Other matches are different, though still enjoyable. The quiet setting up. Finding the flags. Pacing out the halfway markers. Getting the kitchen ready. Greeting the visitors as they arrive in their ones and twos. Old acquaintances or new faces? “Would you like coffee or tea?” What are the handicaps to write on the match sheet? First thoughts about who’s likely to be a tough opponent. Out on to the lawns to see how fast they’re playing today.
The morning’s doubles. All square at lunchtime. More conversation in the clubhouse, then checking who gives bisques to whom for the afternoon’s singles. A different dynamic, one to one, quiet or chatty. Eight figures, white on green. Each person playing their own game, thinking hard. Quiet smiles when a shot works. “Good shot.” Looks to the sky when it doesn’t. The afternoon passes.
Back to the clubhouse for tea, cake and banter. Watching the last pair finish their quiet struggle. A long hoop run closes the match. Six-all. Seems about right.
“More tea? Thanks for the match. Safe journey home.” Washing up. Gathering up the gear. Someone’s come up to practice, so we can leave the gate to them.