Cornish mizzle fails to dampen golfing mood
St Mellion International Resort has recently celebrated the 10th birthday of the Nicklaus signature course and it was the venue for the Royal Navy Rugby Union Annual Golf Day. Sponsors, executive committee members, referees and players gathered together with some St Mellion members to brave the challenges of the 6,572 yard Cornish countryside.
RNRU Chariman in waiting Commander Andy Kellett welcomed everyone to the event briefly highlighting how enjoyable and successful the 2017/18 season was, thanking the wider Navy Rugby family for their individual contributions. Before handing over to St Mellion Golf Manager, David Moon, to discuss the day's programme, Andy emphasised how delighted he was to be taking over the role from Brigadier Ewen Murchison and how important it is to the RNRU to continue to grow these very important relationships.
And so, fortified with bacon-rolls and warmed by arabica coffee, the players mustered on the driving range where trick shot maestro, Paul Barrington, entertained everyone, destroying golfing confidence and brandishing his acerbic wit to out-drive the day's biggest hitters with a putter! David 'Sharpey' Ward needs to hang further back or he will keep getting targeted by the bantering trickster!
Teeing off at 1100 the teams departed at 10 minute intervals with the final four-ball led by Tom Coates leaving at 1230. During those anxious moments leading up to the team's first drive off the yellows, the participants could use the immaculate putting greens to hone their skills and understand the speed of the greens. In the excitement of the competition some forgot quite quickly!
Over three hours of hunting for balls, conferring on shot options and convivial meanderings strong bonds are forged and that ultimately is the purpose of the day. What furthers the success is the rich mix of newcomers and old hands, all with different tales but with an underlying love of rugby (and golf).
As the sun wasn't seen for most of the day it was difficult to judge the time astronomically but rather by hunger and tiredness. As the final card was handed over to the officials, a look of broad contentment was obvious on the face of all participants as they headed to the club house.
Following several recounts and shouts of 'bandit', the RNRU Secretary Cdr Alan Church Retd. announced that he had won! He then mentioned that his success was mainly due to the skills of his team mates as he was let down by the back 9. Ossie Osbourne replicated the previous year's success of work colleague Chris Barnard. Martin Southgate was the backbone of the side ably supported by Gary Bushell.
The loudest cheer was reserved for Peter Cooper VW Group, who having won last in 2014, came agonisingly close to recovering the crown.
1st: Alan Church (RNRU), Ossie Osbourne (SA Group), Gary Bushell (Army Navy Chairman), Martin Southgate (RNRMC)
2nd: Darren Cooper (PCVW), Russell Lempka, Simon Williamson, Nick Lawton
3rd: Chris Roberts (RNRU), Simon Fox (MBDA), Jock Easton (H4H), Will Gray (Babcock)
Longest Drive: Will Gray (Babcock)
Nearest the Pin: Steve Murdoch (Babcock)
Nearest the Pin in Two: Luke Shiel (MBDA)
Article by J Campbell-Baldwin
Images: Credit Royal Navy Rugby Union © Trevor Burrows