Axe Cliff senior success for John Hanna

PUBLISHED: 14:22 22 January 2019

Mick Swann congratulates John Hanna after his win in the Axe Cliff Stableford. Also in the picture is third placed Paul Hilder who was edged out for second spot by Adrian Bishop (not in picture). Picture: BRIAN BAILLEY THOMPSON.

Mick Swann congratulates John Hanna after his win in the Axe Cliff Stableford. Also in the picture is third placed Paul Hilder who was edged out for second spot by Adrian Bishop (not in picture). Picture: BRIAN BAILLEY THOMPSON.

Archant

The Axe Cliff Seniors are made of strong stuff and some 40 of them (at least to start with!) decided to ignore the forecast last Friday of gale force winds and heavy rain and bravely fought the elements in their monthly Stableford meeting, writes Dave Bruce.

Mick Tomes and Alan Vincent decided to give up after only a few holes to return to the warmth and comfort of the clubhouse, but they missed an exciting and riveting day.

I did, however, see a few others also trundle in when they got to the exposed back nine where there is nowhere to hide!

Everyone had a story, whether it was trying to keep their ball still on their tees long enough to hit them or just stop themselves from being blown over.

A lot put wet trousers on from the start as it’s easier to do so before you go out, but rain did not materialise – only a ‘hooley’ of a wind!

It’s surprising how many struggled to keep their wet gear trousers up, so much so that we are all thinking of putting braces on them for the future.

Many trolleys were continuously blown over, particularly on the 15th and 16th holes, which run alongside the cliff edge and are probably the most exposed. Brian Thompson tried to drive the 16th hole, but the wind pushed his ball into the pit on the right.

He took a suitable club into the pit to try to put his ball onto the green, but had to dive for safety as his trolley, left on the top, decided to follow him down into the pit and, when it landed at the bottom, all his clubs were ‘torpedoed’ out!

Luckily, there was no damage to him or his gear, just to his professional pride of not getting his par!

The last trio that went out stayed until the bitter end and had to contend with the worst of the wind and so we must salute the efforts of Norman Bowles, who only got six points, but showed his British grit in not giving up.

Phil Christmas had to put Norman’s ball back on his tee four times as the wind kept blowing it off on the 16th.

Three players, however, managed to keep their feet on the ground and their balls below the wind to come in with amazing scores considering the very tricky conditions.

The overall winner, with an outstanding 33 points, was John Hanna closely followed on 32 points by Adrian Bishop and Paul Hilder. Adrian was second on countback and it was good to see Paul Hilder playing well in third spot.

John and Adrian are regular strong and successful players. Paul only joined the club last September after coming to Seaton following a four year stay in Muscat, Oman where he was the director of The British Consulate. He couldn’t tell me anymore, otherwise he would have had to shoot me!

He played golf, whilst in Oman, but not in the conditions that Axe Cliff can throw at you, so did very well.

Mind you, he is not new to Axe Cliff as he played here in the 1970s as a junior from 12 years of age to 18.

He then took a long break from the game, but is now enjoying the game again and being back in Seaton with his wife and daughter.

Captain Mick Swann did the honours, giving them winning vouchers, and promoted our Quiz Night to be held at the Clubhouse on February 8.

There are still some places available for teams of four – anyone interested, please phone the club to book a table (01297 21754).

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