Once again these two famous clubs, both formed in 1894, met on the links at Camber to enjoy four rounds of golf on one of the finest seaside courses in the land. This year though will be remembered as “Rye Gate” for reasons that will become apparent.
Fortunately the weather had finally turned and although not blisteringly warm it was dry enough and the Lloyd’s team found themselves after the morning round needing to find more inspiration as we were, unusually for us behind, at this stage. Of course lunch at Rye is always a convivial occasion and in seeking more inspiration it seems that we depleted the club’s stock of Beaumont 2010 so successfully that the Steward has to send for reinforcements to the cellar.
The natural corollary to this sadly was that by the time we returned in the late afternoon we were even further behind. 11-5 down!
It should be noted that the first of the “Gates” occurred, on the 17th green, that afternoon where the opponents putt hit the pin, whilst being attended but failed to be withdrawn from the hole, and on striking the pin the ball dropped into the cup! This should have resulted in loss of hole to Rye but due to uncertainty of the rules, the hole was conceded by us to Rye. A halved hole was the ultimate outcome but that match never recovered, as we were 3 down at the time but as word spread of events on the 17th, the incident became absorbed into the LGC folklore to be forever remembered as “Flag Gate”.
After a few post round refreshers Neil Pearce our Match Manager, hosted us and the Rye team for pre dinner drinks at his wonderful house in Rye, and then onto the Tuscan Kitchen. Now for those of you who have never dined at this fine restaurant, they take dining to new levels and we sated our appetite and thirsts in equal measure on a mesmerising selection of pasta and meats that arrived at the table.
All too quickly Saturday morning was upon us and we faced an uphill battle lying 11-5 down. After a stiff team talk from Neil we were fired up for the challenge but sadly the Golfing Gods had other ideas as a thick sea mist had descended on the course and play was delayed for over an hour.
Eventually play started and we returned at lunch time to the Club House tied at 13-13.
It was in the morning round that the second “Gate” occurred. Whilst playing the fourth hole, a certain Rye member, an eminent member of the Bar GS, found the ball lying on the right hand slope of rough, just above the second green. With the ball well below his feet the shot was attempted, moving it but curiously that was not the only object set in motion. Said player uncontrollably lost his balance, pitched forward, could not stop the force of gravitational descent and ended up in a heap in a green side bunker on the second hole. A definite first I believe. As word spread of this incident, it too gained a place in Club folklore and shall forever be remembered as “Bunker Gate”.
So the afternoon round commenced and after some thrilling play from both sides I am happy to report that Lloyd’s Golf Club prevailed 18-16 in one of the closest matches in memory.
As ever we offer our deep thanks to Tim Austen, Captain Rye, and Jimmy James, Secretary, for once again looking after us so well and to the green staff for presenting what I can only describe as a course in truly fantastic condition given the appalling Spring we have had thus far.
Finally we offer our thanks to Neil Pearce for his exceptional match management, handling the odd last minute admin challenges and for his generous hospitality on Friday evening.
This takes our tally so far this season to:
Played 2, Lost 1, Won 1.