dave White and Karl Brown (all Captains team) returned victorious over Adam Hicks, Alan Best, Don Brown and Peter Phillips respectively. With the team scores at 4.5 – 0.5 some respite for the hapless Vice Captain followed by Mick O’Connor defeating Gerry Smith 2&1.
However the Vice Captain’s new found optimism was short lived as the James O’Sullivan returned victorious 5&4 over the luckless John Procter to seal victory for the Captain’s team. Kev Tomkins and John Hawkins shared the spoils while Matt Squires handsomely defeated the summers Golfer of the year, Samuel Knight by another 5&4 score line. The result that followed shocked even the most ardent of members when Jonathan Knight (now trying to follow in his sons footsteps), thumped veteran Malcolm “Mr Ash Valley” Rosborough by a rare “Dog Licence” – 7&6. Keith Squirrell and Ian Clibbon drew each securing half a point and in the final game Andy Wincott grabbed a much needed point for the Vice-Captain, defeating Brian Umney 6&5.
Match result was a resounding 8.5 to 3.5 in favour of the Captain’s side meaning John Dixon is only the second Captain to have won the trophy as both Vice Captain and Captain a feat only achieved previously by Mark Forster.
Once everyone had enjoyed the hospitality of the clubhouse banquet, Steve Barker hosted the presentation ceremony with his usual aplomb. Young Samuel Knight made off with a wheelbarrow load of trophies he truly deserved from the summer. When all trophies had been awarded, Steve gave an emotional thank you speech to the gathered hoards, who respectfully listened in total silence except for the odd roar of approval where appropriate.
Steve in his usual manner thanked the Dixon family for all the support they had given him through his injury recovery period, the green keeping team, clubhouse staff and all the members who had made his tenure at Ash Valley so special.
Steve was then asked to “putt out” on the putting green (an honour only bestowed on the out-going Captain) but of course as it was Steve, the Committee had a slight surprise in store. Having addressed the ball and lined up his putt he was aghast to see the ball go only a few feet and come to a grinding halt. Somebody who will remain nameless had switched the ball for an “unputtaball” (sorry Steve, couldn’t resist). The assembled throng whooped with laughter at Steve’s astonishment then realisation he’d been set up. After returning to the clubhouse, Steve was presented with a beautiful vintage “Arnold Palmer” polished brass putter, on a bespoke table/wall mount by Malcolm Rosborough and was heartily thanked for all he’d done for the club.
Novembers Midweek Stableford again only attracted a disappointing field of three. Chris Morris (29), Keith Flight (25) and Alan Webb (18), the only participants. The annual Foursomes Plate followed on the 9th. The timeless pairing of Dowling/Forster (32) clinching a narrow two point victory over Squires/Lines and Garnar/Bevan both 30 points. Should the club be invited back to the England Golf Amateur Sixes, the two Marks also won the honour of representing the club in 2020.
In stark contrast to its Midweek equivalent, the November Monthly Stableford attracted a much larger field. Graham Jackson’s net 36 points gave him the narrowest of margin victories over Jonathan Knight (35). Other notable performances where from Peter Phillips (32), Alan Best (31) and Adam Hicks (30), the only other players to score 30+ from the 17 entrants.
The ever popular 3 Club Challenge made its anticipated return at the end of November and was considerably well supported given the atrocious weather conditions. Mick O’Connor made a welcome return to form with an impressive 35 points giving him a one point victory over the ever present Karl Brown. One of our new members Steve Garnar again featured high on the leader board backing up creditable performances in the Foursomes and the newly re-instated night golf earlier in the month.
Medal or Stableford Winners throughout the year
Trophy Winners and Runner Ups