The European election results weren’t the only source of surprise results last month.
London Scottish FC golfers’ win against Royal Mid-Surrey GC was remarkable too; even more so as the Scots had neither won, nor even halved, the annual match for as long as either team organiser, Stuart Murray (RM-S) and Lance Quantrill (LSFC) could remember.
With thunderstorms threatening to flood the course, polling station duties preventing some their normal two hours warm-up on the range and sickness taking out a key player for each side, the players nervously assembled in the bar.
It soon became evident that LSFC had more in their favour than just the preparation prompted by the somewhat understated words in Lance’s selection notification. “I am delighted to announce the strongest golfing side which LSFC has ever fielded, very probably which any rugby club has ever fielded, everyone is honed to the peak of their golfing prowess and in perfect physical condition…now hit the range tonight and shoot the birdies over the holiday weekend.”
For, out of the 17 players present, two of the RM-S team were members of LSFC and one was also a Scot.
Miles Mantella and Gareth Evans, two current rugby players, turned out for their first time in a LSFC golf event, to strengthen the team further.
And so it was with divided loyalty that Rod Lynch left his LSFC President’s cap in the changing rooms to captain the RM-S side in the first match.
Little did Rod and fellow RM-S partner Alan Bryson know what a well prepared pairing they faced for Miles Mantella (handicap 8) had been practising all week at Camberley Heath GC and Hugh Garnham (handicap 11) had done the same at Royal Wimbledon GC.
Second match on the tee was always going to be a Scots’ win; not only was LSFC legend Roddy Grant representing RM-S but his partner, Ian White, was from north of the border too.
As Ryder Cup captains often find, team selection is an art rather than a science.
Thankfully Lance knew his players well and skilfully twinned Donald Mungall with Colin Ferguson in a dream team for this vital game.
Lance was also guided by Colin’s email request to play with Donald including the words, “because no one else wants to play with me.”
Lance also found an excellent common reason for bonding Ron Turner and Stewart Petty as the Scots’ 3rd pairing – they both smoked and drank London Pride.
New boy Gareth Evans formed up the last team with hardened veteran Bruce Law; leaving Lance to nervously spectate and worry if he should have put more time into his second role as, self appointed, fitness and conditioning coach for the team. He diverted his mind by picking up a singles game instead.
For just over three hours Surrey’s premier course reverberated to the sound of thunder and of golf balls being struck over 300 yards – hope you found it afterwards Miles.
Mungall and Ferguson returned the first win for the Scots with a fine 4 up and 3 to play. Yet, with Law and Evans 3 down on the 12th Tee the result was still finely balanced.
Thankfully, after Garnham lipped out from just under 20 foot on the 16th Green he and Mantella carded a 2 &1 win over Lynch and Bryson.
Turner and Petty closed their match, and cigarette cases, on the final green winning 1 up to mean that LSFC had clinched 3 matches to 4 to win overall.
This just left Law and Evans out on the course battling in a match they thought could be the decider.
Now, in most teams the manager would go out to let them know their result was of little consequence.
However, Lance was overcome with emotion, and had just got a fresh pint, so decided to defend their sausages against the eternally-hungry Colin Ferguson.
Another memorable, outstanding and enjoyable sporting event in the history of two great clubs.
Spoiled only by one thought.
LSFC have not won the annual golf match against Richmond RFC for the last 5 years!
Can they repeat this recent fine performance?
This year the Richmond fixture starts at 4.30pm at Royal Mid-Surrey GC on Friday 20th June.
You don’t have to be a great golfer to play just a good sport.
Don’t watch it on Sky Plus or follow it on Radio 5 Live, let Lance know you are available.
Call him on 07818420465 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org