Welcome to the August Update...ooops! I am indebted to the many of you who applauded the long gap between this pile of nonsense and the previous update, but latterly a number of you have complained about insomnia, so I thought I had better present a solution. It is not that there has been no activity....it is because there has been so much activity, there has been so little time to write.
As the hedonism that is Eldership spreads, more old men seek us out. The latest two are Niall Fitzgerald and David Berry, who I know you will make most welcome. If there are others I have forgotten about, please send me your first complaint and I will rectify it. I have also been contacted by an enthusiastic club member warning me of the approach of his 55th birthday! This is a first, but a welcome one.
Elders Away Day - Peterborough Milton Golf Club
For those of you who did not read the excellent report on the main Gogs website, or who can't wait to read it again, here it is!
"Elders take on Milton
No this isn't a learned treatise on poetry, but an attempt to report on the Elders Away Day at Peterborough Milton Golf Club on Wednesday 17 July. On a glorious summers day with a gentle breeze 33 old men clambered around an increasingly exciting golf course. The further you got, the better it became with attractive dog legs, revetted bunkers and fast immaculate undulating greens that were too good for most of us. The par 3's were all different, and all exciting. James Braid knew what he was doing when he laid this one.
The winner of our stableford competition off full handicap was Neil McPhater with a score of 38 points. I witnessed this remarkable round. Boring and ordinary for 9 holes, scoring only 15 points, Neil was spurred into greater feats on the back 9 after a failed putt on the 10th green which finished up ten feet behind him, much to the amusement of his playing partners. Not one to enjoy such humiliation he scored 23 on the back nine! Close behind were the Jones boys, both on 37 points, with Morley pipping Robert to second place after countback on the back 6. A host of other prizes were spread evenly around, but you tell me you get bored if I go on too long....Those that didn't get a bottle seemed happy enough with their Chicken and Mushroom Pie followed by Sticky Toffee Pudding."
Ten matches have taken place since my last admonishment.....but to my amazement we have won 4, halved 2 and lost only 4. Completely neutral you might say, but believe you me this is an improvement. Well done! The losses were 6-2 away at Knebworth (my fault), 5-3 away at John O'Gaunt, 7-1 away at Brampton Park, and 5 1/2 - 2 1/2 away at Ramsey. A 4/4 halving away at both Bishop's Stortford and The Cambridgeshire, is a moral victory. Glory shines from our home victories against Newmarket Links (5-3), Wellingborough (4 1/2 - 3 1/2) and Knebworth (5 1/2 - 2 1/2) (my fault!). The Victor Ludorum must however go to Brian Hayden-Smith, who not only took on Jim McMenemy's captaincy at relatively short notice, but returned from Thetford with a 1 1/2 - 6 1/2 victory. What a hero!......oh, wait a minute, some late news in my earpiece......"he was one of the pair who left the course (3 up) at Bishop's Stortford because of a sprinkle of rain at the 9th and claimed the match because the Stortford lads failed to beat them on the snooker table, while everyone else continued to play golf". This sounds like the start of a scandal. I am steering well clear of it!.
So, four-fifths through the season, we have won 10, lost 15 and halved 4, a 41% record by my reckoning. However, with 7 matches to go, 6 of which are at home, could mediocrity be reached? The seven remaining fixtures are: 9/9 Kings Lynn (a) team announced, 13/9 John O'Gaunt (h) team announced, 16/9 Bury St Edmunds (h) Mike Lindop cogitating, 20/9 Mid Herts (h) 15/16 team announced (speak to Tim Gross), 27/9 Ely City (h), 30/9 St Neots (h) and 4/10 Haverhill (h). As ever, keep your eyes on the notice board and sign-up.
David Latham, who has been running the Kings Lynn fixture for 94 years, has, not unreasonably asked to be set free after the match on 9 September. Accordingly I am looking for a volunteer to take on the captainship of this prestige fixture from 2020 onwards. Please flood my inbox with offers.
There was of course that other match. The one against the Juniors, where we were soundly and comprehensively thrashed 5-0. The kids today have no respect for the elderly! It was great fun on a glorious day, and a real joy to see such talent (grrh!). Many thanks to Brian Hayden-Smith for organising this and reporting on it on the main Gogs website (Junior Section). I particularly liked the line "...10 Juniors, with a range of handicaps from 3 to 45 took on 10 Elders, with an age range of 57 to 81...." Check it out.
As squeaky-bum time approaches for the summer competitions, some familiar names are coming to the fore. I am pleased to report that my campaign to dethrone the Green Guru from the top of the leaderboard in the Wandlebury Eclectic has been at least temporarily successful with Richard Gamble peaking on 66 after four rounds, followed by GG (galloping behind?) on 67, and Paul Jackson and (unbelievably on current form!) Ed Davidson on 69. In the Munro Cup, Nick Lloyd and John Cross must fight it out to play Chris Reynolds in the final, Chris having defeated Derek Burton in the other semi-final. The Summer League groups have now been concluded and the first knockout stages completed....I know, I'm out! In the semi-finals we have Robert Jones v Chris Reynolds (again!) and Paul Jackson v the Green Guru (again!).
Just when you thought you were in the middle of Summer, the Winter Competition sign-up sheets have appeared. Peter Shawdon has diligently prompted me to bring your attention to the fact that the Winter League Sign-up and Payment deadline is 11 September. I have heard he can be ruthless. You have been warned! Don Kelly has posted the sign-up sheet for the Winter Foursomes. There is a draw for partners in this competition and there is now no handicap restriction. There will be a deadline ("Winter is Coming" Game of Thrones) but in line with my manifesto promises I have no idea
when it is. (I do now....13 September).
Feats , Flukes and Foul-ups
There have been few contributions from my fanbase, but I am indebted to Brian Hayden-Smith for an excellent photograph of a ball perched in a bush 18" above the ground on the 13th of the Old, which my photographic department can't print, and a long diatribe from Digby Long, which of course I am reluctant to publish. But if I am to encourage you lot to contribute, I must publish at least an extract, even if the full version had me in tears by the end!
" I played in the county seniors championship recently held on our Wandlebury course. I played 2 under my handicap of 10, going round in 8 over par. I played the easier back nine first, finishing that 1 over par gross, but then turned into the strong wind on the back nine, and just could not reach some of the greens in regulation. However, everyone was finding it tough. For example, one low handicapper took 12 on the 18th, whilst I parred it.
So I finished in second place in my net category, the over 70's, behind Neil (Nelly) Hughes. In fact I finished something like sixth equal in the scratch. By far and away the best performance I have had in a proper competition in years. It just all came together- the chipping and putting especially, plus some decent straight hitting. Needless to say, I have not been able to reproduce that form, either before or since, but I would say this was my proudest ever moment in my golfing career, and I was glad to be able to represent the Elders of our club so well."
Well played Digby.
Finally, I have spurred some interaction from the three or four Elders who actually got to the end of my last update. They all entered the Limerick Competition, hoping to win the prize of publication and an accolade. I will mention Richard Burgess in dispatches, but cannot publish his two entries because one was, shall we say, unsuitable (though much enjoyed!) and the other was seven verses long and off the internet! In all honesty it did not occur to me that I personally might be the target for your creativity. How naïve! In fact, I have to report there was no other subject matter, so the following is a diatribe of public humiliation for me which I will seek to bear with fortitude:
There was an old chap called Roddy,
Whose Updates had so much body,
If you think he's verbose,
You're not even close,
But at least his prose is not shoddy! Mike Day
There was an elder named Roddy
Who had an exceedingly fine Body
All covered in Hair
And shaped like a Bear
But at best was still a bit Shoddy! Allan Coughlin
Disqualified from the competition, because it is not in a five line anapaestic meter, is this opus from my arch-friend the Sloth Bear, who has clearly been talking to my Golden Retriever, Ringo (who he only knows as Ruff), and wishes to make a point or two. Sadly, it was accompanied by a fine photograph of Ringo wearing my Elders pullover which the photographic department have failed to reproduce.
Great Wilbraham sent a duffer
To make the Elders suffer at the Gogs
Endless bloggs and banter
He even dressed as Santa!
His game is really cricket
Maybe he couldnt stick it
He liked a bit of rough
And found the going rather tough!
Barked Ruff enough's enough
From this deceiver
Duff after duff
Just too much for this retriever!
Oh what a disaster
To have a rotten master
I'm not a stupid pup
I've had enough to heed your call
There is no trust your flush is bust
I can't be fussed to fetch the ball
Enough's enough said Ruff!
He hid behind his greying beard
And feared the wrath and lair
Of sloth the bear
He'd named and shamed!
League and Eclectic
To put to shame
Who could not suffer
The shame he could not face
To always be in second place!
The Accolade goes to..........all three of you.
I look forward to hearing from you about all the things I had promised to put in the Update, but which have failed to appear.