Metro had a last putt win in this year’s Inter-Company golf tournament but it was the Irish eyes that were smiling.

Not only did Ireland join in the fun, laughter and camaraderie of the tournament but they showed their golfing prowess on the mighty West Cliffs golf course just North of Lisbon to claim a share of one of the main trophies.

To hoots of delight and cheering that could be heard way back in Dublin, team Captain and Editor-in-Chief of the Mail newspaper group in Ireland, Seb Hamilton, joined Chairman’s team Vyvyan Harmsworth and Martin Smith, Captain of Metro, for the presentation of the Associated Newspapers Challenge Cup as the first day’s winners.

The golfers in green were meeting colleagues from London for the first time, normally they are just at the end of a telephone call or email. They played against London teams from the Daily Mail, the Mail on Sunday, Metro, dmg-media and the Chairman’s team under the Captaincy of Vyvyan as Lord Rothermere, President of the Society, was unable to attend.

“This is a long overdue first appearance of the Irish team and it is so good to actually meet so many colleagues who we regularly deal with. It is a wonderful opportunity to mix and meet with everyone.” said Irish Captain Seb.

On the first day, scores between the six teams were so close that only the width of a golf ball separated the top three teams of Ireland, Metro and Chairman from the other three teams.

Then, after the second round of the competition on the scenic seaside Praia d’el Rey course, the final result was decided by the last putt on the 18th green, with Metro clinching the Viscount Rothermere weekend trophy by one extra win.

So close were all the teams at the end of the competition that  joint overall second place was shared by the four chasing teams of Chairman’s, Ireland, Mail on Sunday and dmg-media, with the “Wooden Spoon” once again claimed by the Daily Mail.

Captain, Neil Darbyshire was presented with a “stainless steel” version of this much coveted trophy, but they were only one win away from joining the joint runners up!

The Viscount Rothermere Trophy could have been won any of the teams and it was the last match home, and the last putt on the 18th green, that meant Metro would be taking home the Trophy, winning by the narrowest ever margin between the Inter-Company teams.

Because the Society’s golf trophies are up to nearly 100 years old and irreplaceable, they were not taken out to Portugal from the secure display cabinet in the London office, so cut-out photo-copy versions were presented to the winners.

There was no copy of the “Silver Wooden Spoon”, specially made and donated to the Society by former Daily Mail team Captain, Guy Zitter, who so treasured his team winning it.  The stainless steel version was borrowed from Praia Golf Club kitchens as actual wooden spoons are no longer used in the kitchens on health grounds!

There was a double Daily Mail trophy at the first night presentation with award winning cartoonist “MAC” stepping up to loud applause to receive the “JAK” Trophy for his enthusiastic golf, just like the former London Evening Standard cartoonist who loved attending the Northcliffe Inter-Company event as an “enthusiastic golfer”.

Every year MAC draws a special cartoon for the competition that is then raffled to raise funds for the Golf Society. This year’s winner, Mail on Sunday racing journalist Laurie Brannan offered the cartoon as an auction item and Chairman’s team Captain, Vyvyan, who figures prominently on the cartoon, was the winning bidder.

Daily Mail “Ephraim Hardcastle” columnist Peter McKay was awarded the Ian Wooldridge Trophy, in recognition of his “Corinthian Spirit” so epitomised by Ian and named after the Mail’s legendary sports journalist who over the years played in so many of the Inter-Company tournaments and earlier, London, Manchester and Scotland office golf matches.

The golfers were joined again by the Northcliffe Tennis players and prizes for their weekend tournament, played at the local Tennis Club, were presented by their Captain, Mark Wareham and tennis coach Dickon Thompson.

Opening the prize-giving ceremony, Vyvyan Harmsworth told how Lord Northcliffe, who founded the Northcliffe Golfing Society in 1910, had been born in Ireland and the family had such strong links with the country. He was delighted that the Ireland office was now represented in the Inter-Company competition and he hoped it would the first of many appearances, especially with the team bringing so much fun to the event.

The raffle with great prizes such as a European City break for two people; Champagne from the Chairman, Lord Rothermere; Garmin Approach GPS golf watches; a 4xball voucher at North Foreland Golf Club and boxes of Titleist Prov1 golf balls raised £650 towards Society Funds.

There was a total of £1,255 raised towards Society Funds from the Raffle, Sweepstake (£155) and MAC cartoon (£450).

The Sweepstake winners were: Correct Team finishing order. 1st Metro with Ireland or Chairman’s team 2nd and 3rd in either order.

With four teams having the same number of points in overall second place behind Metro, the Sweepstake runners-up result was decided on count-back from the previous day’s two teams having a better number of wins, Chairman’s and Ireland 2nd and 3rd in either order.

 Three entries from Metro, Chris Blick; Ross Gilchrist and Alex Hicks correctly forecast this finishing order and they won £50 each with £50 to the Funds.

Two players picked out Clive Heard and partner James Allen to score the highest stableford points on the first day of the competition at West Cliffs. Daily Mail Cartoonist MAC and Chairman’s Jayne Burden won £65 each with £65 to the Funds.

There were four winning entry forms for Keith Cottington and his partner, James Allen, to score the biggest match-play win on Monday at Praia d’el Rey. Felix Duckworth, Daily Mail; Ian McIlgorm and Adam Kemp, (shared form), Mail on Sunday; Alan Jackson, Chairman’s and Craig Fawcett, Metro. Each entry wins £40 with £40 to the Society.

Champagne was won for “Nearest the Pin” over the two days of the competition by Ian McGowan and Clive Heard, (dmg-media), Graham Brown, (Chairman),Brian Viner, (Daily Mail), Sean Garrett, (MoS) and Barry Finnegan. (Ireland).   The champagne will be organised on the return home.

Weekend Final Results.

Three points for a match win. One point for a half. Overnight wins in brackets.

Viscount Rothermere Cup (Sunday/Monday)

Overall winning team – Metro. Total 18pts  6 wins  (3 )

Harmsworth/Mulchrone Trophy. (Sunday) – Pair with Highest Stableford Points.

Clive Heard and James Allen. Dmg-media. 44 points. West Cliffs Golf Club

Associated Newspapers Cup. (Sunday) – Most stableford team wins.

Ireland. Metro and Chairman’s teams. 9 pts each for 3 wins.

Arthur Fuller Cup (Monday) – Most match play wins. 9pts each for 3 wins. Metro (3);  Mail on Sunday (2);  dmg-media. (2)

Vere Harmsworth Challenge Cup (Monday) – Pair with Biggest Match Play Win.

Keith Cottington and James Allen. 7 and 6 Praia del Rey Golf Club.

Wooden Spoon. Daily Mail. 12pts.   2 wins Sunday and 2 wins Monday

JAK Champagne Trophy for the Most Enthusiastic Golfer.

MAC – Daily Mail.

Ian Wooldridge Centenary Trophy.

Peter McKay. Daily Mail.

Final team placings.  Metro 18pts.  Ireland, Chairman’s, dmg-media, Mail on Sunday, 15pts. Daily Mail 12pts

Words: Garth Burden.     Pictures:  David Crump