As October drew to a close and the weather forecast promised one final weekend of good weather the Blues readied themselves in anticipation for their trip into Norfolk to play Royal West Norfolk and Hunstanton.
With Maxwell, Parkes and Entwisle hot off playing Varsity at Brancaster the year before their excitement at the first return trip had spread to the whole team, with many freshers keen for their first Branny experience. The tide receded just in time for the whole team to pull into the clubhouse, the sun rose to reveal a clear blue sky, and the lack of even a breath of wind ensured there would not be an excuse to be had.
Out top Hickman and Parkes found themselves with an early lead of 4 up after 6 holes, however a series of tops and jibbed putts respectively saw the pair lose the following 7 in succession. Despite almost losing on the 15th due to a mathematical error they managed to win holes 16 and 17 to go down the last, where their par was to prove insufficient to secure a half. In a much simpler match Entwisle and Maxwell secured a comprehensive victory out second. Winder and Descroix were out third and lost on the 16th and Shah and Ebert, out last, lost on 15. In the fourth match Slim and Blake found themselves 1 up on the 18th tee and hopes were high that a relatively even lunchtime score would be achieved. Those hopes were quickly snuffed by a 150 yard Blake hook off the tee out of bounds. The score at lunch was 3.5-1.5.
In the afternoon Maxwell eased to another early victory, this time with Winder. Parkes and Ebert came up against a Hardy family pairing on form and were beaten early. Out third Slim, partnered with Descroix, yet again found himself on the last 1 up and yet again could only secure the half. Hickman, rejuvenated from the ill effects of a college bop by a hearty Norfolk lunch, succeeded in avoiding no less drama in the afternoon. Having attempted to take out Entwisle on the 6th with what was dubiously described as a “glorious” shank, on the 9th he really embraced Hogan’s rule that golf is a game of opposites by achieving the seemingly impossible and moving the ball 3 feet backwards with a full 9 iron. The pair lost on 17. Blake and Shah, in the final match of the day, were 2 down with three to play and managed to get to the final green all square. Blake, seeking to redeem himself from the morning, managed to roll in a 20-foot putt for the birdie and the final win of the day for the Blues. The match was narrowly lost 6-4.
In the evening Parkes, Descroix, Ebert and Blake were hosted by Mr Andrew Tusa, while the other six were put up by Mr Minnow Powell. While the first group were being treated to the musical delights of the Jolly Sailors, being puzzled for 15 minutes by a corkscrew, and using profligate Admiral Nelson memorabilia to destroy some of the patriotism Descroix had got from the Chantilly delegation also at Brancaster that day, the other group, preparing for the next day’s post lunch round, were granted the opportunity to test out their hand-eye co-ordination while ‘under the influence’ with some, perhaps too competitive, attempts at Bagatelle, and somehow Shah achieved the new nickname of ‘Magic.’
Sunday saw the Varsity return of those who had played for the Stymies, and with the Brancaster vs. Hunstanton debate bubbling in the locker room all were glad to emerge to a similarly serene day.
Sticking to the principle that if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all, I will simply report that Cambridge were 5-0 down at lunch.
After lunch the top group of Winder and Slim worryingly seemed to follow the morning’s form, their highlight supposefly being an all-out top by Slim at 5 down with 7 to play. Similarly, despite a strong start of being 3 up at the turn, Hickman and Blake in the group behind found the curse of the tops and they went down 17 1 down. With a small crowd of early finishers gathered, however, Hickman managed to thread a 3 wood to 15 foot, win the hole and halve the last for a drawn match. Parkes and Descroix, out third, had had their fair share of tops as well, and were 3 down with 5 to play. However a string of good shots likewise had them 1 down on the 17th tee. Descroix, persisting with the driver in spite of all odds, finally connected and left Parkes with a similar 3 wood to the one he had just watched. Not one to be outdone Parkes managed to follow Hickman in to 6 foot for the win on 17 and the 18th was similarly halved. Maxwell and Ebert had won early with a classic CUGC score of “3 under, provided you leave out a couple of holes.” With the team finally feeling some momentum Shah and Entwisle put on a late comeback from dormy three down to only lose when the opposition holed a 4-footer on the last. The afternoon was narrowly lost 3-2.