Grafton Morrish, Public Schools Old Boys Golf Competition 2010
Gavin Bradbury, 1981-1983; Kingweston
The ongoing quest to repeat Millfield’s 1974 win at the Grafton Morrish tournament, began in earnest in May 2010 with the spring qualifying event at Royal Ashdown Forest Golf club in East Sussex. The course, famous for having no bunkers, is ranked in the Top 100 courses in the British Isles so always provides a stern test for (some of!) Millfield’s most gritty old boy golfers!
On Sunday 12th May our hand-picked team of low handicap golfers gathered to ensure that we would be one of only 5 teams to qualify from the 12 schools assembled. The day had the added incentive that the top placed school on the day would be seeded in the competition proper, thus avoiding the stronger schools.
Our first pair of Giles Legge (1983-1988; St Annes) and JJ Moore (1998-2000; Etonhurst), who had flown in from the The Isle of Man, played superbly solid golf and secured an impressive 31 points on a day when the greens were firm, slow and bobbly. Gavin Bradbury (1981-1983; Kingweston) and Andy Russell (1995-2000; Kingweston) combined well after a slow start to secure 27 points which meant that our third pair needed to bag at least 25 points. The round started badly with Chris Taee (1981-1986; Day) misreading his partner’s Bushnell rangefinder yardage (Ed Matthew’s , 1981-1986; Joan’s kitchen). Chris had inadvertently locked on the house at the back of the green to get a yardage of 150 yards instead of the 80 yards which was left to the flag – happily Chris’s 9 iron missed the upstairs window as it sailed out of bounds! Chris and Ed’s 25 point tally helped us to 83 points total and allowed us to take the final 5th spot to secure our space in Norfolk for the competition proper.
Our first round draw pitted us against Birkenhead at Hunstanton Golf Club on Friday 30th September, whose combined team handicaps totalled scratch. With the wind whipping up, our first pair of Ed Matthews and Chris Taee took an early 2 hole lead which was soon whittled back with their opponents bagging 6 birdies in the first 10 holes! Despite a late rally Chris and Ed shook hands on the 13th green. Giles Legge and Matt Condren played marvellous wind golf to beat their opponents 3/1 leaving the third pair of Gavin Bradbury and Andy Russell needing to bring the last point home. Despite some solid driving and iron play, the fast greens took their toll with Birkenhead winning 4/3 and securing their spot in the next round. After some rain delayed Ryder cup viewing at the Lodge Hotel, the next morning we arrived at Royal West Norfolk Golf Club (Brancaster) to play in the Solihull Salver , thanks go to Paul Freeth (19xx-19xx; House) for stepping in late and playing some great golf on his home course. Our combined score of 92 points put us in 3rd position out of 26 teams, a great effort yet once again ‘so near yet so far’!
If you are a low handicap golfer (2 or less) and would like to play competitive old boys golf for Millfield in the Grafton Morrish, please email firstname.lastname@example.org as it would be great to get some new blood to ensure that we get our name back on the trophy after a gap of over 25 years!