As a result of winning the Southern Federation’s AC Handicap League (Northern division), we were pitted against Winchester (Southern division winners) in a final held at Blewbury this week. Our team, Alan Clark (1.5), Geoff Johnson (3), Keith Pound (5) and Robin Morrison (14) were given a warm welcome from the hosting club who made sure the teams were supplied with copious tea, coffee and biscuits. This was particularly appreciated because the cold wind was biting.
The morning saw Geoff and Keith play singles, whilst Alan and Robin were paired in the doubles. Many bisques were given away since the opposition’s handicaps were 2.5, 9, 12 and 14, but we managed an assured start and went into lunch 3-0 up. Only 1 more win would see us victorious.
However, during the afternoon as we played singles against our opposite numbers, we began questioning what ‘superfood’ Winchester had had for lunch! We seemed unable to get on the lawns and the four of us stood on the sidelines marvelling at the skill demonstrated by the opposition, defying their higher handicaps. After 1 hour, Keith came off having lost 2-26, followed shortly after by Alan, 1-26 and Geoff, 4-26. It was the stuff of nightmares.
That left Robin in a ding-dong battle with Jan, a lady with a GC handicap of 2, who clearly knew how to handle a mallet. This match was not going to finish early. Each player would make 2 or 3 hoops and then relinquish the break to the other. For a long period there were few hoops between them and nobody could relax. Certainly the tension in the clubhouse was palpable. However, as we have experienced before, Robin was well able to cope with the tension and managed to slowly pull a few more hoops ahead. When time was called Jan’s task was just too great to catch him and we rushed to congratulate Robin on a special performance.
We were presented the cup by Martin Brandt, the AC Leagues Manager, who made a special trip after work in London to be with us. The trip home was made in good humour, with Robin pointing out that in the afternoon, each of his 2 balls had scored more hoops than the total scored by the other players’ 6 balls! As a result of our victory, High Wycombe will play in next season’s Secretary’s Shield knockout, representing the Southern Federation against all the other English Federations.