Aldeburgh golf club boasts what an egg-brained tour-pro might euphemistically call a “challenging” golf course. With a miserly par of 69, set against a standard scratch score of 74 from the very tips, Cambridge University Golf Club has, over the years, developed something of a less compromising vocabulary to describe it: in a few words, ‘bloody impossible’. To make matters worse for the Blues, Aldeburgh have, in recent years, been fielding a really very strong team of players – plenty of fairway-bisecting scratch men and hot-puttered 1s and 2s – and while Captain Parkes was grateful to receive news that this Saturday’s side was to be a little bit weaker than usual, Cambridge still knew they were going to need something special if they were going to rock up, golf and conquer at one of Suffolk’s trickiest and most testing venues.
Apparently undeterred from a loss the last time he and Seb Hickman played together, Parkes took the decision to partner Cambridge’s blond bombshell once again and lead the Blues out first. When Hickman
unleashed a 10 yard baby draw way down some 260 odd yards into the centre of the fairway on the 1st, hopes of an early Cambridge point began to climb. Back-spasms (for Parkes) and a spasming driver (for
Hickman) however, soon put paid to any notions of a victory, with the Cambridge pair getting dusted by a comfortable 4&3. Onto match number 2 then. Fresh off yet another strong round in a CUGC medal, Eliot Ebert looked to be the Light Blues man-to-beat. His partner, Rohan Gupta had also been played well of late, and Cambridge were once again nursing thoughts of an upwardly mobile scoresheet. Well, the match score was certainly a high one… one which went wholly in the favour of Aldeburgh’s Mike Jones and James Keely. A self-esteem bludgeoning 6&5 was the margin by which Ebert and Gupta were felled and another point shipped away by the Light Blues. Perhaps Nick Winder and Joe Chandler could supply some much needed light blue on the scoresheet? Or perhaps not. Another demoralising loss was promptly registered and Cambridge were left reliant on a strong final two matches of the morning to keep alive any realistic chance of a comeback in the afternoon rounds. Scouring Aldeburgh’s gorse-lined fairways from the clubhouse, Parkes caught sight of a confident looking Andre Neto-Bradley and Matt Davey loping with a Mcilroy-esque bounce to their steps and trading bolshy-looking fist bumps enroute to the 18th tee. A scout was sent out and word was soon returned that, having won the tough 17th to pull back to all square, Matt and Andre could very probably claim the 18th as well and the much-needed win which the Light Blues had been hoping for. Even the morning bird calls seemed to go silent as Matt Davey mounted the 18th tee, 3 wood in hand to dispatch the final hole’s tee shot. Towering mountains of gorse flanked the fairway left and right, a fairway that seemed to get narrower and narrower as Davey considered the importance of it to the match. A stiffening cross wind buffeted his face, slightly into but mainly off the left; a draw then was needed, to try to hold the ball up into the breeze. Settling into his stance, Davey rolled his wrists over in practice, trying to get a feel for shot. Then, he swung. Davey’s yelping cry signalled trouble from the very start. Evidently the shot was wide, but on which side? A groaning Davey was of no use and it was left to Andre’s eagle-like gaze to pick out the swerving duck hook flying 30-40 yards into a gorse hill away to the left of the course. The ball was never to be found, leaving Colin de la Rue and Nigel Robson to close out the match and the point, and when Douglas Maxwell and Will Trinkwon sloped in, ruing a sequence of 3 putts and a 2&1 defeat, Cambridge were 5-0 behind after the opening session.
Lunch though was a good one. Roast pork, crackling, an impressively-varied spread of vegetables and the most beautiful, fat-studded roast potatoes, which were enlivened by a generous amount of ‘good chat’ (highlights included Chris Robinson’s mystifying admission that he had woken up that morning with James Pearson’s girlfriend – a slip of the tongue, or were relationships among Aldeburgh golfers a lot more freewheeling than those of the Cambridge team? And the usual CUGC banter). A swiftly dipping sun, however, meant that the jibes couldn’t be bandied around too profligately and it wasn’t long before Joe
Chandler and Andre Neto-Bradley were back on the first tee, hoping to springboard an afternoon Aldeburgh whitewash, by securing a W in match 1. Paired as they were though, up against +1 handicapper Ian Kitson and the equally handy Roger Taylor, the rest of the Light Blues weren’t feeling so hopeful and few people were surprised when, despite playing some really good golf, Andre and Joe were defeated very comfortably 4&3. Though this loss meant that Cambridge were technically now unable to halve with Aldeburgh over all, their was still pride and Road to Porthcawl points to be played for. Eliot Ebert and Douglas Maxwell remained unperturbed by Andre and Joe’s early tumble, putting like the Tiger Woods of the early noughties to come in with a well-deserved 2&1 triumph over Andy Edmond and James Keely. Rohan Gupta and Nick Winder, also playing well, looked certain to follow them in, but a late run of bogeys saw them fritter away a 1 up lead to fall to Logan Mair and Nigel Robson on the last. Adam Parkes and Will Trinkwon also briefly looked like chalking up a W, with Captain Parkes putting in a valiant effort considering his ailing back, but a quartet of lost balls over the final 4 holes (2 Trinkwon’s, 2 Parkes’) saw them also throw away their small advantage and in the end went down 2&1. When Matt Davey and Seb Hickman trudged in after only 14 holes, having lost soundly 5&4, all that was left was for the Light Blues to make the most of their complimentary post-match beverages, say their polite goodbyes and then peg it back to Cambridge.
9-1 to Aldeburgh in the end and a scoreline to forget for the Light Blues.