On Friday 5 April 2019 34 intrepid golfers, plus a few brave non-playing supporters, set out for 2 days of golf competing for the 5 Nations trophy and a supporters stableford competition in the wilds of Livingstone at Deer Park Golf Club. For some of us "soft southerners" we had set out the day before with equipped with emergency supplies and a GPS homing beacon to travel north into the unknown.
The event was split into a fun practice stableford on Friday 5 April, with the main event being a team and stableford competition on 6 April. As it turned out there were overseas marauders from Ireland, aided by a mercenary from Wales, who plundered the majority of the 5 Nations booty. The Irish penance being to host the next 5 Nations event in Ireland in 2020.
Day 1 was a stableford competition for golfer to get used to the course. As usual there was a separate competition for supporters. The day itself was cold but dry, the course condition being typically British for this time of year and after 2 days of rain it was a miracle that the club allowed us to use buggies on the course. The Supporters event was won by Brian Letham, with Frankie O'Kane taking second spot and Simon Nicholls third.
The day 1 transplant event was plundered, sorry won, by Tony Gavigan with David Watt and Ian Hillier (Welsh mercenary playing for Ireland) taking second and third spots respectively. Of course I jest; as is usual in these events, the Welsh team never has 3 players and so Ian ably filled a gap in the Irish line-up (much to the amusement and heckling from the other country representatives).
The 3 person teams were drawn on the Friday after the first stableford competition and so we went to our beds anticipating the next day's events.
Saturday was not such a fine day, with a light mist hanging in the air. Over the course of the day this turned into a heavy mist, which resulted in some awkward playing conditions. However the Irish seem to be used to these conditions and this is where they came into their own. I suppose Ireland isn't called the emerald isle because it has Sahara like conditions.
The team event was won by the Ireland team of Ian Hillier, Mike Kiely and Ron Grainger. I won't embarrass the other teams with the margin of victory, but "we was all trounced!".
Individually Ian Hillier won the individual transplantee prize, with Sarah Viner taking second and Mike Dwyer third.
At this point I need to duck and cover because the Supporters event was won by my wife, my brother came second and poor Richard Reyonlds lost out on count-back to both Clare-Louise and Simon Nicholls. The only silver lining on the cloud being that my wife beat my brother on count-back as well. All 3 of them scoring 34 points. I am not sure if I will invite them again, especially after some over enthusiastic hugging from my brother as he accepted his prizes for both Friday and Saturday.
Well done to Sarah Viner for winning both of the ladies longest drives and Stuart Ross for the nearest the pin on Friday (I never knew he was so accurate with an iron off the tee). Ross McLeod and Mick Dwyer picked up the longest drives on Friday and Saturday respectively and last but by no means least Kenny McLean picked up the nearest the pin prize on Saturday.
Following the meal we all went to the Ten Pin Bowling Alley at Deer Park where there was a prize for the highest scoring male and highest scoring female.
The male event was hotly contested with Simon Nicholls prevailing with a score of 168, followed by Colin White (Ireland) with a score of 152 and Ross McLeod in third with a 140. All very good scores. I then had to hand over a Cadburys Mini Egg Easter Egg prize to Clare-Louise Nicholls for a score of 121 in here first game. I am not quite sure where the score came from, as I don't believe that she has come anywhere close to this score previously. She obviously wasn't feeling well though, because she shared out the packet of chocolate mini eggs with those people who had stayed to the end.
Thanks must go to TSUK for their help in paying the bills, administration help and their grant support. Thanks also to the support provided by the Donor Family charity for their regular support with golf balls and umbrellas, which is always appreciated. Finally I would like to thank the GB&NI vice captain.... but I can't as he was a pain in the neck on both days (joking Charlie, joking).
It would appear that people enjoyed the 2 days get together and, as is always the case, health permitting I will certainly be at the next event in Ireland to try and wrest the 5 Nations honour back for England.
P.S. Any resemblance to courses, green or waterlogged, is purely coincidental and the author accepts no responsibility for the views expressed in the article!