The tourists have returned and another successful week has been enjoyed in Lancashire and Cumbria.

3 OSs plus their host Donald Mackay played at Royal Lytham St Anne’s on Tuesday 10th May: then 10 OSs played at Fairhaven GC on Wednesday 11th: 12 OSs played against the School team at Lancaster GC on Thursday 12th – and the School team included an OS member of staff John Liddiard!: and finally 7 OSs played at Carus Green GC, Kendal, on Friday 13th. Some of the group then stayed on to attend the opening of the refurbished Pepperpot at Sedbergh on Saturday 14th followed by a 1525 Foundation Lunch.

Royal Lytham is a tremendous course and a challenge, made rather more difficult on the day for our 4 players – Donald Mackay, Robert Kendall, Andrew Mawby and Barry Aitken – by the wind and the rain. We played the ‘red course’ which is 6731 yds long and a couple of the par 5s into the wind required a lot of effort!  Barry Aitken’s net 77, four over standard scratch, was probably the best score but we were all just thrilled to be playing such a super course.  Afterwards it was straight back to the Birley Arms Hotel to dry out and enjoy a modest libation.

At Fairhaven, the sun came out! There was still a breeze so the holes into the wind were a test, but the 10 of us – we had been joined by Miles Moffat, Phillip Cropper, Richard Landolt, Richard Witt, John Walford and Mike Grundy – were delighted to be on the course which had been denied to the players last year [because it was waterlogged]. Richard Witt was clearly the man in form and, playing off 5, came in with 37 points and this included a double-bogey 6 on the par four 14th! Andrew, Mike , Miles, Robert and John all came in with 30 points or more.  That evening in the Birley Arms, the libations were a little less modest and the decibel level somewhat higher !

On to Lancaster!  The School team, skippered by George Phelan, included two single handicap players, Archie Davies [3] and Lewis Smith [9]. It was a lovely sunny day, with a breeze, and three of the OS pairings managed to beat their opponents but the other three lost by a greater margin and so the overall match was won by the School with a total of 323 stableford points to 305. Robert Kendall [33] and Miles Moffat [29] were the best OS pair with 62 stableford points and Archie Davies [37] and Harry Heathcote [22] the best School pair with 59 points.  It was a very enjoyable day – both teams said so – followed by a very convivial evening in the clubhouse.

Prizes:  Best overall individual player was Archie Davies, with Robert Kendall second.  Kendall, Moffat, Davies and Heathcote were the Best Overall team. Best OS pair was Kendall and Moffat; Best School pair was Davies and Heathcote. The longest drive was won by James Botham with a monster 280 yds uphill into the wind!  Nearest the pin, on the 18th, was won by Archie Davies. And finally the silver Claret Jug was presented by OS Club President John Walford to team captain George Phelan.

After the meal, prizes were presented by John Walford and George Phelan made a very good speech thanking the OSs. We were also very pleased to be joined by Ben Collins, Secretary of the OS Club.

The following day 7 OSs travelled further north to play Carus Green GC in Kendal. The club is owned by OS Graham Curtin who sadly was in Portugal at the time, and Carus Green is where the school golfers travel to on Thursdays for coaching. The course itself is very flat and not long, involves quite a lot of water, opens and closes with a par 3, enjoys some great views and the club has possibly some of the best accommodation and facilities found anywhere on the golf circuit!

Looking forward to the 2017 match, the School are keen to continue with Lancaster GC as the venue and have already stated that a Thursday is a preferred day for the match.  So now planning can begin for the other courses that touring OSs might play before and perhaps after the match.  If you have a suggestion, please let Barry Aitken know. The School has also said that they could increase the size of their team to 18 – so could the OSs match that?

Barry Aitken
(SH 59-64)