Despite the best efforts of Covid-19 to put a dampener on the 25th anniversary match between the Northcliffe and North Foreland Golf Club, it turned out to be a terrific success.
As part of the annual “Double Header” linked with Royal Cinque Ports the following day, there was another close result this year with the Northcliffe managing to claim victory by 4-3 with one match halved.
Because of social distancing there was a restriction on the number of players able to play with 16 in each team instead of double the usual numbers.
It was sunshine all the way with clear blue skies and a warm breeze off the sea as the teams battled to win the Lord Northcliffe Challenge Cup, presented by Lord Rothermere, President of the Golf Society and Chairman of the Daily Mail group, in memory of his great, great uncle, Lord Northcliffe.
The annual competition marks the link with Lord Northcliffe, the founder of the Daily Mail in 1896 and the North Foreland course which he played while living alongside and building Europe’s first ever 18-hole Par 3 course named “The Northcliffe” by the Club.
To mark the 25th anniversary of the match, the Club presented the Society with a cut glass bowl with a decision to be made on how it is to be won in the future matches. They also presented special 25th anniversary golf towels for all players and the Northcliffe presented Titleist golf balls with the Society’s “Bumble Bee” logo plus a presentation box with a ball marker and pitch mark repairer.
It was 25 years ago that Society secretary Garth playing for his home club at Northwood against a Kent team, coincidentally was drawn to play against former North Foreland secretary Bryan Preston and they agreed over dinner that the annual match should be played.
Society Chairman, Vyvyan Harmsworth, who normally captained the Society team over the years, was unable to play this year, but sent his best wishes to all the players.
There was a presentation of champagne and flowers to Pauline Warrington, assistant secretary at North Foreland for her work behind the scenes in organising the event and to thank her for helping to make the competition such a success.
North Foreland held a 14 – 10 lead before the match and Club Captain Mike White presented the Lord Northcliffe Challenge Cup to Garth, the Society’s Captain for the Day.
Winner on countback at DEAL with Back the Winner £80 rolled over!
The following day the Northcliffe played Royal Cinque Ports and once again there were blue skies, warm sunshine with a slight breeze off the sea.
Last year’s winner of the Northcliffe Cup, Dan Schwarz, came close to retaining the trophy, but after 18-holes around one of the country’s toughest and most challenging link’s courses he was beaten on countback.
Having been cut 3-shots for last year’s 39pts, he was leader in the Clubhouse with 37pts until the final group came-in with Felix Duckworth having sunk a 20ft putt on the 18th hole to match Dan’s 37pts but winning overall with a better back nine.
Dan was cut another shot to 14 for his next three fixtures for his second place and winner Felix was cut two shots to 7 handicap. In 3rd place with 36 points was Clive Heard.
Champagne for Nearest the Pin on the tricky 4th elevated green was presented to winner Phil Barber by Society vice-Captain Barry Theobald.
There was one winner in the Back the Winner competition with £80 invested. Northwood Golf Club general manager, Ray Grant, guest of Garth, was the only person to back Felix to win but asked that the kitty be rolled-over to the next fixture at Tandridge.
Because social distancing precautions have prevented prize-giving at this year’s fixtures, voucher prizes for the top 3 finishers will be organised for distribution at the end of our year.
The Committee will be making a decision about the scheduled Christmas Scramble nearer to the November fixture date of November 16 and members will be notified about what is planned, dependent on the latest Covid-19 precautions.
The Society’s next fixture, Tandridge, is on Monday, September 28.