They say beware the sick golfer - and so it proved as Chichester veterans started their order of merit season with the Spring Trophy, a medal played off the white tees.
It was a dry, fine day and the 52 starters enjoyed pretty good conditions - but the Cathedral course is still playing long and scoring was not easy.
Just one person beat their handicap and a storming performance by Gordon Williams, just back after breaking his thumb and feeling a bit under the weather, saw him manage a magnificent nett 69 to win by three clear shots and claim the trophy.
Result: 1 Gordon Williams 69; 2 Dieter Matthey 72; 3 Don Hagell 72; 4 Mike Harrington 73; 5 Nick Hobbs 73. Nearest the pins: 4th hole Mike Beer; 6th Nick Hobbs; 13th Peter Green; 15th Ken Jackson.
The veterans’ inter-club programme has been hit by two postponements for bad weather but it was fine for the away match with Selsey.
This fixture is traditionally very close and so it proved here. Chichester triumphed 3½-2½ and it was settled with a fighting half by John Paul and Jim Robertson who were two down with two to play.
Results: C Goldsmid & R Parker lost 5&4; B Burn & R Holden won 4&3; B Santer & A Grant won 5&4; J Robertson & J Paul halved; P Green & I Hollow won 2 up; C Penny & C Page lost 7&6.
Littlehampton GC had cause for celebration with the drive-in of the incoming captain Mike King.
In their 125th year, Mike is the 89th captain and has the honour of leading the anniversary celebrations.
He is no stranger to the area - he is a local boy who attended Littlehampton School. He joined the armed forces when he was 18 and served for 24 years, attaining the rank of major.
In 1889 the area on the west bank of the River Arun, where the golf course was to be laid out, had the remains of a shingle quarry, an army firing range and a disused fort. For the first nine years the only access to the course from Littlehampton was by ferry, until the swing bridge was built.
In an attempt to replicate the club’s history, Mike dressed in period golf attire and, courtesy of the commodore of Arun Yacht Club, was rowed across the river as of old times by Yacht Club member David Mayne. The spectacle was filmed and members gathered in their clubhouse to watch events unfold on TV screens.
The ceremony followed the usual pattern with past captains being introduced to the membership in front of the clubhouse before the new captain had the unenviable task of driving-in by striking a ball down the fairway in front of an enthusiastic crowd.
Earlier in the day the annual matchplay contest between teams led by the outgoing and incoming captains was a narrow 17-15 victory for Carl Stabler’s team.
New seniors’ captain David Feist has made an encouraging start to the season. The course has recovered well from the wet winter and the lovely spring weather has made playing golf a pleasure for all.
At home to Rookwood seniors, the first match of the season was played on a bright morning.
The strong Rookwood team were well ahead at one stage, winning three of the first four matches. However, Avisford’s last two pairs - Colin Payne and Chris Scott and Bob Boulter and George Butler - both triumphed, which meant the match ended in a 3-3 draw.
At home to Foxbridge on a beautiful sunny day, David Feist and Peter Bridgeman led the way with a sound 3&2 win, followed by an impressive 5&4 win by Bob Boulter and Graham Williams. This set the pattern of the day and Avisford ran out convincing 5-1 winners.
Next visitors to Avisford were Hill Barn. There had been torrential rain in the preceding days, but the course had dried out well and a heavy shower did not affect the home side.
Ernie Rivett and Peter Brown won their match 5&4 while Mike Gammon and Colin Payne were unbeatable, winning 8&7. Overall Avisford won 6-0.
Away to Chichester, there was a definite chill in the air - and little shelter from a keen wind. Most of the matches were very close, with the result uncertain to the last hole.
The first two matches were halved and Avisford won two and lost two, so the final score was 3-3.
Bognor ladies held a medal competition.
Results: Silver - 1 Caroline Pilbeam 69; 2 Chloe Court 72; 3 Wendy Johnson 73. Bronze A - 1 Berit Smallcorn 75; 2 Jane Russell 76; 3 Jacqui Humphreys 79; 4 Chris Puddicombe 79. Bronze B - 1 Brigette Paul 73; 2 Eileen Morris 74; 3 Barbara Evans 78. Bronze C - 1 Suzanne Burns 79; 2 Jackie Chamberlain 88.
Cowdray ladies played for the Half Century Vase.
Results: 1 Lena Cullen 69 nett, 2 Pam Leach 74 (cb), 3 Margaret Curwood 74 (ocb); 4 Ann Tyrrell 74.
The ladies also played their April Stableford.
Results - Div 1 - 1 Marilyn Davis 33pts (cb), 2 Mandy Lucking 33 (cb), 3 Barbara Parker 33. Div 2 - 1 Georgie Miller 32 (cb); 2 Susie Brockhurst 32; 3 Myrna Heustice 31. Div 3 - 1 Jane Stuart 29; 2 Betty Hallt 28, 3 June Page 27 (cb).
Cowdray Ladies played tremendous golf to beat Willingdon3-0 in the Morrice Foursomes.
They showed immense determination and played their socks off to win through to round three.
Willingdon had previously played against the holders at Royal Ashdown and were fielding a really strong team.
The Cowdray team comprised Debbie Cheasley, Jill Parry, Sue Brown, Sally Williams, Wendy Street and Jenny Clegg.
Phil Harrison and Terry Jasper battled it out in the final of Cowdray Park seniors’ winter singles competition for the Sandell Trophy.
Showers punctuated the day, making conditions unpleasant, although the greens remained fast.
Jasper, in receipt of shots, made Harrison play to the top of his game to stay in touch but by the the 15th, Harrison had begun to assert himself and was three up with three to play.
Jasper fought back to win the 16th and 17th to take the match to the 18th, where he received a shot. However, Harrison’s nerve held and the hole was halved to give him victory by one up.
After the recent setback at home to Ifield, Cowdray Park seniors returned to winning ways when they entertained and beat their visitors from Bramley, who continue to prove doughty opponents, with the home side winning 5-3.
Match manager Roger Poat and Alan Robinson started the ball rolling with a 3&1 win, quickly followed by seniors’ vice-captain Sam Howes and the in-form Derek Smith, who despite conceding many shots, running out comfortable winners by 4&3.
Bramley reduced the arrears before Mike Holden and David Wickham re-established a two-match lead with a win by two up.
The visitors won match five to leave the home side 3-2 up.
Two more in-form players, Ian Heustice and Ian Goodall, extended the lead with a 4&2 win before Bramley made it 4-3 to leave the match on a knife-edge.
In the decisive match, Cowdray’s ‘buggy boys’ Peter Laws and Alistair Proctor overcame the Bramley pair of Joss Nangle and Peter Secrett, who belied his 25 handicap to make the home pair sweat it out before completing a 2&1win and give the home team victory by 5-3.
Results (Cowdray Park names first): Roger Poat & Alan Robinson beat Terry Newman & Kurt Jager 3&1; Sam Howes & Derek Smith beat Barry Elliott & Tim Nicholas 4&3; Mike Cardiff & Roy Penrose lost to Paul Williams & John Medhurst 2dn; Mike Holden & David Wickham beat Gren Boyden & Peter Thorpe 2up; Phil Morris & George Crouch lost to Tony Lake & Peter Bonner 4&3; Ian Heustice & Ian Goodall beat Roger Lees & Clive Miller 4&2; Bill Brownlee & Clive Brine lost to Terry Adams & Dave Morley 3&1; Peter Laws & Alistair Proctor beat Joss Nangle & Peter Secrett 2&1.