Father Christmas arrived early for the Christmas Scramble and brought with him a sack full of festive prizes, raffle presents, and auction items.Despite the very best efforts of the rain to cause the cancellation of the day, the clouds parted just in time for this end of season fixture to go ahead and then, when everyone were back in the Clubhouse, the heavens opened again with a vengeance.With most other local courses out of action because of heavy rain and wet conditions, The Berkshire remained open with the Red Course, number 34 in the list of leading UK golf courses, proving just why it is so highly rated.There were mince pies to enjoy while playing, hot drinks and brandies at the half way stage, a traditional Roast Turkey Christmas lunch and full carvery with all the trimmings followed by mouth-watering puddings.Taking part in the Scramble was the Society’s President, Lord Rothermere, who entered his own team “The Famous Five” of Mail Newspaper’s M.D. Guy Zitter; Daily Mail columnist Peter McKay; feature writer Geoff Levy and cartoonist MAC.Despite the wet conditions, the greens were in great condition and this was reflected in the winning scores as the teams came in with below Par totals for their rounds.

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Winners of the Scramble’s main trophy with a score of 56.2 were the Harmsworth Printing team, “The KP Nuts”, of Keith Burkin, Keith Cottington, Peter Murphy and Phil Hunt.

They were presented with the “North Foreland Centenary Trophy” plus Christmas Hampers by Lord Rothermere and Frank Howe, Captain of the North Foreland Golf Club team, “The Lighthouse Flashers”. The trophy, played for the first time in the 2010 Centenary Year, was presented by the Club to mark the close links between the Society and North Foreland, the former home on the Kent coast of the Society’s founder, Lord Northcliffe.

Runners-up with 57.4 were the Jobsite team, “Jobs to a Tee” of Rob Thomas, Jonathan Brooke, Gary Scott and Mike Newall with the UK Metro team, “McIlroy’s Dirty Secret” of Patrick Kinnear, Andrew Spry, Craig Fawcett and Alistair Potter in third place with 58.7.

Close behind in fourth with 58.8 were the “Sanity Claus” team of A&N Media’s David Henderson, Ian Chapman, Mark Smith and Richard Carter with another A&N Media team, “Weapons of Grass Distruction” of Matt Ford, Dan Taylor, Charlie Mortimer and Andy Palmer in fifth place with 58.9. They just beat, on count back, the “Big Jobbies” team from Mail Newspapers of Dan Scott, Marcus Rich, Nick Stevens and Nigel Bromley.

The packets of Paxo stuffing that are traditionally given instead of the Wooden Spoon went to “Santa’s Fore Little Helpers” of A&N Media’s Matt Page, Mike Wood, Paul Collings and Darren Mills whose game had obviously suffered as they had been working far too hard preparing presents for Santa to concentrate on their golf.

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Lord Rothermere also presented trophies and prizes to the winners of the annual Match Play knock-out competition for the Cousins Bowl, and the Golfer of the Year award for the Iain Walker Trophy which run throughout the year.

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Beaten semi-finalists in the Match Play were Jobsite’s Jonathan Brooke and Society secretary Garth Burden with Johan Fourie from A&N Media Finance beating Phil Barber, former Mail on Sunday advertising executive in the final.

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The Order of Merit play-off was won for the 3rd year running by Evenbase executive, Mike Wall, who beat Rob Thomas, Clive Heard and Stuart Passmore on the same day that the Match Play final was played at Frilford Heath.

There was a big surprise for long time member Derek Price who was celebrating 50 years of membership when Lord Rothermere presented him with a personalised framed “MAC” cartoon and a case of wine to mark the occasion.

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The Vincent Mulchrone Trophy for the outstanding contribution to the Society by a member was awarded to Ian McGowan from A&N Media for his help with the computerisation of the handicap system.

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This year’s Society charity donation, £1,000 collected partly at the Lady Rothermere putting contest in Hardelot and at the Scramble auction, was presented by Lord Rothermere to Berkshire Secretary, Lt.Col. John Hunt, who on his retirement, is setting up an orphanage at his former home in Zambia, South Africa.

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There were six bottles of Champagne awarded for “Nearest the Pin” on all the Par 3 holes and these were won by Patrick Kinnear on the 2nd, Gary Green, 5th, Craig Fawcett 7th, Matt Page 10th, Lisa Heywood 16th and Garth Burden on the 18th.

There were five winners of the “Back the Winner” competition and Ken Calderwood, Phil Butler, Keith Burkin, Keith Cottington and Phil Hunt all received £50.

Society Chairman Vyvyan Harmsworth, who acted as auctioneer and helped to persuade members to part with over £7,000 for the items on offer, thanked the Club and staff for all their efforts to keep the course open for the competition. With over £1,000 also raised at the raffle, secretary Garth Burden said this would help to keep the costs of next year’s fixtures down to affordable prices for members.

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