The weather was stunning, skies were blue and the sun was blazing down for the Inter-Company golf tournament in France.There was a new team playing, another making its last appearance with a certain tinge of sadness and the team that has lifted the main trophy over the past three years just managed to keep everyone else at bay.Weekend%20winners%20again%21%20David%20Henderson%2C%20Captain%20of%20the%20A%26N%20team%20with%20Society%20Captain%20John%20Bird.jpg

This was the final appearance of the Harmsworth Printing team which has figured so prominently over the years in the trophy winning and, under the Captaincy of John Bird, they very nearly said farewell with a great last gasp win.

But having pushed the eventual winners to one of the closest finishes ever, they were just beaten to the main weekend prize of the Viscount Rothermere Cup.

It turned out to be one of the most exciting finishes ever to the tournament with several teams all in with a great chance after the first round.

The new team on the block from Metro that, ironically included players from previous winning A&N Media teams, were the unknown factor but were unable to mount a serious challenge, leaving it to the Chairman’s team, representing Lord Rothermere, Northcliffe Media and Harmsworth Printing to seriously challenge Captain David Henderson’s A&N Media.

Just four points separated the top four teams after the first round on the tricky Dunes course in Hardelot, setting up an exhilarating final round on the next day.

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Harmsworth Printing, who had won the individual trophy on the first day for the biggest stableford win, again took the honours on the second day when Ken Calderwood and John Stanton’s 7/6 match play victory won them the Vere Harmsworth Challenge Cup.

A&N Media were overnight leaders with five wins out of a possible six, giving them 10 points, close behind were the Chairman’s team with 4 wins, (8 points) with the same points for Harmsworth Printing.

Just behind these teams with three wins, (6 points) were Chris Coward’s Northcliffe Media, with both the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday having two wins apiece, (4 points each) and new boys on the block, Metro, trailing in last place with just the one win, (2 points).

That one extra win on the first day which was to prove so crucial to the overall weekend result, gave the A&N Media team the Associated Newspapers Cup for the team with the most wins in the stableford competition, but Harmsworth Printing took the honours for the Harmsworth/Mulchrone trophy for the pair scoring the highest stableford points.

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Playing against last year’s winners of this trophy, Garth Burden and Laurie Brannan from the Chairman’s team, Peter Murphy and Peter Durham came in with an amazing 50 points, well clear of all the opposition and just one point behind the all-time record breaking points scored in the Centenary Year competition in 2010 by Lord Rothermere and his partner Lisa Heywood when they won this trophy.

After overnight pep talks by the Captains, everything was set for the nail biting second day. Played on the neighbouring Pines Course it was not until the final games had finished that A&N Media could claim the Viscount Rothermere Cup. Although winning the same number of matches as Harmsworth Printing and Northclifffe Media, four matches each, worth another eight points to each team with the Chairman’s team close up just one point behind, that extra win on the first day of the tournament won them the main trophy.

Harmsworth Printing, who had won the individual trophy on the first day for the biggest stableford win, again took the honours on the second day when Ken Calderwood and John Stanton’s 7/6 match play victory won them the Vere Harmsworth Challenge Cup.

Their Captain, John Bird, Captain also of the Northcliffe Golfing Society, presented the prizes and signed off many years of playing in the competition with a final “farewell” to everyone.

“I, like so many others, will miss the team spirit generated by this Chairman’s competition and the many shared memories we have had over the years.

“It was good to go out with some degree of success and to push the eventual winners so hard.

“We’ve had some wonderful times together and made some really great golfing friends. The camaraderie, fun and laughter have made this event so very special. All I can add is a very sad ‘farewell’,”

Despite struggling on the first day, the new Metro team lead by John Leitch, finally got their act together and avoided bringing home the infamous “Wooden Spoon” so often won by the Daily Mail who, this year led by Captain Brad Young, also avoided the prize.

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Honours went to the Mail on Sunday and Captain, Marcus Rich, who collected his prize from Society Chairman, Vyvyan Harmsworth.

The Ian Wooldridge Centenary Trophy that epitomises the Corinthian sporting spirit of both Ian and the winner of this annual award, was presented by Vyvyan to Society Captain John Bird.

“John has always been a great supporter of the Society and although he has never, personally, won a trophy, always gives the game of golf his tremendous support and reflects all that Ian supported in his writings over the years,” Vyvyan said.

The JAK Champagne Trophy for the Society’s most enthusiastic golfer was presented to Harmsworth Printing’s Keith Burkin.

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Vyvyan said this was a very well deserved award as Keith, a former professional golfer many years ago, had also, always supported the Society and, although no longer a professional, had always insisted on playing off scratch although his handicap could be higher.

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All teams agreed that it was the fun and laughter of the weekend that was the real winner, and, as in previous years, the golfers were joined by the Northcliffe Tennis Society who organised competitions and coaching on the Hotel’s courts. Everyone agreed that the weekend format was a tremendous success with both golfers and tennis players joining up for the meals and prize presentations.

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Last of the weekend competitions was the Lady Rothermere Charity putting contest which took place this year on the Sunday at the Dunes.

The winner who used a borrowed putter was Mike Wall from Evenbase who won the traditional bottle of champagne with £420 raised for Charity.

There was tremendous golf played over the two days of the competition, none more so than by the winners of the “Nearest the Pin” contest on all the Par 3 holes.

Champagne on the first day on the Dunes course was won by Northcliffe team Captain, Chris Coward on the 2nd; Nigel d-Cruze, Daily Mail 5th; Danny Martin, Daily Mail 8th; Alan Jackson, Harmsworth Printing 11th; Neil Darbyshire, Daily Mail, 14th and Daily Mail team Captain, Brad Young on the 17th.

On the second day on the Pines course, the champagne was won by Matt Ross, Northcliffe Media on the 5th; Will Flint, Chairman’s Team 7th; Lee Terry, A&N Media 12th; Phil Lightbody, A&N Media 14th and David Henderson, A&N Media Captain on the 17th.

Over £3,600 was raised towards Society Funds from the raffle, Back the Winner contest and other money raising ventures which help to subsidise future Society golf days.

There was a total of £1,050 invested on the Sweepstake and “Back the Winner” with dividends as follows.

There were no correct entries on the Sweepstake for the correct finishing order of the top three teams. Five entries had A&N winning with Harmsworth Publishing in second place but it was the Chairman’s team finishing in third place that ruined so many entries!

A consolation payment of £30 each for those selecting first and second is paid to Graham Brown, John Morgan, Julian Elvin, Dan Martin and a joint entry by Peter Durham and John Stanton.

There was one winner in Sunday’s ‘Back the Winner’ competition, a joint entry by Peter Durham and John Stanton which won £260.

There were two winners of Monday’s ‘Back the Winner’ competition, again a joint entry from Peter Durham and John Stanton and a single entry from Graeme Thomson. Both won £130 each.

The Society received a quarter of the overall pool which raised £380 towards funds. This included an extra £110 as there were no winners of the overall sweepstake.

The full results of the weekend were as follows with last year’s points and winners in brackets:

  • Viscount Rothermere Cup – Overall winning team – A&N Media. 18pts (26pts)
  • Harmsworth/Mulchrone Trophy. (Sunday) – Pair with Highest Stableford Points. Peter Murphy and Peter Durham, Harmsworth Publishing. 50pts. (47pts.)
  • Associated Newspapers Cup. (Sunday) – Team with most stableford wins. A&N Media. 10 pts (A&N Media 13pts)
  • Arthur Fuller Cup (Monday) – Team with most match play wins. Shared three ways. Northcliffe Media, A&N Media and Harmsworth Publishing, 8pts each (A&N Media 13pts).
  • Vere Harmsworth Challenge Cup (Monday) – Pair with Biggest Match Play Win. Ken Calderwood and John Stanton, Harmsworth Publishing. 7/6 (Clive Heard and Andy Spry 7/5)
  • Wooden Spoon. Mail on Sunday.
  • JAK Champagne Trophy for the Most Enthusiastic Golfer. Keith Burkin. Harmsworth Publishing.
  • Ian Wooldridge Centenary Trophy. John Bird. (Society Captain). Harmsworth Publishing.

Final placings and total points won were as follows with the first round points in brackets.

  1. A&N Media 18 (10)
  2. Harmsworth Publishing 16 (8)
  3. Chairman. 15 (8)
  4. Northcliffe Media 14 (6)
  5. Daily Mail 10 (4)
  6. Metro 7 (2)
  7. Mail on Sunday. 4 (4)

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