6. 23rd August Match v Sussex
The Society has been lucky to play our furthest away match at Seaford Golf Club, both in 2019 and then again this year. We have also been blessed to have not only this lovely setting, situated on the South Downs overlooking Newhaven and the English Channel, but to have had dates which offered perfect weather on both occasions. This year again we had a sunny day with a little breeze, just enough to keep it comfortable for play.
There is no question that this fixture makes for a very long day trip and therefore there are always a few ladies who decide to use the opportunity to make a short break on the coast around this match. I’d definitely recommend that: though possibly not the non-airconditioned Newhaven Premier Inn, who on the excuse of discouraging us from throwing ourselves out of the window (I guess some take these matches to heart), denied me the opportunity of having any fresh air in my room… or any sleep! Having said that, the Prosecco was cheap and the company great – thanks, Mary, for suggesting it: it was great to unwind instead of jumping in the car!
Weather and incidentals covered (can’t help myself), the course was in good condition with a terrain that blended completely into the natural landscape. With plenty tricky placements of the ball required to avoid unseen bunkers and dips (or ravines!) and to navigate blind shots in the right direction, it was really quite challenging. But the stunning views and the feeling of being ‘out in the wild’ I hope mitigated against any disgruntlement in our camp! Mary’s and my opposition were very helpful on that front, so much so, that although an early good lead was starting to seem a bit fragile over the last few holes, in the end their good nature worked out to our benefit.
The facilities and hospitality in the clubhouse were well-received, although like many establishments in the post-Covid lifting of restrictions there were hiccups …not in the least that the promised and highly desired lemon posset failed to materialise, as the chef had completely forgotten about it! But, as they say, “first world problems” and overall a great trip and match with very friendly hosts.
All matches were well fought by the Berkshire gals, with two halves, several very close matches ending on the 18th and with a few solid wins to boot, it meant that we had a resounding success this time round.
The team: Babs Shanks, Mary Lush, Cathy Jones, Carol Broadmead, Sonya Singh, Terri Wright, Ann Francis, Norma Moran, Helen Price, Pauline Sleet, Judy Crawley, Katherine Hartwell, Mary Harwood, Gill Lane, Carol Taylor & Jo Russ

7. 2nd September Match v Berkshire Captains
The last time we played was at Goring and Streatley in 2019, where Margaret pulled out all the stops to wow the gents with superb catering at her club, not in the least an amazing ‘serve yourself’ buffet of starters. Well, of course, two years is a long time in pandemic terms and while I’m sure we had all been looking forward to our last taste of Reading Golf Club at Emmer Green where Roger Beavis, the Berkshire Captains’ Captain was a member, that sadly was not to be as the club closed there earlier this year.
Ahead of the match, quite a few ladies had expressed their views about The Caversham as a venue for this match, and several of these were uncomplimentary. They definitely put the wind up me, as my vague memories of playing there when it first opened, were also unfavourable and I always worry that we’re not going to have a nice experience. However, most (though not all) reported back in relatively good spirits and much as I’m not keen myself on long treks, I found that the 800 yards they have cut off the distance by reconfiguring the course meant that, to me at least, it no longer felt like such a slog and I thought the views over adjacent countryside were very attractive and to some degree unexpected (I have a terrible memory).
As you know by now, my match reports tend to wax lyrical about nature, weather and the food! You may have also deduced it is just diversion tactics to avoid describing any of my shots. (WHO’s actually interested anyway??)
Unfortunately for Mary, our second foray out together this season found me reverting to type, so she had her work cut out. To be fair, we both flew off the starting blocks and with her par on 1 and my birdie on 2 (I remember THAT one!) we proceeded on a high for quite some time. Sadly, around the 11th, the boys, Roger and Ian (Reading’s Club Captain), finally found their stride and overtook us to win in the end on the 17th.
The matches overall were ‘mixed’. We had a couple of halves and another few ‘close calls’ which could have gone either way. Fully deserving to be mentioned in dispatches, are Rosalie & Pauline V who had a brilliant 5 & 4 win over their chaps. However, the men seemed to get the lie of the land a bit better and we sustained an overall defeat. There certainly seemed to be some very long carries off the orange tees so I wonder if the Caversham just favours longer hitters? Let’s just say that’s it!
This is a very popular fixture, but with 24 a side, there is no denying that it’s another long day out and, given how tricky it is to field such a large side, we may look at paring this back a little in the future. However, I hope that the majority of the ladies enjoyed both their game and the very convivial dinner afterwards. As our only mixed match, there is no doubt that it has a different ‘vibe’, and the banter at our table (and for that matter, all round the course) was certainly free-flowing! Long may it continue, say I, regardless of whether they’re out to hammer us, or not. Next year, as we are hosting, WE get to decide how play is organised so hopefully we’ll come up with a cunning plan and a win!
The team: Babs Shanks, Mary Lush, Rosalie Tucker, Pauline Valsler, Elspeth Cooper, Viv Williams, Donna Hunt, Linda Harris, Sonya Singh, Ann Francis, Claire Randell, Gill Myers, Glenys Ellis, Ann Pennell, Jean Bentley, Anne Tokley, Bernie Martin, Judith Castle, Pat Jenkins, Mary Harwood, Helen Price. Glyn Carroway, Norma Moran & Sally Hart.

8. 15th September Match v Wiltshire
The run up to this, the last match of the season turned out to be, as ever, problematic, as players needed to withdraw, reserves were no longer available and I was on holiday in Cornwall with only intermittent internet access. I had been talking to Jennie, my counterpart in Wiltshire for over two years and it would appear that there’s been little plain sailing anywhere! In fact, she’d only found her team about twelve hours earlier, so when we finally got to meet up, it was with a good deal of relief all round. Tuesday had been a really miserable wet day but on the Wednesday of the match even though reports had predicted continuing rain, in fact the sun came out and shone all day making the course look quite beautiful for our final outing.
Very few of us had played at Chippenham Golf Club, where Jennie had arranged for us to play. It was a very interesting course, full of features which required careful navigation, which is rather tricky if you don’t know they’re there. That ravine (ok, dip) which transsected quite a few holes, got me every time and accounted for three of my SEVEN lost balls (I don’t lose that many in a YEAR). I’d rather not mention the water hole (The Splosh,) because, whereas some ladies came back saying what a great hole it is, for me that was another two balls gone and even now I can’t fathom how it’s supposed to be played.
You may have deduced that my final fling as a match captain was not my finest hour (we’re all still waiting!). HOWEVER, having chosen Margaret as my next victim (playing partner), it soon became evident that a month in Portugal had done her the power of good and inspite of my worst efforts, that day she was taking no prisoners. With stoic resignation to the fact she was largely ‘on her own’ apart from me cheering her on from the sidelines (as I had no ball on six holes!), we had a decent win. It soon became apparent that the Berks team were on very good form that day as the ladies pulled out all the stops to allow me to be able to say that we had come out on top over the season, winning more than we lost. The staff at Chippenham were just delightful and made us most welcome, our opponents were great company and our meal after the match was really nice, with the biggest slice of cheesecake I’ve ever seen on a ‘match tea’!
The team: Babs Shanks, Margaret Berriman, Rosalie Tucker, Claire Randell, Norma Moran, Jo Russ, Linda Pitt, Gill Lane, Anne le Marinel, Fay Unsworth, Katherine Hartwell, Bernie Martin, Marilyn Pembroke, Pauline Sleet & Ann Francis.