Rickmansworth match, 2nd leg
With Rickmansworth having “outperformed” in the first leg at the Park to the tune of a 3-3 tie, the return leg at their course was always going to be a prodigious feat. Despite a stern challenge to the assembled team by captain-for-the-day Nigel Gaymond , delivered in the style of his former rugby playing days, full of expletives and a call to arms, and the valiant efforts of all those assembled, the result had a depressingly inevitable feel about it. On the day it was a 5-1 defeat leaving an overall score of 8-4 to Rickmansworth who thus returned the cup ‘Home” to their clubhouse.
In Game 1 the familiar pairing of Richard Owen and Uli Katte quickly went 2 down in the first two holes and despite keeping it that way at the turn eventually succumbed to a 5 & 3 defeat. In Game 2 Naveed Manazir and Paul Green endured the same experience of being two down after two, trailed by 4 at the turn and also similarly endured a 5 & 3 defeat. In Game 3 the experienced pair of Nigel Ward and Tony Kopczak fought valiantly but ultimately succumbed 2 & 1. In Game 4 Tamas Ladacs and Justin Wildman ceded a number of shots to their opponents and despite keeping it close on the front nine ultimately succumbed 4 & 2. In Game 5 Jon Cooper and Peter Needham kept it close throughout but ultimately slipped to a 2 & 1 defeat on the 17th Hole. The last game of the day featured Nigel Gaymond and Aidan Hurley who bucked the trend and won the two opening holes and led by as many as 3 holes and went dormie with 3 holes to go only for the Rickmansworth pair to make a serious charge taking the match to the 18th hole. Nigel had basically overheated by the 14th hole leaving Aidan to steer the team home on his own. He played the last five holes in 1 under and coolly sank the 7 foot par putt to seal the win and prevent the whitewash. In the associated sweep, Nigel/Aidan came first with 40 points, Tamas/Justin second with 39 and Uli/Richard third with 37. There’s always next year!
Rickmansworth match, 1st leg
After last year’s narrow victory , predicated on a first leg “sweep” of all six pairs matches, the Rickmansworth team turned up early for the first leg of this year’s match, kitted out for the occasion with royal blue club jerseys and black shorts/trousers seemingly intent on a much improved performance to the previous year. Our team was a mix of grizzled veterans of previous matches and welcome ‘newbies’ to team competitions.
On the hottest day of the year so far, Richard Owen and Seymour Laird led off the team and secured pars on the first two holes to take a quick lead, however the Ricky pair kept ‘bouncing back’ and it was all square after 9 holes. Seymour’s par on the 10th again put Richmond ahead, a lead which they never relinquished, ultimately prevailing by a comfortable 4 and 3 score and taking the internal sweep first spot with 43 points. Our second rookie pair, Naveed Manazir and Richard Norden, were next out and ran out to a comfortable 5 and 4 win and finished third in the sweep with a creditable 40 points. Out third were the experienced pair of Nigel Ward and Tony Kopczak who eked out a 1 up victory in a closely contested matchup. So the first three Richmond pairs had run up a 3-0 lead but things were about to turn in Rickmansworth’s favour. Two more rookies in John Perkins and Paul Green performed well enough to finish with a very laudable 41 points for second place in the internal sweep but ran into determined opponents who closed out a 3 and 2 victory to put Rickmansworth on the scoreboard. John produced a salutary reminder of the importance of reading Club communications by turning up dressed in a blue shirt, much to his embarrassment! Our fifth pair, Roger Rojas and Justin Wildman, enjoyed a strong front 9 scoring 21 stableford points but wilted in the extreme heat on the back 9 and ended up succumbing to their opponents on the 17th hole in a 2 and 1 defeat. Out last were an experienced pair in captain-for-the-day Nigel Gaymond and Angus Robertson. After a promising beginning for Richmond in the first few holes, Rickmansworth were 3 up after 6 holes and despite best efforts, Angus and Nigel were never able to get back on competitive terms, largely as the result of a stunning performance by their high handicapper, playing off 17, who ground our intrepid pair into the dust with a relentless barrage of outstanding play shooting an 80 on his own ball on a tough Duke’s course. Clearly, Nigel brings out the best in that particular player who performed in a similarly spectacular fashion before in a previous leg at Rickmansworth for a 79 playing off a 24 handicap! I will be requesting that I do not face him in future matches!
As always, an enjoyable match with great company, but at 3-3 the return leg at Rickmansworth in September will be a huge challenge. But maybe it is time for us to go over there and give a better account of ourselves. Remember, we only need six points in total to retain the cup as the holders, so let’s go over and fight for those three points!
Rickmansworth 2nd Leg (away)
After several delays (Queen’s funeral, and admin mistake by the Rickmansworth team) 12 brave RPGC souls suited up for a (very) early tee-time near Watford. 3 rookies were present for the “Tricky Ricky” experience. The course itself was even more challenging than before: the dew slowed the greens down quite a bit and any hope of roll on the fairways at this early hour was a pipe dream. Things “improved” a little on the back 9 (thanks to the mild temperatures).
Mike Shabani and Tony Kopczak were originally scheduled to tee off first but a stroke of luck/genius by the team captain Kim broke up this pairing. In the end Roger Rojas and Tony became the “leading pair”. They halved the first hole: Ricky’s “bogey” was matched by their Double Bogey”. Unfortunately, things didn’t improve for our frontrunners as they lost 4 of the next 6 holes. An uncharacteristic win on hole 8 sent them into the turn already 3 Down. Losses on holes 10/11 really didn’t help. A brief resurgence (wins on holes 13/14) were nipped in the butt by a loss on the long par 3 hole over the ravine. Loss 4&3. RPGC – Ricky 0-1.
Mike Shabani and Kim opened with 2 pars, the rest of the front 9 kept going back & forth and RPGC was only 1 Down after 9. An ugly loss on 11 increased the pressure. Our pair remained 2 Down after walking off the 15th. Luckily Mike decided to step up with a win on 16 and a halve by Kim on the 17th meant we teed off Dormie 1 down on 18. Mike then really proved that trees are made of 90% air; his “fade” somehow went through the leaves/branches of trees on the left and onto the fairway and Mike’s approach into the green put massive pressure on the Ricky pair (some clubs even went airborne … ). All Mike needed to do was walk off the green with a solid 2-putt. He lines up his putt, starts the backswing, ball leaves the club face … and ends up 2 feet short! But showing true grit Mike walked up his ball and calmly sank the putt. Match halved. RPGC – Ricky 0.5-1.5. The result we needed! Tamas and Alvaro went 3 Down after the front 9 (even though they scored 22pts Stableford in 4BBB format). Even though they attempted a comeback they ended up losing 5&4. Rookies Ben and Louis Dickey had a tough time and lost by a wide margin Unfortunately Pete G and Sean T experienced the same fate. Richard O. & Uli lost in the final game by the slimmest margin (3&2).
RPGC wins the tie 6.5 – 5.5. The cup (as per below) is back home.
Overall standings in this friendly match over the years: Ricky 28 wins – RPGC 24 wins.
We ‘only’ need 6 points to retain the cup next year – thanks goodness.
Rickmansworth Match – 1st leg
Maybe there were some nerves on the first tee, with only one of 4 players in the first game managing to find the (correct) fairway, but at the end of the day it was a perfect (dream!) result for RPGC – a 6-0 win. So we just need half a point in the 2nd leg at Tricky Ricky in September to win back the cup in this annual men’s match.
Our first pairing of Henry L-B and Richard Inglis reached the 13th hole with a comfortable 4 hole lead. However, they lost the next 3 holes in a row (with shots being given to Ricky) and became really tense when the match went back to Even/All Square on the 16th. But a strong birdie-par finish put the first “yellow” point on the board.
Game 2 became the showcase of an unsung hero. Roger/Tony K. won 8 holes. 5 of those wins can be credited to … Tony. He even birdied the 12th (for the equivalent of … 5 stableford points). Ricky was no match. So RPGC won 3&2 and went 2-0 up. Mike Shabani and Kim went in the 3rd game. 6 wins in the first 8 holes and an ugly slip-up on the 9th meant a 5 hole lead at the turn. Holes 10-11 were halved and after a loss on hole 12 the pair closed out the match with wins on holes 13 & 14: a 6&4 win, making it RPGC 3 : Ricky 0.
Whereas the first 3 games may have looked “comfortable” for RPGC, the last 3 games had much more ebb and flow to them. In game 4 Nigel Gaymond and Sean Thomas were in a quite a fight over the front 9 but the back 9 totally belonged to the men in yellow as they stormed to a 3&2 win. RPGC 4 : Ricky 0.
Richard Back & Justin Wildman, fresh off an early exit from the RPGC Men’s pairs KO, stormed the front 9 with 25 stableford points equivalent and held it together RPGC its 5th point.
The final pairing of Angus and the 3rd Richard in the RPGC team (Richard Owen) were ‘erratic’ on the front 9; all square after 3, 3 down after 6 and back to all square after 9. The momentum of holes 7-9 was then consolidated by wining holes 10 and 13. A loss on the tough 15th hole created a bit of tension, but a birdie by Angus on the 16th and a birdie by Richard on the 17th sealed their win. RPGC 6 : Ricky 0.
2021 Home Leg – Rickmansworth Friendly
This Saturday 6 pairs faced off in the home leg of the annual friendly vs Rickmansworth. Playing conditions were pretty decent. Kim and Ryan Dewar were playing catch-up from the go. Things looked pretty dire when they went 3 down after just 3 holes. But some good iron play by Ryan allowed the lead off pair to square things off on hole 12. They even briefly took the lead on the next hole. Only to lose that slim lead on the next hole. Both teams stood on the 18th with the visitors 1 Up. The match ended in a real anti-climax when only 1 player (the visiting captain) managed to put a ball in play. RPGC – Tricky Ricky 0-1. Richard Owen and Sazer Cuneyt were in a real tussle the whole round. They managed to make something out of nothing when they won the last hole to earn a respectable draw. RPGC 0.5 – Tricky 1.5. Alan King and Rick Kimber played a steady round to earn the home team’s first victory RPGC 1.5 – Tricky 1.5. Surprise package of the day were Tony Kopczak and Mike Shabani who demolished their opponents 6&5 (they recorded a 4BBB stableford score of … 48pts). RPGC 2.5 – Tricky 1.5. Alvaro Garcia-Hoz and Uli Katte were able to increase RPGC’s lead with a solid win. RPGC 3.5 – Tricky 1.5. Sean Thomas and Damber were in control of their match for 13 holes. A few uncharacteristic errors lead to a heartbreaking loss on the last hole. Final Score RPGC 3.5 – Tricky 2.5.
Return leg on 11-Sep promises to be (even) tougher than expected but we’ll give it a shot.
Report due soon.
Report due soon.
Report due soon.
Report due soon.
Report due soon.