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Simon Byford’s golf column: Nick Bonney and Colin Gray attempt to defend Men’s Winter Goblets title at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club

The second round of the Men’s Winter Goblets at Bury St Edmunds Golf Club was played last weekend.

This takes the foursomes format and is the best three scores from 4 rounds. From the Bury Free Press of November 17: “The alternate shot format requires a steady partnership who know how to use their handicap allocation well. At Bury this is epitomised no more than by reigning champions Nick Bonney & Colin Gray, who shot into first place with an incredible 43 points. Is it too early to be suggesting that everyone else is now playing for second?”

Well the second round continued this script. Nick Bonney& Colin Gray once again topped the leaderboard with 39 points. Returning 38 points, second place on the day went to Adrian Pitts & David Ives, with Matt Simpson & Adam Hooper-Greenhill, plus Chris Barnes & Michael Tebbutt on 37 points.

This leaves Bonney& Gray 10 points clear at the top of the overall leaderboard with 82 points. The hunt for the other major placings is a much closer (and dare I say it, more interesting) affair, with 20 pairs within the next 10 shots. Adrian Pitts & David Ives have 72 points, with three pairs on 69 points. The competition will continue with iterations in January and February, with some big scoring needed if anyone is to topple Nick & Colin, and stop them defending their title in the most emphatic fashion.

Colin Gray and Nick Bonney are now 10 points clear at the top of the overall leaderboard in the Men’s Winter Goblets
Colin Gray and Nick Bonney are now 10 points clear at the top of the overall leaderboard in the Men’s Winter Goblets

Bury St Edmunds GC

The Men’s midweek Stableford was held on a tough day for scoring, high winds and driving rain put many players off, but not Colin Debenham, who relished the tough conditions and played to his handicap, returning 36 points and the win in Division 1. Three players needed The Count to split them up for the lower places in Division 1. It was Andrew Tingey who emerged with second, Graham Staff third and Graham Smith fourth.

In Division 2 Peter Philpott was first with 33 points, and just to give The Count some more work, Ian Shand’s 31 points was adjudicated better than Ed Tonnar’s.

On the same day, a Ladies’ midweek Stableford was held. Josie Aves made light work of the weather conditions to return the highest score of the day with 37 points. Viv Kemp was second with 34 points and Louise Andrews third with 31.

The Suffolk GC

The second round of the Winter League took place, with the Greensomes format in play again. A high scoring format, players were looking at the opportunity to add to their total and climb the leaderboard. The second round was topped by Edward Moore & Robert Shaw with 45 points, second place went to Terry hall & Tim Nickerson on 44, with Rhys Nightingale and Paul Hawkins third on 42 points.

After the two rounds Edward Moore & Robert Shaw are top with 83 points, one point ahead of Gavin Hogg & Stephen Haygreen on 82 points. Just one shot further back on 81 points are Danny Hawkins & Lewis Gammon, along with Tim Nickerson & Terry Hall. The best four scores from the six rounds will count, so there is still lots of time for the leaderboard to change over the next few months.

In the Midweek Stableford the chips fell just right for James Laflin, as The Count did his work to confirm James’ 29 points were superior to John Dale’s. In third place was Mick Davey with 28 points.

The Senior men held a Stableford too, and it was Alan Horne who burrowed his way to the top of the molehill with 38 points, Douglas Coe was second with 37 points and Derek Bloomfield third on 31 points.

It was tables turned just two days later in another Seniors Stableford as Douglas Coe returned 41 points with Alan Horne (771 moles caught and counting, amazing) in second on 38 points. Richard Graves hadn’t bribed The Count with Moleskin trousers so his 38 points put him in third place.

Thetford GC

Thetford Golf Club held their Annual General Meeting this week. It is at this meeting that the incoming captains are officially confirmed.

Outgoing club president Gill Welham has stepped down after two years in the role and has passed the baton to Gary Goodchild, a past captain and previous Seniors captain at the club. Gill stated that she feels she has done her job helping to get ladies recognised in a male dominated sport having held the posts of Ladies’ captain in 2017, board chairman in 2020 and club president in 2022 and 2023 and said: “I can walk away with my head held high knowing that I have done my best. I am confident that Gary will

do a superb job as club president, and I wish him the very best in the role.”

The captains usually take up their posts at the Captains Drive-In, which this year should have been held on the day of the ‘Everyone’s a Winner’ Competition, a shot-gun start meaning the club house would be full at the end of the round. Unfortunately the weather was so foul that the hooter was used to call everyone in after just a few holes had been played as the course had to be closed due to flooding. The Drive-In will therefore be rearranged as soon as possible.

I just want to extend a personal thank you to Gill Welham, who has consistently sent me reports, scores and photographs from Thetford

Golf Club during the past year. Enjoy your retirement from public office, but feel free to keep sending me information please!

To the rest of the golf community, enjoy the start of the Christmas festivities at your club, and have a great golfing week.