Captaincy handover at Axe Cliff Golf Club

David Lacey, the new Captain on the right, giving a gift to outgoing Captain John Hanna 

David Lacey, the new Captain on the right, giving a gift to outgoing Captain John Hanna - Credit: Mark Wisby

The new Lady Captain at Axe Cliff Golf Club, Paula Heasman, fresh from winning the Hangover Cup, was still able to organise her first fun event of the year, which the ladies greatly enjoyed in cold but sunny weather over 15 holes.  

They were split into two teams, Odds and Evens, and if I understand the rules correctly, the Odds could double their stableford scores on the Odd holes (1,3,5,7 etc) and the Evens on the Even holes. 

Jo Hopgood quickly adapted to the rules and scored well on the Odds team to win with an amazing 46 points, Jo Donmall was second with a respectable 30. Anne Jarvis was the winner of the Evens with Mo Borer not far behind in second place. 

The Men's Section finished the week on Sunday in reasonable weather in their Round 5 of the Winter League Cup with good scores. The winners were J Matthews & B Waller with 49 pts,just beating Paul Hilder and P Hankin on 47 pts, leaving R Ballard & B Libby on 45 pts. 

The Seniors, in their first Winter League Round of the year, were not so lucky with the weather apart from the Insomniacs who go out early just after sunrise. For the normal rest of us, who like our beauty sleep and enjoy breakfast in bed, like me, and go out after 10 30am, we were caught by the cold and freezing rain, which came in about midday.  

Mark Wisby and I decided to come in after the 8th hole, mainly not to hold up the AGM, which was due to start after everyone had finished. Mind you, my card was rubbish, but Mark had 19 points with one blob, averaging 2.7 pts per hole scored, which takes some doing when you can’t feel your hands!  

The Winner of the Brian Wilkes Trophy for the best designated Stableford scores over the year was the in-form Nigel Pritchard, who has had a tremendous year- well done Nigel.  

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A good number stayed for the AGM and we were all able to welcome our new Captain David Lacey taking over from outgoing Captain John Hanna. John, in his excellent speech, thanked all the Seniors and particularly his Committee for helping him throughout the most difficult period that Covid threw at us all.  
 
You have to admire John's leadership, as we completed most of our competitions, despite the lockdown in the first quarter and held a lot of fun events as well. Amazingly, we managed to play 18 matches of the possible 24 with other clubs. 

As usual, we won all our home games and lost all our away games, so you could say we ended up with an overall draw.  

John's highlight was, of course, his raising of £2510 for his chosen charity FORCE, despite not being able to start the fundraising until June. Whilst thanking all his committee, he had special thanks to last year's Captain Rob Grove for supporting and, at times, guiding him through his first tenure as Captain.  

Also, very special thanks was given to Mick Swann, who, after some eight years was stepping down as Secretary but was leaving a great legacy and template for the next Secretary, who has yet to come forward.  

David Lacey, in his Captaincy acceptance speech, was looking forward to the challenge and his main aim was for us all to continue to enjoy our membership, playing and the special camaraderie that is Axe Cliff.  

We now look forward to our Presentation Day this Friday after a shotgun competition which John & David will officiate and hand out the trophies to all the winners of 2021.  

When I mentioned to Geoff Hughes (86) that, just before Christmas, could he help me take all the trophies into the engraver in Honiton, he turned up with his car and said: "Now where are we going to get these turkeys" - bless him!