Although it was not possible to hold the knock-out stages of the 20/21 season due to the pandemic, it was felt appropriate to stage the 2021 Finals in a modified format. Huntercombe kindly agreed to move the cancelled 2020 Finals to the equivalent 2021 dates and after consultation with the HMC schools, it was decided to hold a 36-hole scratch foursomes stableford event. Schools were able to enter two or three foursomes pairs which would play two rounds on one of the days. The overall winner of the HMC Schools Foursomes Trophy would be the school with the best stableford score over 36 holes from their top two pairs on either of the two days.
24 schools entered the event with 128 players. Covid precautions and outbreaks at their schools caused five schools to withdraw but after frequent changes to the tee-sheets, 19 schools with 98 players eventually teed off in the competition.
The standard of golf was high with 21 players having WHS handicaps of scratch or better; 85% of the field held single-figure handicaps. The course was in superb condition – lovely fairways and smooth-running surfaces on those notoriously difficult Huntercombe greens.
The event was won by Loretto School, travelling all the way from Edinburgh, who scored 140 stableford points. In addition to their fine golf, one could also admire the Loretto players’ approach to the game – positive, appreciative, respectful of the course and attentive to their playing partners. These attributes were, of course, seen in many of the teams and are important life skills that can be learned by playing golf in a team setting. Closely behind Loretto came Reed’s School with 138 points. The Reed’s pair of Riccardo Fantinelli and Rocky Chapman won the Best Pair Trophy with 75 points ( 3 under par) for 36 holes. Rocky and Riccardo are the current and previous year’s winners of the HMC Singles Trophy. There were many other excellent performances – the leading scores are shown at the end of this report.
Huntercombe was designed and built by Willie Park in 1901, the same year he designed the Sunningdale Old Course. The course has changed little in that time but it remains a fine test of golf. Accurate placement of the tee shot is paramount and the more canny players quickly realised that the driver was often best left in the bag. Nobody who played will forget the narrow drives on the 5th, 9th and 17th holes, the fiendish pin on the top level of the 8th green or the huge grass hollow in front of the 16th green.
The Club is a bastion of foursomes golf and the members gave a warm welcome to the young players playing a form of golf that is not always appreciated as much as it should be. Given the ongoing Covid infections, it would have been understandable to cancel the event, but the careful management in place at Huntercombe meant that our large event could proceed safely for players, coaches, members and Club staff. I am hugely grateful to the Club Manager, Marcus Lovelock, who embraced this event and helped so much in the planning and running of the two days. He welcomed every minibus load of golfers as they arrived, briefed them on the safety precautions at the club and helped with every detail. The Clubhouse staff were equally helpful in providing a splendid lunch in the marquee; all done efficiently and speedily so that players could get back on the first tee for their second round.
We were also lucky to have good weather for both days, as the photos below show. The Club Captain, Robin Badham-Thornhill and I followed the Rossall and Reed’s players and he was enormously impressed by their ball-striking and their deft skills around the greens. There will be many happy memories taken away from the event – the Radley pair who started with five consecutive birdies, the Reed's tee shot that landed and stopped on the perched-up green of the par 4 17th, the 12 -year old twin girls ( hcps 7 and 11 !) from City of London Freemens' School playing their first-ever 36 holes, and many more.
After a year that has been torrid for many young people, it was so good that these keen golfers were able to end their school year with an enjoyable final event on a lovely golf course in the sunshine.
|(best of two)|
|City London Freemens||101|
|Leading 36 hole scores||pts|
|Riccardo Fantinelli + Rocky Chapman (Reeds)||75||Best Pair|
|Tim Chan + Ollie Mukherjee (Loretto)||73|
|Charlie Roper + Sarah Mardani (Gordon's)||71|
|Seb Cave + Connor Owen ( Rossall)||70|
|Max Halflants + Archie Wyatt (Loretto)||67|
|Skye Slijepcevic + James Brash (Reed's)||63|
|Oscar Lent + Liam Colohan (Epsom)||62|
|Charlie + Jonjo Ashbrook ( Ellesmere)||62|
|Kieran Hogarth + Lydia Cryer ( Rossall)||61|
|Archie Mathers + Michael Roche ( St Alban's)||60|
|Finlay Cummings + Eddie Wade ( Bedford )||60|
|Dewi John + Joss Lerwill ( Millfield)||60|
|Leading 18 hole scores||pts|
|Riccardo Fantinelli + Rocky Chapman (Reeds)||38|
|Riccardo Fantinelli + Rocky Chapman (Reeds)||37|
|Tim Chan + Ollie Mukherjee (Loretto)||37|
|Max Halflants + Archie Wyatt (Loretto)||37|
|Charlie Roper + Sarah Mardani (Gordon's)||36|
|Tim Chan + Ollie Mukherjee (Loretto)||36|
|Seb Cave + Connor Owen ( Rossall)||36|
|Charlie Roper + Sarah Mardani (Gordon's)||35|
|Seb Cave + Connor Owen ( Rossall)||34|
|Kieran Hogarth + Lydia Cryer ( Rossall)||33|
|Skye Slijepcevic + James Brash (Reed's)||33|
|Oscar Phelps + Freddie Thorneycroft ( Radley)||33|
|Harry Gale + Tom Owen ( Abingdon)||33|
|Oscar Lent + Liam Colohan ( Epsom)||33|
|Calum Dawson + Euan Cooper ( Loretto)||33|
|Dewi John + Joss Lerwill ( Millfield)||32|
|Max Porteous + Sam Epstein ( Brentwood)||32|
|Archie Mathers + Michael Roche (St Alban's)||32|
|Patrik Wall + Nick Wall ( Bradfield)||31|
|Charlie + Jonjo Ashbrook ( Ellesmere)||31|
|Finlay Cummings + Eddie Wade ( Bedford )||31|
|Lawrence Jefferys + Alex Robins ( Bedford)||31|
|George O'Connor + Ben Campion (Radley)||30|
|James Bould + Ned Dawson ( City of London Freemen's)||30|
|Matthew + Thomas Hawke ( Reed's)||30|
|Alex Phelps + Evie Kircher (Gordon's)||30|
|Max Halflants + Archie Wyatt (Loretto)||30|
To view the photos, click on one of them and then use the arrows to navigate through them. If you would like any individual copies ask your coach to contact me and I'll send originals.
The dates and venues of HMC Golf events in the next 12 months are below:
2021 HMC reorganised Finals: Thursday 1st and Friday 2nd July at Huntercombe GC
2021 HMC Singles: Tuesday 5th October at The Berkshire GC (Red Course)
2022 HMC Finals: Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th June at Little Aston GC
You may have seen the exciting Walker Cup match on TV recently at Seminole in Florida in which the GB/Ireland team lost narrowly 12-14 to the US.
One GB team member, Angus Flanagan, was captain of the Bradfield team which won the HMC Foursomes Finals in 2017 at Cotswold Hills GC - he is photographed below with his Bradfield teammates and next to Colin Burgess, their long-standing master i/c golf (Angus is in the pink shirt).
Angus has a golf scholarship at the University of Minnesota and has made great progress in the amateur ranks there.
In the Walker Cup, Angus won 2 1/2 points out of 4 including a win and a half from his two foursomes matches. Must have been all that practice in the HMC Foursomes!
The draw for the 2021/22 knock out rounds has been sent to schools and is now posted opposite. To view each regional draw, click on the relevant region. Schools have also been sent a contact list for their region and a copy of the Rules for the Regional Rounds.
Please organise your matches well in advance this Summer Term and try to play early next term to ensure better weather.
Let me know if you spot any errors etc
After months of lockdown, Covid-19 restrictions and closed schools, it was such a delight to see a (socially-distanced) gathering of 51 young good golfers competing in the HMC Singles on the Blue Course of the Berkshire GC.
36 boys (average handicap 3.2) and a record 15 girls (average handicap 4.3) took part on a bright and breezy autumn afternoon. They followed all the necessary pandemic safety precautions such as not touching the flagstick, not raking bunkers, not exchanging scorecards etc but it was clear that many had worked hard on their games since golf was reintroduced in May.
The boys' event was won by Rocky Chapman from Reed's School with a fine 69. His score was made by three consecutive birdie 3's from the seventh to the ninth holes in amongst some very steady golf. Joint runners -up were Charlie Roper (Gordon's School) and last year's winner Riccardo Fantinelli (Reed's), both scoring 70. George Jackson from Framlingham was fourth with 71- although this is a gross competition, George's net score of 66 was the lowest of the day.
Lydia Cryer from Rossall School won the Girls' event with a fine 73. Evie Kircher (Gordons) took the runner-up spot with 75 and Chanel Fontaine-Geary (Stowe) came in third place.
The team events were decided by taking the best two scores from each school. Only Rossall and Gordon's had two girl players, with Gordon's just winning the team plate by one stroke. The boys' team prize clearly went to Reed's but the Ashbrook brothers from Ellesmere College took the runner-up plate with a total of 150 (74 + 76).
Many schools are not allowing external fixtures so it was excellent to have 21 schools enter the competition. Many players were brought by parents, who clearly enjoyed seeing their daughters and sons play in such a lovely setting. I'm very grateful to the golf coaches from all the schools who made such an effort to make arrangements to travel, keep their players safe and to help with ball-spotting and encouragement. Thank you to Keven Johnstone from Uppingham who did all the starting and to all the players who took part in such good spirit.
1 Rocky Chapman Reed's 69
2= Riccardo Fantinelli Reed's 70
2= Charlie Roper Gordon's 70
4 George Jackson Framlingham 71
5= Freddie Dortmans Wellington 73
5= Connor Owen Rossall 73
5= James Rew King's Taunton 73
5= Alex Marshall KES Bath 73
9= Max Faulkner Stowe 74
9= Jonjo Ashbrook Ellesmere 74
11= Thomas Hawke Reed's 75
11= James Brash Reed's 75
13= Leo Bonser Felsted 76
13= Charlie Ashbrook Ellesmere 76
15= Sam Strauss Wellington 78
15= Rob Muir Reed's 78
15= Tom Pace Rossall 78
18 Will Chesterman King's Taunton 80
19= Patrik Wall Bradfield 81
19= Thomas Creighton Bradfield 81
19= Freddie Taylor Cross Oratory 81
22 Oscar Lent Epsom 82
23= Yago Rio Aja Worth 83
23= Callum Pearce Framlingham 83
25= Alex Mair Repton 84
25= Jordan Thompson Winchester 84
27 Adam Reid Canford 86
28= Theo Anderson Gannon Sherborne 87
28= Sid Beadle Gordons 87
30 Liam Colohan Epsom 90
31 Tom Rotheroe Sherborne 91
32 Thomas Jackson Uppingham 94
33 Friedrich Orlopp Worth 97
34= Henry Woolhouse Wellington NR
34= Kiko Dar Bradfield NR
Matthew Hawke Reed's ret'd
1 Lydia Cryer Rossall 73
2 Evie Kircher Gordon's 75
3 Chanel Fontaine-Geary Stowe 77
4 Ella Hammond Baveystock Wellington 78
5 Lili Rose-Hunt Bromsgrove 79
6 Charlotte Brook Canford 80
7 Alex Phelps Gordon's 82
8= Lulu Leetham Uppingham 85
8= Lucy Moss Rossall 85
8= Alex Jakins Gordon's 85
11 Sarah Mardani Gordon's 86
12 Grace Ward Repton 88
13 Claudia Hastings Ellesmere 89
14= Sophie Mardani Gordon's 90
14= Poppy Beales Framlingham 90
1 Reeds 139
2 Ellesmere 150
3= Rossall 151
3= Wellington 151
5 King's Taunton 153
6 Framlingham 154
7 Gordon's 157
8 Bradfield 162
9 Epsom 172
10 Sherborne 178
11 Worth 180
1 Gordon's 157
2 Rossall 158
Photos of the event can be viewed below. Click on a photo and use the zoom on your device. Click on the arrow to see a slideshow.