May/June 2022 report

June concluded with our long standing fixture against King’s Wimbledon golf society. We play for the Chris Edge trophy, which we won last year. Banstead Downs was looking and playing wonderfully and we all had enjoyable, sporting and competitive games. Sadly we succumbed 4-0, but three matches went to the 18th and one to the 17th, so it could have gone either way. It was good to see some players new to these matches, and especially ex-Hewitt player Dave Smith over from Jersey, just for this game !


The Cyril Gray is an inter-schools competition played each year at lovely Worplesdon, near Woking. This is a scratch foursomes tournament, for over-50s and, in Whitgift’s case, over-60s and over-70s! Whitgift has won the tournament twice in the past, in 1974 and 1999. Roll on 2024 then! This year it was not to be, although our team gave last year’s winners Edinburgh a real fright in their first round match. There are three pairs in each school team, and the first two matches proved one-sided, although for different sides; Whitgift, featuring Martin Hayes and Don Anderson, romped to a 6&5 win over their opponents, whilst Tony Mason and Roddy Sage were on the wrong end of a similar result – seeing their opponents birdie three of the first six holes did not help them. So everything depended on Ian Chicken and last minute replacement Nigel Huxtable in the third pairing, playing against an Edinburgh pair of brothers-in-law with significantly lower handicaps and, at least in one case, a flamboyant dress code. The match was pretty even all the way through, with each side swopping a slender lead. Nigel’s bunker play was put to the test on more than one occasion, and on the 17th, with Whitgift one-down, he produced another superb bunker shot to within eight feet and then Ian holed the putt to level the match. Sadly, the 18th did not see a repeat performance and Edinburgh’s very solid par was enough to settle the match, and the tie, in their favour.

Cyril Gray 2022. Martin Hayes, Roddy Sage, Nigel Huxtable, Tony Mason, Ian Chicken, Don Anderson.

Whitgift lost 3-0 to Stowe in the first round of the Plate, whilst Edinburgh went on to yet another final. They did not retain their title, however, losing ultimately to Blundell’s, who thereby – on the basis of the last two years’ draws, at any rate – earned themselves a first round tie against Whitgift in 2023.

Don Anderson played in the main competition, the Plate, and also the Cyril Gray Seniors event, which is one stableford round played on the tournament Saturday by one pair from each school, whose combined age must exceed 140. Although they could scarcely have looked old enough, Peter Blok and Don earned Whitgift a third place in this event, which was won, with a lead of six shots, by St Paul’s.


Two matches were played in early June, against old rivals Trinity and Dulwich.

The Trinity match took place at Addington Palace, which was in splendid condition, and the greens were fast and true. Despite the threat of a thunderstorm, we played mostly in sunny weather and enjoyed a sociable snack of sandwiches and chips afterwards with a victorious Trinity side, who prevailed 3.5 – 1 .5 and so hold on to the Harrods Putter, which was first contested by the societies in 1991. Whitgift’s only points came from Vice Captain Alan Scovell, who halved his singles match, and Peter Gale/David Hughes, who held on to a 1-up win in the first of the four pairs matches.

The OWs v Old Alleynians fixture was first played in 1949. In the slightly more modern era, it became a fixture featuring erstwhile rugby playersfrom both schools, returning to our schedule in 1981. Early matches were played at The Addington and Croham Hurst but the fixture moved to Tandridge (well populated by OWs and OAs) in 1993 and has remained there ever since. Although the rugby connections have largely disappeared, there is still the friendly banter and a good spirit between the two sides, and it was another enjoyable occasion again this year, topped by another Tandridge supper after the golf.  To the surprise of many on both sides, Whitgift came out on top, by five matches to three. Tandridge looked splendid in the early evening sunlight, and the views opened up in recent years by some tree surgery are shown to good effect in the attached photos (right).


If OWGS experience is anything to go by, Deal must be missing out on climate change. No sign of any global warming in this corner of SE England! To be fair, the afternoon weather for the Captain’s Cup singles was very pleasant, although nothing like as still as the society’s golfers might have wanted – the wind changed from north-westerly, to westerly, to south-westerly, as we went round the course, leaving the distinct impression that it was pretty much against us all the way round!  The turnout was poor, to put it mildly, caused by a combination of Covid, poor communications, holidays, transport difficulties, and no doubt, for some, the sense that Royal Cinque Ports was a step too far, either terms of difficulty, distance to travel, or cost.  The morning foursomes were distinctly wet, almost from start to finish, and with the persistent rain leaving puddles on the greens, the prospect of soup in the clubhouse, and the desire to get out of soaking clothes, half the field called it quits after 12 holes, leaving the Thompson Tankards at the mercy of the other half. Captain Jeremy Stanyard denied the resulting appeal for a stewards’ enquiry, and Adrian McMillan and Don Anderson were named the winners, with a creditable total of 31 points. There was no need for an enquiry into the afternoon result, although there is the thought that Jeremy’s soup must have been blessed with something other than the vegetables that the rest of us had, because he covered the first nine holes with 24 stableford points, more than some earned in the full 18. With a modicum of decency, he eased off in the second half, but his final score of 36 points was a full six better than runner-up Alan Scovell.  Jeremy is pictured left, with the Captain’s Cup – appropriately named, as it happened.


Those who were at Deal for the Captain’s meeting had the pleasure to witness a presentation made during our break for lunch, to two stalwarts of OW golf, Kent golf, and indeed British golf, Peter Hedges and David Hedges. The society honours those who have made an outstanding contribution, and both Peter and David clearly fall into that category. Leaving aside their achievements in other fields (Peter represented GB&I in the Walker Cup), they both played more than 100 Hewitt matches for Whitgift and both had a win ratio of 66.5%. As a foursomes pair in the Hewitt, they were formidable, playing 79 matches together and earning 53.5 points. As Mike Wilkinson has noted “Having them as the lead pair made us one-up before we even started”.

The presentation was made in the Jack Aisher Room at Deal, which features boards recording the results not only of the Halford Hewitt, but also those of several other competitions which Peter and David won on various occasions.

Jeremy Stanyard (Captain), Peter Hedges, David Hedges, and Pip Burley (President). 


The society’s first match of the new season was the combined match against the School, in which one schoolmaster and one OW take on two schoolboys in a fourball, better ball, format. The match started in  heavy rain, which was no doubt welcomed by gardeners, but came as a rude shock to the golfers. Fortunately, conditions improved as the evening went on, which was just as well because the final groups struggled to finish in daylight, as evidenced by the photo right, showing one of the boys, with a classic pose at the top of his swing, teeing off on the 18th. Ultimately, the Masters/OW side came out on top, by four matches to two, and ‘held on’ to the trophy, but only metaphorically, since nobody brought it with them!


May started with the qualifying round for the Grafton Morrish, which was played at Royal Wimbledon. It takes the form of a scratch foursomes medal, with the combined scores of each school’s three pairs determining which seven schools out of 16 go through to the knockout finals in October. Whitgift were represented by Carl Hills & Joe Firth, Martin Hayes & Laurie Evans, and Tony Kemp & Jack Raison, whose combined score of 78 saw us in fifth place on the day, qualifying alongside Rugby, Eton, Charterhouse, Epsom, Westminster and KCS Wimbledon. Well done, guys. Qualifying is by no means straightforward; Loretto, winners of this year’s Hewitt, failed to get out of the Scottish group.