The Grafton Morrish is an annual golf tournament contested by public schools from all over the UK (http://www.graftonmorrish.org.uk/). The format is scratch foursomes with each team fielding 3 pairs of former school members. Sedbergh have won the title on a number of occasions in the past, however sadly not for a good few years. I am delighted to say however, that there have been signs of a revival in both form and fortunes in recent years, with appearances in the final of the plate competition in 2010 and the quarterfinals of the main competition in 2011.
Before I embark upon a brief round-up of the various notable on-course performances, I think I should first pass on a few words of thanks to Alastair Smith for once again sourcing such excellent accommodation for the team.
After a solid performance at the qualifying tournament, confidence was high in the Sedbergh camp before the first-round match against Hymers at Brancaster G.C. The match was competitive and played to a very high standard and with Sedbergh’s first pair of Henry Flather and Charles Webb completing a comfortable victory, the stage was set for Charles Abraham and Will Jeffries to secure the win for Sedbergh on the last hole after a spirited fight back from Hymer’s second pair.
The second round saw Sedbergh take on George Heriot’s, consistently one of the favorites and regular winners of the tournament. As an illustration of the task ahead for Sedbergh: when asked by Charles Abraham what his young opponent did for a living, his opponent’s reply was quick and clear: “I play golf”. Suffice is to say, Heriot’s second pair seemed a little shell-shocked when some 3 hours later Charles and Will completed a 3 & 1 victory, leaving Sedbergh needing only 1 point to secure a place in the next round. With Heriot’s holding a resounding lead in match 1, all eyes turned to Henry Flather and Charles Webb in match 3, where the Edinburgh side had fought back strongly from dormy 3 down to reach all square after 18 holes and take the match (and the momentum) into a sudden death playoff. What followed was classic foursomes drama and typical of the Grafton Morrish. With both teams in good position off the tee, Sedbergh’s second shot finished in a treacherous greenside bunker with Heriot’s finishing in the rough, short and left of the green. Charles Webb then played an outstanding bunker shot to leave Sedbergh 8 feet away, with Heriots then playing one of the shots of the day to shave the hole with their approach and leave a 2 foot putt up the hill for a par. While the Sedbergh pair were further from the hole, crucially they were putting first and up stepped Henry Flather, who despite having 6 inches recently chopped from the top of his putter, calmly rolled in his downhill, left to right putt to the delight of his team mates and the amassed spectators..! Heriot’s subsequently missed their 2 foot putt, sending Sedbergh through to face a very strong Clifton side in the last 16 at Hunstanton G.C.
Hunstanton G.C. is known for its fast greens but this year there was also an abundance of thick rough making low scoring a challenge. Despite this, the match was played to a very high standard, with the majority of holes seemingly won with birdies, not pars. With two very evenly matched sides, this was always going to be a close fixture. This proved to be the case, as Henry Flather and Charles Webb delivered an excellent performance to convincingly win the 1st match, while Clifton took match 3 with some consistently strong scoring. This left Sedbergh’s hopes of a quarter final place in the hands of Will Jeffries and Charles Abraham in match 2. In a low scoring match, with both sides playing some excellent golf, (including an outstanding birdie 3 from the Sedbergh pair on the devilishly difficult 17th hole), the match reached the 18th tee all square. Both sides were in good shape off the tee but narrowly missed the steeply raised 18th Green and after an indifferent short game display from both sides, Clifton managed to hole a tricky 10 foot putt to win the match and end Sedbergh’s 2016 campaign.
This year was another very positive performance for the Sedbergh team and one that has certainly helped to maintain the momentum built up over the last few years. Once again, thanks to all those OS who represented the School this year, (both in the Qualifying and the Finals tournaments).
We have been very fortunate to recruit some excellent new additions to the Grafton Morrish squad over the last few years, however we are always on the look-out for OS golfers with single figure handicaps. If you would like to get involved, please contact the OS club or myself directly (my contact details can be found on the OS Golf List).
Will Jeffries (Sedgwick House, 1995-99).
The following OS represented the school at this year’s finals tournament Picture – (from left to right):
Charles Webb – Jack McKenzie – Charles Abraham – Henry Flather – Alastair Smith – Will Jeffries.