God was in his Heaven and in a most benevolent mood, ordering a cloudless sky for his ‘Own County’ and, more importantly, the delightfully picturesque Ilkley Golf Club. An early morning ground frost soon disappeared, as competitors from north, south, east and west struggled in the morning traffic to reach their goal. Viv juggled the draw, but no one left for the first tee without coffee and a bacon roll.
As the Club’s excellent website advises, the extremely fast flowing River Wharfe, is ever present and often adds to the test of a beautifully presented course. Scoring was very good, with David Owen (8) Poulton Park, a trans-Pennine traveller, winning on countback from Julie Ruscoe (13) Colchester, both with 35pts. Third was another long distance traveller, Scott Ballentine (12) Royal Worlington & Newmarket, with 33pts. Reward for David and Scott for their abortive trips to Northern Ireland. The final qualifier was, relative ‘new boy’, Doug Christie (12) Blackwell Grange, with 31pts, who had an outstanding back nine (19pts). Congratulations to all of them. St Enodoc, next May, now beckons.
We are very grateful to the Club and its Members, especially our host Honorary Secretary, Robert Lambert, for allowing us to enjoy their course and clubhouse, with its stunning views of Rombald’s Moor. The self same Moor that is in the title of ‘God’s own County’s’ unofficial anthem On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at. The song tells of a lover courting the object of his affections, Mary Jane, on Ilkley Moor without a hat (baht ‘at). The singer chides the lover for his lack of headwear – for in the cold winds of Ilkley Moor this will mean his death from exposure. This will in turn result in his burial, the eating of his corpse by worms, the eating of the worms by ducks and finally the eating of the ducks by the singers. All good stuff! Thanks to Viv (coffee and brandy) and Stefanie Mainstone of Jonas, we all managed to get round without succumbing to the chill and the pie (not duck) that followed was equally sustaining. Thanks too to the Club’s President elect, Peter Crabtree, who gave a speech of welcome and helped present the prizes.
We were joined by Duncan Rougvie of Teeofftimes, who very cleverly found his car keys on the course, the ever smiling Jonathan Coates of Jonas and the perennial ‘qualifier’ (35pts), Dean Poynter of Eagle, thanks to all of them for their support.