Was it the “wise woman” that made the difference to the closest ever finish in the Christmas Scramble, with less than half the roll of a golf ball separating the top two teams.
Played in warm November sunshine, The Berkshire proved to be as good a test of golf as ever with nearly 70 members battling it out on the tough Red Course to try and win the Centenary Trophy, donated by North Foreland Golf Club in the Society’s centenary year to mark the close links between both Club and Society.
Victory went to Vyvyan Harmsworth’s team of “3 Wise men and a Wiser Woman”, John Hunt, Rupert Harmsworth and Jayne Burden whose net score of 59.4 just beat the 59.5 of Brad Young’s “Ad-Fabs” team.
It was the first time Vyvyan’s team had ever made the winner’s enclosure in the end of year Christmas Scramble, but Brad’s “Ad-Fabs” team had been very close to claiming victory on several occasions but this year had to again settle for second place.
The competition’s handicap system of 10 per cent of combined team players handicaps worked so well, there was hardly anything to separate the scores of the top eight teams, who all won prizes of traditional Christmas fayre that included Hampers, Champagne, Chocolates, Christmas Puddings, Wine, Boxes of Biscuits and Christmas Panatone.
There is no “Wooden Spoon” prize in the Scramble, so Santa dug deep into his sack of goodies to find a consolation “prize” of boxes of Paxo Stuffing for the “Diamonds in the Rough” team of Ian Sweeney, Reece Sutton, Brian Lamb and Janet Lee.  Society Captain Lisa Heywood presented the stuffing to loud applause and cheering…..………or was it just relief by the other players to have avoided bringing up the rear of the field to “win” the boxes of Paxo!
“I have to thank my team for winning the day for me, I just had to guide them round the course and make the crucial decisions as Captain of which of their shots to take on each of the holes” smiled Vyvyan as they collected the winner’s Trophy and Christmas Hampers.
“This Scramble competition is such a fun day to end the Society’s season and you only have to listen to all the laughter and banter between the players to know how popular it is.”
Presenting the Centenary Trophy and Santa’s festive goodies, Captain Lisa was joined by North Foreland Club  Captain Ted Illsley who had travelled up from the Kent coast with his “Lighthouse Flashers” team of Mark Strand, Mark Harrop and Mike Loveday.  Their score of 61.5 put them in fifth place behind last year’s winners, the “Hack Attack” team of Society Vice-Captain, John  Morgan, Ian McIlgorm, Roland Agambar and Adam Kemp. Their 60.6 fourth place was just behind the 60.4 third place of “Business Services 4 Calling Birdies” of Barry Theobald, Terry Hawkins, John Tucker and Lee Terry.
In sixth place with 61.8 were “Xmas Factor” of Mike Creaby, Phil Hunt, Keith Cottington and Phil Barber, who just beat into seventh the 61.9 of what was regarded by many as the best team name, “DrawShank Redemption” of Craig Fawcett, Patrick Kinnear, Ross Thomson and Clive Heard, who were just ahead of the 62 scored by the fellow Metro team “Golf, Frankincense and Metro” of Martin Smith, Ben Mason, Rob Perry and Will Clazie.
Champagne for “Nearest the Pin” on the six Par Three holes was won by John Hunt, (2nd) Ian McGowan, (5th) David Crump, (7th) Peter Marsh, (10th) Jim Chaudry, ( 16th) and                               Ian McIlgorm (18th).
The Vincent Mulchrone Trophy for outstanding service to the Society was presented to Brad Young and the winner of this year’s play-off in the Order of Merit for the Iain Walker trophy, was won at Frilford Heath by Barry Theobald, just beating Mike Creaby with a 12 foot putt on the last hole. Ian McGowan was close behind in third place and, Alan Jackson, who was unable to play, qualified for fourth in the play-off positions.
There were eight winners in the “Back the Winner” competition with Alistair Sinclair, Jayne Burden, Vyvyan Harmsworth, Pauline Warrington, Craig Fawcett, Barry Edwards, Peter Williams and Ernie McLaughlin all winning £30 each with £50 raised for the Society funds.
After the presentation of the prizes, Vyvyan and John Morgan conducted the fund raising auction with part of the proceeds going towards charity.  This year over £4,400 was raised and still available with a £2,000 reserve is the five bedroom holiday villa in Grenada kindly donated by David Dutton.
With the raffle raising £550 the total raised for the Society and a charity donation is £4,950.
The final of the Match Play knock-out took place at The Grove a week after the Scramble, between Craig Fawcett and Mike Creaby.  As with the Order of Merit final when the result was not decided to the very last hole, Craig’s birdie on the final hole won him the match and the Cousins Challenge Bowl.