Captain Andy Baxter led an intrepid team of 12 stalwarts to Astbury GC to contest the second leg of the competition, to regain ‘The Friendly Cup’ as it is known. This seasonal home and away event started in 2002, and is one of the most popular in Leek’s annual calendar. Since that inaugural date Astbury have won it six times, Leek seven and there was a ‘half’ in 2014.

Typically for this year the weather threatened to dampen the players’ enthusiasm, but with steady rain falling, and worse to follow, the Astbury captain (Bish) surprisingly suggested we review the situation after twelve holes, as the course would become quite saturated around that area, and meaningful play would become impossible. It wasn’t very pleasant standing on the first tee so Leek’s captain reluctantly agreed.All the six four-balls set off determined to do their best, but as expected Bish drove up to all the teams and informed them we would definitely finish at the twelfth hole.This decision focussed the mindset somewhat for the captain and his partner Jim Lepke, resulting in a win on the last hole (one up), with them coming in for an early bath (and drink).

Tony Brindley and Dave Toft also won, but Dave was quite alarmed when Tony decided to play a few more holes to get his money’s worth. Matt Lancaster and Craig Stanier, Angelo Bobbera and Tony Lovatt, Paul Douglas and Steve Longhorn played well but lost their matches, but Nick Wittich and Brian Hollins fought out a well-earned draw against their opponents.This meant we lost the match on the day 2½ to 3½. The good news however was that the first leg at Leek was won by the host club 4½ to 1½ meaning on aggregate the score was 7 – 5 to Leek!

The Friendly Cup was handed back to Andy Baxter to retain until 2017, when we will fight hard to retain it. He thanked Astbury for the hospitality, the friendship of the day, and the meal. Little could be done about the weather and the course, and everybody appreciated that.The captain thanked all for turning up, especially those who had not played before.

There are many of these types of matches to be played each year. Please give them your support, it is much appreciated.

Captain – Andrew Baxter


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