Well, after many weeks of preparation, worry and then several sleepless nights my Captain’s Day arrived. The number of entrants had been a major concern but, thankfully they turned out to be ok with 74 members entering. Not brilliant but much better than we thought it might have been a few weeks earlier.
I was amazed how many people couldn’t attend due to hospital or doctors appointments, had just had a procedure which prevented them from playing, were on holiday, had gone to Gleneagles to watch the Solheim Cup or had grandchildren they had to look after. All acceptable and understandable reasons.
Now living 54 miles away from Libbaton, rather than the 100 yards away that I lived when I was Captain there, I travelled up the afternoon before with a car full of prizes, various drinks and freshly baked pasties and Eccles cakes. My car smelt absolutely wonderful. I impressed myself by not touching any of the food beforehand. The prize table was set up and final ‘dotting of I’s and crossing of t’s was done.
I was staying at friends in Barnstaple the night before and was a little concerned when we drove in on Thursday morning as the weather looked decidedly miserable with heavy grey clouds and steady drizzle. Thankfully for once the weather forecast was remarkably accurate and the rain stopped early on and the clouds eventually cleared and the sun came out. This was a good job because a strong gust of wind mid-morning had caused the gazebo at the Half-Way house on the 10th tee to blow away.
I spent most of my time meeting everyone as they passed the 10th tee after playing the 2nd hole and they all seemed in excellent spirits. when they got back to the 10th tee the refreshments were well received, especially the pasties and Eccles cakes. I was delighted that the Libbaton Club President, Ben James, offered to act as starter for the day and saw everyone off. He was kept well supplied with beer, whisky, pasties and Eccles cakes. A big thank you to him for doing this.
Two of my former neighbours at Libbaton (Jim Spreadborough and Jim Willsmore) very kindly helped as spotters for some of the holes and their help was much appreciated. After the final group passed the Half-Way, and everything was tidied away I went back to the clubhouse to help our Secretary Roy Smith with anything that needed doing but as usual he had everything under control. The actual scores are shown separately but I would say there was an enormous variation in them.
It was very disappointing and more than a little annoying that the 1st and 2nd prize winners, in the main competition the Bowering Salver were not able to stay to receive their prizes at the Prize Giving. Home advantage certainly helped as former Libbaton Captains took all three prizes in the Veterans competition and Brian Stevens won the Scratch. Brian did have several advantages over his opponents in that he must be the youngest member of DGC, by some years, but he is also the Greenkeeper at Libbaton. So, if he doesn’t know the course there’s not much hope for the rest of us.
After the prize giving dinner was served and I have to say that this wen remarkably well and was served in a very timely manner with three courses and coffee being served for over 70 people in less than 1 1/2 hours. This meant that those with a long drive home got away earlier than they possibly expected. There were many compliments about the food, with only a few, tongue in cheek, complaints about the portions being too big.
I was absolutely delighted how the day went and can’t thank everyone at Libbaton enough for all the effort they put in on my/our behalf. My thanks must, also, go to :- Graham Ruth, Golf Tee Time Service & Brittany Ferries for the prizes and vouchers they donated. Graham Heaman for all his support throughout the year and for getting the two rugby balls signed by the Exeter Chiefs. Good luck to him for next year. Malcolm Jordain and Lew Easter for their help with registration etc. Very special thanks must also go to Roy Smith for all his work before and during the day. He administered all the entry forms, sorted all the start sheets, produced the table plan, did all the place cards and sorted all the score cards to ensure all the prizes went to the right people.
I have to admit to getting a little emotional following the response to my speech and the the thanks from everyone as they left. A great day but I’m glad its over. Please give Graham Heaman your support next year and make sure you put your names down for the many matches we have. You won’t be selected if you don’t tell us you’re available
Brian has comprehensively reported the day and requires no additional comment except, Roy is now in his 91st year, he is truly an exceptional gentleman and we are so fortunate to have him as our Secretary. Every organisation needs a ‘Roy’ we are indeed blessed to have the original. Thank you Roy from all of us.