The tenth AUTUMN CUP was played over the weekend of April 30 and May 1. Perfect conditions prevailed over the course of the 2 days and eighty players set out in quest for victory and to be crowned champion on Sunday evening when two of the club’s most likeable members in Ron Parkin and Joe Alexander – the sponsors of this year’s event – would present the trophy to the winner.
There were only two past champions in this year’s field – Damon Watkins (2015 and 2016), and the defending champion Dave Southam.
The defending Champion Dave Southam (4 H’cap) was a late entry and after the morning field had finished, he led with 37 points along with Wayne Ovens (19 H’cap). Overall the scores were below expectations given the fine conditions.
Dave started from the 4th and after 9 holes he was even with the card and had 20 points. His finish was not what he wished for with two one pointers and settled for 37 points.
Wayne started from the 6th and his card was sprinkled with 3 x 3 pointers and consecutive 4 pointers on holes ten and eleven. It could have been anything but three “wipes” proved costly.
And wouldn’t you know it – the afternoon round belonged to a person who on Wednesday, after 6 consecutive scores ranging from 30 to 32, saw his GA handicap escalate from 7.6 to 8.4 and so his playing handicap went from 7 to 8 in the blink of an eyelid – Gavin Furness.
Gavin, starting from the 1st, played consistently with 4 x 3 pointers and only one one pointer.
His back nine of 21 points saw him take the lead from Andrew Ogilvie (7 H’cap), both with 39 points.
Andrew started from the 6th and early disaster (a “wipe” on the 7th) was quickly rectified with 7 points in the next two holes. After nine holes he had 21 points and a consistent back nine of 18 points secured him equal first position after the first day.
FOOTNOTE – One can only hope for the sake of the Senior Pennant team Gavin “lives the dream” and in doing so does not lose too many shots.
Tony Cowan (19 H’cap) was outright third with 38 points. His first nine of 20 points set up his day and after a further 3 holes he was cruising and was 4 points better the twos. His good work was undone with 3 x 1 pointers over his closing 6 holes.
Joining the morning leaders were David Rees (7 H’cap) and Ben Cullinan (+2 H’cap) with 37 points.
Lurking just behind were Brett Thompson (9 H’cap), David Falconer (4 H’cap) and James Pluske (13 H’Cap)
Leading the Gross was Ben Cullinan with 39 points – 69 off the stick.
The major questions to ask at the start of the day were –
Could Gavin Furness win another “season” cup? –Would he lie down for the sake of his team mates?
Could a Scot win the Autumn Cup?
Could Dave Southam go back-to-back?
Would someone from the chasing pack come over the top of the leaders to claim victory?
Another lovely Autumn Day greeted the morning players but the scores were far from lovely. Was it too cold? Was the grass a bit damp? Were they hungover? Were they unfit?
Who knows but amazingly from the twenty six morning players Andrew Roberts (15 H’cap) led the way with 34 points.
David Southam had an up and down day, but held on with 32 points and was the overall leader after the morning with 69 points. Defending his title looked in doubt but you never know in this game.
Now for the afternoon and we catch up with the leader board after 27 holes-;
James Pluske 58 points 22 points after 9 holes in second round
Gavin Furness 56 points 17 points after 9 holes in second round
David Rees 55 points 18 points after 9 holes in second round
Tony Cowan 55 points 17 points after 9 holes in second round
Andrew Ogilvie 54 points 15 points after 9 holes in second round
Tim Tan 54 Points 19 points after 9 holes in second round
Ben Cullinan 53 points 16 points after 9 holes in second round
Brett Thompson 53 points 17 points after 9 holes in second round
David Falconer 51 points 15 points after 9 holes in second round
Then one by one fitness started to tell or the top button started to tighten!! – apart from maybe 3 players.
After 33 holes-;
James Pluske 72 points
Gavin Furness 68 points
Ben Cullinan 67 points
Andrew Ogilvie 65 points
David Falconer 64 points
David Rees 62 points
Tony Cowan 62 points
Brett Thompson 62 points
So, with 3 holes to play it looked as though James Pluske (13 H’cap) had it in the bag but with only 1 point in his last 2 holes maybe the door was still open for Gavin Furness or even Ben Cullinan – Gavin finished the last 2 holes with 5 points and Ben 2 points but it was not quite good enough with James victorious by one point from Gavin.
So, the final Leaderboard read-;
James Pluske 36/40 76 points
Gavin Furness 39/36 75 points
Ben Cullinan 37/34 71 points
Andrew Ogilvie 39/32 71 points
David Southam 37/32 69 points Defending Champion/best past champion.
Geoff Robey 34/34 68 points Mr Consistent
David Rees 37/31 68 points
So, the questions posed at the start of the day were answered –
No – Gavin Furness could not add another “season” trophy to his bulging “pool room” cabinet.
No – He did not lie down– He tried to win the Autumn Cup but came up just short.
No – A Scot did not win.
No – The defending Champion Dave Southam made a valiant attempt to make it back-to-back victories and finished in 5th position.
YES – someone came from the chasing pack come over the top of the leaders to claim victory.
So, after a nervous wait, James Pluske prevailed and was crowned the 2022 Autumn Cup Champion, winning by a solitary point from Gavin Furness.
James’ victory can mainly be attributed to his fantastic start to round two when he had 5 x 3 pointers in his first 7 holes. Well done.
Best Gross went to Ben Cullinan who over the two days was 3 under the card with 75 points. He amassed 10 birdies over the two days. Little wonder he is on a +2 Handicap.
Anthony Joseph was runner-up Gross.
Best first round with 39 points went to Tony Cowan beating his fellow Scot Andrew Ogilvie by one point.
Best second round went to Andy Byk with 36 points.
Congratulations to all others winners over the two days.
Appreciation is extended once again to our sponsors Ron Parkin and Joe Alexander.
The course is on the improve and thanks to the course staff for their efforts.
As usual the Pro Shop staff, House staff and John in the kitchen made it a most enjoyable two days for all players.
Congratulations James Pluske – a deserved winner of the 2022 Autumn Cup
from Greg Fitzhardinge
PS – Gavin Furness returned to his playing handicap of 7.