Surrey A Team v Reigate Heath 26th October 2019
My Favourite fixture of the year….. The World-Famous Reigate Heath Golf Club!
9 Greens, 18 Tee Boxes and one of the best heath land golf courses anywhere in Britain!
It was just a shame that this year’s match was going to be dominated by the bad weather, and that any minute now England were about to kick off against The All Blacks in the Rugby World Cup final, and we’d all be on the golf course instead! 🙈
So, fuelled up by coffee and bacon (and the odd smartphone sharing the rugby results at hand), we all wondered down to the first tee, waterproofs at the ready and hoped the weather would hold off for as long as possible!
Straight off an amazing 2-0 start to his Surrey career last week at Roehampton, I though best to pair the young Sam Hessian with myself first out to see what this young man was made of!
As it turns out, it’s quite stern stuff as we took an early 4 up lead through just 5 holes against the new course record holder Luke Crampton and experienced Tony Whitty.
Luke’s new course record of 64 just couple of week ago, had broken a previous record that seemed to stand for decades, especially given that the course is over 120 years old!
Still, it wasn’t to be for Luke and Tony today as Sam and I were just too good in the morning holding on to this early lead by making 3 unbelievable up-and-downs on 13, 14 and 15, before I calmly rolled in a 30 foot birdie putt on 16 to win the match 4&2.
Next up saw Peter Aitkin making his Surrey Debut playing with the ‘Postman’ Phil Brittain.
Phil ensured he delivered on-time today helping Peter to his first victory against Reigate Heath Captain Hugh Maurice and Giles Pickford 5&4.
4th out for Surrey, and 1st back into the clubhouse, saw Surrey County First Team Player Ben Palmer and former Reigate Heath member James Molyneux put on a show against Charlie Maurice and Jon Richards. A display of golf that was faultless from the start rewarding them and Surrey with a 6&4 victory.
Then the wait began…… Groups 1, 2 and 4 were all back in the clubhouse, safely in the dry as the rain started to drizzle.
Where was group number 3? 🤷♀️
The experienced John Morgan was playing with another Surrey debutant Justin King in the 3rd match against the former Reigate Heath scratch captain Rob Wicks and Henry Fray.
A match that saw the home team show complete dominance from the start going 5 up through 9 holes!
A match that, despite this early masterclass from the Reigate Heath players, was still out there in the rain for some time to come!
5 down, 4 down, 3 down, 2 down, 1 down, Surrey were pushing back, and by the time they got to the 18th Tee the Surrey pair of John and Justin were amazingly now 1up!
Poised for a great Surrey comeback having won 6 of the last 8 holes, this match was still on!
Then finally, the last group made their way into the clubhouse.
“What happed Rob?” I asked the Reigate Heath player as he walked over to his table.
“Oh, we sadly lost down the last, but we were only 1 up at the turn though, great match”
“Really, that’s not what I’ve heard” I said.
“That’s my story and I’m sticking to it 🙄” Said Rob as both the Surrey Boys gave him a grin!
(We all know better! Sorry Rob 😁)
So, as the weather turned to the worse, we got stuck into 2 courses of fine cuisine starting with a Smoked Haddock Scotch Egg followed by a hearty beef stew.
In previous years, Reigate’s reputation for a decent lunch has always been spectacular, but their recent acquisition of Michelin Star Chef Tony Torbin has taken the dining experience from spectacular to truly out of this world!
This was all served with plenty of wine and ‘The Captains Port’ that really does make this event truly unique.
I suppose I’ve had worst days! 😉
Then, as the weather report said the heavy stuff was due down about 3pm, Hugh and I made the decision to make the afternoon’s singles matches 9 holes only.
A decision that was met with cheers rather than boos from two teams of well lubricated players!
So, Surrey were 4-0 up, and just like last year that saw a similar lead dwindle to just a halved match overall, we couldn’t take anything for granted.
Reigate Heath were a team of formidable players, and as many can testify, a team truly difficult to beat after a big lunch and suitable amounts of alcohol!
Out first, Ben Palmer could only get a half in match one against Luke Crampton, and Phil “The Postman” Brittain seemed to misplace his delivery van again wrapping himself up and handing the victory to Rob Wicks 2&1.
Then Rookie Peter Aitken steadied the ship a little getting a half against Tony Whitty to remain unbeaten for his first match for Surrey.
Next saw another defeat as former Reigate Heath Member James Molyneux went down to Giles Pickford 3&1 and Surrey were looking a little shaky!
From a 4-0 lead, the overall score now stood at 5-3 and a repeat of 2018 looked eminent! 😳
“I really must pick a Surrey Team for this match better at drinking and playing” I though to myself!
Then came the young dynamite of Sam Hessian with his 4th win in as many games for Surrey defeating Reigate Heath Captain Hugh Maurice 4&3, followed by another strong performance from myself to beat Henry Fray 4&2.
Job done! Phew!
Justin King then returned another good finish to half his match with Charlie Maurice to keep a clean sheet in his first match for Surrey too.
The final match in was between the two Johns and was played just ahead of my match against Henry.
This meant I was able to see some of the more ‘peculiar’ places the guys hit it!
None more so than standing on the 16th tee watching Jon Richards from Reigate Heath play a delightful shot from the middle of the fairway, while John Morgan from Surrey was only just in my camera phones screen way off to the right.
If I didn’t know any better, I’d think he was just watching from the side lines! 😂
Sorry John 😉
John did go on to graciously gift defeat to Jon Richards 1up as the Reigate Heath Member was just too solid on the day.
Reigate Heath 4.5
I would like to thank Hugh, Amanda and Tony for their wonderful hospitality, great team spirit and amazing food, and I cannot wait to bring the Team back again next year.
Surrey A Team Captain.
The Magnificent Clubhouse
there is a second player out there, just visible with his red County waterproof on....!
Smoked Haddock Scotch Egg
and very hearty and warming beef stew
...with The Captains Port !!