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News stories from the School and Old Suttonian communities

News > Sports > OS at Grafton Morrish 2019

OS at Grafton Morrish 2019

Chris Cornwall, the OS Golf team captain provides the following report on this year's Grafton Morrish competition.
2 Oct 2019


OS Golf Group

For those who haven’t heard of the Grafton Morrish it’s an old school boys golf competition set up by two old Suttonians to be a more inclusive version of the Halford Hewitt, which is only open to a select few schools.

The idea was to have regional qualifying around the UK meaning teams have to play into the finals and therefore be selected on merit.
For Sutton Valence, qualifying is always at the picturesque Knole Park in Sevenoaks. The format (for qualifying) is scratch stableford foursomes, consisting of three teams. With a week to go we were struggling to field a team before we were saved by two excellent new squad additions. Sam Wroclawski, a former US tour professional and Emily Royer, who was Kent county champion at 15, and, our first female squad member – things were starting to look a lot better – even though Emily were made to play from the men’s tees! After a few brief introductions our new look team took to the course, and, despite the wet conditions and James Sanderson tearing ankle ligaments on the 15th, pulled through with a points total of over 80 – a job well done.

With a new found optimism we embarked on the finals in high-spirit. The main event is played across two courses – Royal West Norfolk and Hunstanton Golf Club on the blustery Norfolk coast on the first weekend of October – with the format of scratch foursomes match play. This was, by far, our strongest squad to date with a highest handicap of two and good blend of youth and experience. We were determined to show the school in a good light.

Our first round opponents of Highgate put up a spirited fight but we were able to overcome their challenge (2.5 – 0.5) when George Palmer and Jeremy Balwin (JB) won our final match on 17. Going to the finals with a squad of seven meant someone had to be left out. With Sam ‘the Wroc’ being left out in the morning, it’s fair to say he was fully charged for our afternoon battle with the 2018 plate champions, Whitgift. He was paired with our most capped player, Mark ‘magic’ Williams, who’s words of how well Sam played that afternoon are unrepeatable! With our strongest pair on paper of Chris Cornwall and Richard Raye making hard work of the last few holes the score was 1-1 with our final pair the only group on the course. With darkness setting in, JB and G-palm were staging an outrageous comeback. They were two down with four to play and won the 15, 16 and 17 to be 1 up playing the last. Having hit the green in two, JB decided to test George’s nerve with a knee-knocking four footer on 18. With a gallery around the 18th, Palmer waisted no time coolly tapping in to the elation of our boys. The feeling was euphoric – what a comeback – after a long day of golf and an emotional roller coaster I needed a beer!

With a late tee off on Saturday we had earned a well deserved lie in before our encounter with Solihull in the third round. We got off to great start with our two top matches taking early leads and the final game remaining tight to the end. After a spectacular back nine come back from the Peaky Blinders’ top pair we went one down after seemingly having the game in the bag (lesson learned). Luckily, the Wroc and the magician were still taking no prisoners and leveled the battle 1-1 after a 3&2 victory, meaning it were again down to our final pair of JB and George Palmer. And, after securing a half on 18 it was now play off time. With forty of so people huddled around the first tee and our team’s hopes resting on the outcome it was pressure on. Two arduous holes later we’d succumbed to Solihull, a team we should’ve beaten (and will next time!).

I would like to thank all the boys who came and made the trip so memorable. There were old friendships rekindled, and new ones made for years to come. Watch this space, with a full strength team, Grafton success is not far away.

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