Get comfy, toes up, fill your glass and prepare for a Mr Loveless match report.
Posted on behalf of Graham “I am finally out from under my duvet and have been given back my shoe laces” Loveless
Well…this was the match I was naturally looking forward to the most in this year’s Ryder Cup with us going up against the Swashbucklers and facing off against my mate Phil.
The atmosphere in the club house was great and I was doing everything I could to try and motivate my team and give them the belief we could pull off a good win. Any win, even a draw should be enough to get us to the finals day as we led the Swashies by 9 points despite them having a game in hand.
However, and I might as well say it now, things didn’t quite pan out quite as I had hoped.
Behind the scenes I knew we were going to be up against it with a couple of our stronger players being unavailable. Phil was fielding a very strong team which really was a must win for the Swashbucklers as well.
In our previous matches we had done well in the pairs and less so in the singles. With the players available I wanted to maintain our good scoring in the pairs and try and get a bit more out of the singles.
The draws were done and Mr Adams and Henk led us out to face off against Hew and Phil…
I followed the pairs out in the first singles group playing with Rob Hance and we were up against Scotty Yule and Lee ‘The Machine’ Snashfold respectively.
With a par, double and birdie start I found myself 1 up against Scotty but if I had made my 8′ putt on the 1st and sunk a silly 2′ tap in on the 2nd I would have been 3 up…how costly that proved to be. I was in great shape on the 5th but a chunked 7 iron sent my ball to a watery grave and what should have been a half at worse became a loss. Despite a chance on the 8th where a long two putt from off the green would give me the win I could only manage a half and on the turn I was 2 down and was now chasing. Despite his double on the 2nd Scotty was absolutely rock solid with plenty of birdie chances.
Rob was faring better in his match at all square which was fantastic with La Machina being just 1 over par.
My bogey on the 10th dropped me to 3 down and I knew I had to win the next two holes. On the 11th Scotty’s 2nd shot stuck him in the sand to the right of the green and his ball was tucked in tight to the edge of the bunker. I was on the green for net 2 with a putt for a par. Surely he couldn’t make par from where he was and I would be back to 2 down with a shot on 12 to come. Scotty made probably THE up and down of the day from a super tough position and I could only make a net par half. Stayed at 3 down. A 360 degree lip out on 12 cost me dear and I was finally put out of my misery on 13 losing 5 and 4.
I was aware that Sharon and Jan had already left the course with what I assumed was a heavy loss in the 3rd match and the body language from the 1st match as we passed Adams and Henk told me Phil and Hew were looking good. Hew waving his arms around really underlined the fact. I had a feeling The Originals were in trouble.
I am sure Rob won’t mind me saying this but he made a pig’s ear of 15 and 16 and should have been 2 up (Rob leave that bloody sand wedge in the bag unless you are in a bunker!)
I left Rob and Lee on the 16th with Rob 1 down. Entering the club house I was not feeling confident.
Now before I continue there is saying. “If you can’t take it…don’t give it out.” I think it is fair to say I enjoy giving it out. I had a feeling my day of reckoning was at hand.
Looking at the score sheet The Swashbucklers were already 6 points up with Phil/Hew, Mark/Dan and Scotty winning. Word came in that Mushie was doing okay against Tony Betteridge but Asif had lost to Wayne.
8 – nil. Oh god! Surely not a whitewash!
Then Bryan and Back door Johnny came in with our first win.
Thank goodness – Bryan had been the cornerstone of our team this year!
8-2. We could in theory still get a draw with 3 matches to come in.
Brian and Simon (Vice Captain) Christiaan were on the green and a missed putt from Simon told me they had had also lost (turned out they were 1 up with 2 to play).
10-2. We had been stuffed 6-2 in the pairs and were already 4-0 down in the singles.
Rob and Lee were soon walking up the 18th. One ball was short of the pond and one was on the front of the green.
We had no idea whether Lee was still up or it was back to level but the match was clearly still alive with no shots on the last hole.
Lee pitched over the pond and his ball slipped away to the left but he was putting. Rob rolled his ball up but left it a good 6’ (maybe more) short. Lee putted and marked his ball a couple of feet from the pin.
Rob was over his ball…it rolled…and dropped in and he punched the air…he had turned it around and won!
10-4. Word was Mushie was dormie 2 and then dormie 1 and with a double on the last to Tony’s 4. That match was halved.
We had taken a heavy 11 – 5 loss. Our total score was now 24. The Swashbucklers had got to 21 with a game in hand.
The finals day was looking very unlikely with the reigning champions being relegated.
With comparisons to a certain ex-Leicester FC manager being made I knew there was nowhere to hide…time to take the proverbial pants down and take my punishment.
Phil was magnanimous in victory while Winkle was like a jack in the box (especially after the grief I had given him for losing his previous day’s Surrey 5s match @ Surbiton it was quite understandable).
I am fully expecting Phil will get the Swashbucklers the 3 points they need to get to the final’s day and if they can get a good win over the Earlybirds who knows what will happen on the 1st April. I am gutted that we came so agonizingly close but it shows how tough this competition is with every point counting.
So I genuinely wish Phil and the Swashbucklers team all the best next weekend.
As this is now likely to be my last match report for The Originals I wish Simon C all the best as he takes over the reins next year.
I have loved captaining this team this year and enjoyed everything that comes from this event that brings our club together. That is ultimately why we play this competition and is such a strong legacy from Bob English’s Captaincy. Having a 5th team and the battle for qualification makes the overall competition stronger, not weaker in my opinion. I will be showing my face on the 1st April (maybe I like a bit of ritual humiliation – who knows).
Of course, I am hoping it will be quickly forgotten that I was the 1st Originals Captain not to get this team to the Finals day. However, I suspect there will be a few that will give me the odd reminder…and if not a few there will be my mate Winkle.
And maybe I have learnt a small lesson in humility…oh for f**k’s sake who am I kidding – it is all part of the fun!