The Grafton Morrish Competition
The Grafton Morrish competition (KCS winners 2001; 2004) held on 5/6/7 October 2018 involved a re-draw following Loretto’s absence. KCS Wimbledon were selected, by lot, to re-balance the draw, playing against Canford at Brancaster, instead of Seaford College.
KCS top foursome of Alex Gems and Matt Reynolds endured a tough Friday, a 2&1 loss against Canford, played in a light breeze. Then a splendid 3,4,4 finish by Peter Crowther and Mike Choong enabled a win by two holes. Fate dealt the third pair of Rory Codd and Paul Mortlock a cruel finish. Two up with two holes to play, having eagled both the 7th(490 yards) and the 14th(430 yards) holes, the latter with a Codd three-wood, the Canford duo cruelly holed a 55-foot putt from the very front of the 17th, with KCS well-placed 30 feet from the hole. A KCS-car-crash followed down the 18th– despite a fine drive. The deciding 19thhole was not well-contested. This lost KCS the match and placed us into the Plate competition. Four leading Saturday qualifiers would contest the Committee Bowl (KCS winners 1984; 2006) at 6,900-yards long Hunstanton on Sunday. Whitgift lead the way on Saturday, with just 70 scratch points (i.e. 23 points each).
Qualifying on Saturday morning, enduring continuous Brancaster northerly force-7 rain squalls (e.g. the 129-yard 4thhole played a firm 5-iron) that had many schools withdrawing, the Matt Reynolds (2010)/Alex Gems (2008) ex-Oxford Univ. vanguard pair thereafter came out swinging. In Sunday’s Whitgift semi-final, and the Committee Bowl final, they had two victories on the 16thhole. The sunny morning saw a solid 4&2 victory off the Blue ‘tiger’ tees (two birdies, 4 bogies, 10 pars).
Peter Crowther (1972)/Mike Choong (2004) turned back the clock in their Whitgift semi-final, against a foursome pair including a two-time English Mid-Amateur Champion. Crowther played his 114thKCS match in Norfolk, and Choong was competing in his 4th final in 5 years’ appearances. A Hunstanton back-nine of 4,5,4,4,2,4,3,4,4 in light winds brought a 2-up semi-final victory, winning the 14th, 15th, 17thand 18th, and 2-1 match win overall.
Rear-gunners Rory Codd (1997)/Paul Mortlock (1996) had lost their semi-final anchor match 4&3 to two Old Whitgiftian Royal St. George’s members. They fell behind, early, and failed to hole any putts at crucial times.
In the final, after lunch against 2017 Committee Bowl holders Loughborough, the Reynolds/Gems top pair reeled off 3 birdies and 7 pars in the first 10 holes, for a 4-up lead against a 1 and +1 handicap combination. They held on, after that, for a fine 4&2 win.
Codd and Mortlock, again at the rear, turned on the gas for the final, thrashing the Loughborough captain & his partner by 7&5, grinding out 10 pars in their 13 holes. This victory made up for their rather sad Friday! Crowther and Choong finished in some style 444434264, but lost to Loughborough by one hole in the dead rubber. This capped a very pleasing week, with everyone playing well, all contributing points in a KCS team including two debutants.