The Natterjack 9’s Season2021/22 Financial Report.

By Dave Ward

With the competition being new and participation beyond expectations there has been some interest in how the finances of The Natterjacks have worked out and so I’ve decided to take the unprecedented step of publishing them on our club Whatsapp sites for members to see. Last year we only managed to play five rounds because of Covid and bad weather but this time the 2021/22 season ran all the way through bringing the finances up to a whole different level. This meant that there were decisions to be made where none had been necessary before. For example: How would the entry fee be divided between the weekend prizes and the Order of Merit [OOM]? How many rounds played on the day or over the weekend would constitute a competition? Should we have just one OOM or a separate one for the Ladies with its own prize fund? The 36 rounds played in round 1 brought in £108 which allowed me to pay out £60 in weekend prizes and put £48 into the OOM/Natterjack fund. There were lots of unknowns at that point. How would weather affect income? What would happen if only a few played? A decision on that question had to be made in advance, in order that players could know before they played and be treated fairly. Nobody would want to make the effort to play in bad conditions only to find out afterwards that it hadn’t counted. So I settled on a minimum of 6 rounds played. If only six played, generating £18 then another decision had to be made as to what the prize fund for that weekend should be. With £48 in the OOM/N fund I decided to be positive and try having a prize pot of £60 for each round played, with a review after round two. This meant that an average of 20 rounds needed to be played to cover each weekend prize fund. There were 29 rounds played in round two, generating £87 ie [20 x £3 =£60, £87 – £60 = £27] £27 to OOM/Natterjack fund which now stood at £48 + £27 = £75. It now looked very likely that the OOM/Natterjack fund could now afford to supplement the weekend prize fund when necessary and still grow but what would happen if two consecutive rounds each produced only 6 players? Unlikely but possible! Two subsidies of £42 could mean £88, the prize fund had £75. Let’s review again after round 3! 39 played in round three, generating £117 which after paying £60 produced £57 for the OOM/Natterjack fund which secured the future and justified the decisions made. Rounds 4 and 5 did require subsidies with 16 playing round 4 [subsidy of £12] and 18 playing round 5 [subsidy of £6] but no more were needed after that. Rounds 6 & 9 were abandoned due to bad weather. But the competition continued to find support and by round 7 I decided to introduce ‘balls for 2’s and purchased 2 boxes of Srixons at £18 =£36 via a club source [Thanks Pete.] Below is a breakdown of the 10 rounds played and the end of season balance. Through discussions with Peter & Diane & Jon & Helen Holmes it was decided to keep the ladies as part of the weekend comps but give them their own OOM, with proportionate prizes down to third and I made the decision to have prize money for the men’s OOM down to fifth. The future of The Natterjack 9’s now looks secure and it has therefore become necessary to formalize the format and rules it’s played under. With hindsight and after consultation it’s been decided to make it 10 rounds played to constitute a competition for season 2022/23, otherwise the format will remain the same. The last and most controversial decision has been over what to do with any excess at the end of the season. After lots of listening and discussions it has been decided that the Natterjack Fund will take on the expense of small projects around the club and course, as suggested by those who have played in the competition. In this way you will be able to see where your money has gone.  

53 People participated

Total Rounds played = 326

Entry fees [326 x £3]   = £978

Weekend prizes [10 x £60] = £600

OOM prizes: Mens £130 + Ladies £60 = £190

Subsidies = £18

Balls [2 boxes] [18 balls retained] £36  

£978 – [£600 + £190 + £18 + £36] = £134

Excess held = £134

There’s a world of difference between organizing a comp on one day and another which takes place twice a month over six months through the winter. And for me it was a big learning curve. Fortunately I kept financial records, score cards and entry sheets from every round played so if there are further questions please feel free to ask. But the single biggest question, will people support it? has been answered. You did and thank you. I consulted whenever I faced a decision of importance and I would like to especially thank Peter & Diane Clark, Jon & Helen Holmes, Dave Boyce & Ank Robinson, who have always found the time to listen and offer guidance.

Natterjack 9’s Round 12 Round Up + Final Order of Merit Table. Round 12 Result

Gunga Grabs Gold.

1st  Neil Robertson 20 pts

2nd Peter Warren    19pts [Count-back]

3rd Tony Waugh       19pts [Count-back]

The weather was finally kind and after 28 rounds played no less than seven players posted 19 points but it all came good for Gunga as he pipped all seven at the post by just one point. Five pars in nine holes accounted for thirteen of those and with nothing more than a 5 on his card his consistency meant his time had come at last. Peter Warren went out early Sunday with John Simpson and Richard Roberts and despite a slow start managed his 19 points by coming home strong enough to secure 2nd place, virtue of 8 points on the last three. Richard only scored four points on the first four holes before coming home strong himself to post 17 while John had the satisfaction of a par on the 14th in his 13. It took count-back over the last six holes to separate Tony Waugh’s 19 from Brad Steels’, a blank on the 14th costing Brad third place after a scintillating start to his round including 10 points from his first four holes. Gary Turner and Joe Burch each had 19 too. It was a weekend when scoring or not scoring on the last decided a lot of issues and so it was with Joe whose 7 on the 18th slipped him out of the winner’s enclosure. They both came late to the Natterjack season and if his shift pattern allows him more chances next season then surely Gary will be a threat to all. As for Joe, well, if I’m scoring 19 points at 82 years old I’ll be a happy player, as will we all. Well done Joe. Doug Myers came into the weekend with an outside chance in the Order of Merit where he sat sixth. It was a big ask but his 19 points on Saturday came from a superb start and sixteen points as he stood on the 16th hole. Was it the previous night out on the razzle? A sore shoulder from too much fly casting? Or Waugher’s cough? Because he too struggled on the last after a brave effort! Another round on Sunday brought 18 points including a brilliant 4 for 4 on the 14th. Wife Joan meanwhile was also in with a chance in the Ladies Order of Merit and had an 18 pointer on Sunday to take her close. Davey Boyce had an extraordinary round on Saturday when his 19 points included a blank and two one pointers but featured a birdie on the 13th. Playing partner on Sunday Dave Warren’s attempt to climb into the Order of Merit top 10 looked good with 18 points but others had improved too and meant he just lost out. Helen and Jon Holmes were able to return from their travels to play Sunday and Helen had the satisfaction of pars on both par threes while Jon had no less than 4 one pointers in his 18. George Farquhar had 17 points on Saturday with solid pars on 12, 13 & 16 and it was good to see Ron Lester back among us again. He soon made short work of the 10th with a three pointer. Playing partners Malcolm Haworth and Bill Hoyle had a mixed weekend whereby neither was able to take advantage of the benign conditions but each was glad of the opportunity to prove it.

Final Order of Merit 2022

Both titles, Men’s & Women’s, were up for grabs as Round 12 began and it was fitting that it all came down to the last hole on the last day. Tony Waugh was under threat from Doug Myers and Helen Holmes could be caught by Joan Myers. With everything to play for Dougie needed a par on the last to tie Tony and with Helen not improving her score on the day, a par for Joan would mean she had pipped Helen by 1 point. Whether it was the pressure, or having Tony looking over their shoulders, who can say but both valiant efforts faltered there and each had to settle for 2nd place in their respective divisions. But Doug added a brilliant six points to his final total to leap frog from 6th into 2nd place and Joan improved by 5 points to go above Diane Clark. Which all means that Tony and Helen, having each led their division for most of the competition, have both narrowly held on and are now the worthy Natterjack 9’s Order of merit champions for 2022.

But there’s another story here too. Pete Warren’s 19 points meant he was able to swap that for an 8 pointer and gain 11 points and Neil Robertson’s 20 points replaced a 16 to move him up to 10th on the final leader board. Each made slow starts to the Natterjacks and both could pose a threat in 2022/23. The same is true for Gary Turner who finished with a 19 pointer and was able to drop a 14 for a five point gain. Brad Steel made it a successful comp for him and all of his fourball partners by adding 3 points on Saturday; cementing his place in the top 10. Davey Boyce added 2 points to take him into joint 3rd. Dave Warren has been having success on the Winter Alliance and improved by 2 points but narrowly missed out on the top 10; another dark horse for next season when he brings his Alliance game to the Natterjacks. And spare a thought for defending champion Geoff Freeman who made a bright start to his defense but was struck down by injury. He’ll be back too.

The Order of Merit has proved a popular addition to the calendar and will be returning this Autumn, thank you all for your support.

Men: with a minimum of 4 qualifying rounds.

1st Tony Waugh121 [6]  22 – 22 – 20 – 19 – 19 – 19
2nd Doug Myers+6   118 [6]  24 – 20 – 19 – 19 – 18 – 18
3rd Richard Roberts116 [6]  21 – 21 – 20 – 19 – 18 – 17
3rd Davey Boyce +2  116 [6]  22 – 20 – 19 – 19 – 18 – 18
5th George van Boyd115 [6]  21 – 21 – 19 – 19 – 19 – 16 
Ian Swarbrick114 [6]  24 – 20 – 19 – 18 – 17 – 16 
Brad Steel+ 3  114 [6]  20 – 20 – 19 – 19 – 18 – 18
David Clark111 [6] 21 – 19 – 19 – 18 – 17 – 17
Vernon Edmondson109 [6]  23 – 19 – 18 – 17 – 16 – 16 
Neil Robertson+4  107 [6]  20 – 18 – 18 – 17 – 17 – 17
Geoff Freeman107 [6]  Season ruined by injury. 2020/21 Champion.
Dave Warren+2  106 [6] 19 – 18 – 18 – 17 – 17 – 17
Peter Clark103 [6]
Joe Shaw103 [6]
Ged McGrath102 [6]
Martin George101 [6]
Jon Holmes101 [6]
Gary Turner+5 101 [6]
Peter Warren+11 100 [6]
Joe Burch98 [6]
John Simpson93 [6]
AJ Holmes91 [6]
Dave Maclardie91 [6]
Alan Holmes90 [6]
Pete Fry86 [5]
John Phillips86 [6]
James Mallon82 [5]
John Simpson93 [6]
Joe Burch98 [6]
Edd Robertson69 [4]
John French66 [4]

Ladies: All qualifiers

Helen Holmes111 [6]21 – 20 – 19 – 17 – 17 – 17 
Joan Myers+5  109 [6]19 – 19 – 19 –  18 -17 – 17
Diane Clark107 [6]22 – 20 – 18 – 16 – 16 – 15
Sue Driver82 [5]
Chris Lloyd-Rogers71 [4]
Sue Bilgri41 [2]
Yvonne Goodrick40 [2]

Natterjack 9’s Round 11 Roundup

[1st leg Saturday 5th March – 2nd leg Sunday 13th March] Front 9

Richard Roberts Romps Round 11

Round 11 was a game of two halves, split between Saturday 5th & Sunday 13th each played over the front 9 and the wind was up for both. The match including Richard Roberts & Dave Boyce on the first day produced the winner and third place with an outstanding knock from our pal Joey taking the honours. Two pointers on 1 & 2 were followed by a birdie 2 for 4 points on the third and it was good to see Richard keeping up the tradition of sharing his three ball sleeve of Srixon’s among his playing partners. When we introduced the ‘balls for 2s’ it was Richard who had narrowly missed out having had a two in the round before it began, so justice was being done. There were three players with 19 points and it was another fine effort from Tony Waugh who took second prize on countback. A six for 1 on hole one was soon put behind him with a par on the third for 3 and from there on it was consistency all the way. Boycee started well until a mishap on the 5th caused him to blank but he soon recovered with pars on 6, 7 & 8 and 2 points on 9 to put him in the prizes once more. And so it was George van Boyd’s bad luck to miss out and come home fourth with a nineteen which was remarkable for following a three pointer on the first by posting eight consecutive 2 pointers from the 2nd through to the 9th. But having played both legs of this round, with 16 points in the first, ‘The Silent Assassin’s’ consolation has come in the Order of Merit, but more of that later.

Diane Clark is another to have picked up her challenge for the Order of Merit in the back half of the winter season and 18 points in the first leg here featured a par for 4 points on the second. David Clark also posted 18 points and he took full advantage of his extra shots on the 2nd and the 8th to collect three points on each. If there were a race for Mr Consistent Dave would be in it. Four players scored 17 points. Ian Swarbrick’s included a birdie on the 7th. Helen Holmes had three pointers on the 6th & 9th .  Ank Robinson scored on every hole and Boycee could boast of a birdie on the 7th in leg 2. Vernon Edmondson played both legs, his best being 16 points in leg 2, recovering well after a blank on the first. Gary Turner’s 16 points in leg 1 began the same way but he then went on to par 3, 4, 7 & 8. Brad Steel played both legs having mentioned to your reporter that he was experiencing a shank off the third in practice earlier in the week. Par on that hole in both legs laid that to rest. Jon Holmes’ has played more rounds of the Natterjacks than any other player and his 16 points came in leg 1 with consecutive 1 pointers on 2, 3, 4, & 5 being improved upon when a birdie on the seventh and a par on the ninth brought welcome respectability to a man struggling to come to turns with his lowest ever handicap. Joe Shaw began with a par on the first and the second and had 12 points when he stood on the 6th tee but he was only able to add two more points as the wind took over. We’ve all been there Joe. Doug Myers played both legs with the highlights coming in the first one with pars on the 4th and the 7th . Joan played in leg 1 but also struggled in the wind despite a bright start. Peter Clark had perhaps the most up and down round in either leg in a round which included three pars and three blanks. Walking off with a par on the 9th was, hopefully, a little consolation.

Order of Merit after Round 11

Not too many changes after round 11 participation was affected by strong winds. But there were two significant moves. George van Boyds previous rounds of consecutive 21 points put him firmly in the hunt for top spot and 19 points in Round 11 rocketed him into third place and just 6 off the lead while Richard Roberts held on to second place by winning this round and moving within 5 of Tony Waugh, who remains top, where he’s been all season. With one round and, perhaps more importantly, two chances to play, there’s still room for someone else to do a GvB and win by shooting two high scores. Among those with a real chance it’s a question of what score you can replace and for leader Tony this means beating his lowest counting score of 19, which to be fair to him, he has done three times this season. Richard Roberts has a 17 and an 18 to replace if he plays twice. GvB can drop a 16 then post another high score to possibly topple Tony and Ian Swarbrick, who previously posted a 24, could replace his 16 & 17 to leapfrog right to the top. Dave Boyce has tougher task with at least an 18 to count in his final six scores but with prizes going down to fifth he might look over his shoulder where he would see Doug Myers, who can also boast a previous 24 pointer. With a 15 and a 16 to drop any two good scores could propel Doug well up the scoreboard, even to the top. Brad Steel has been playing with Tony and Doug and Joan throughout and this fourball has proved remarkably successful. He’s just missed out on a big score several times but one in the final round and all four of them could feature in the prizes. David Clark, another Mr Consistent with a 16 and a 17 to replace is also in contention. Then there’s Vernon! Posted a 23 earlier and has two 16’s to drop. Two good scores could enable him to climb upwards. In the ladies division Diane Clark moved closer with an 18 pointer but her and Pete will miss the last round. That means only one or two significant questions left for the ladies; can Joan post a big score to replace her 14? Will she play Ulverston as usual that weekend and reduce her chances by half? Or will she place both days and possibly replace her 14 & 16? Lots to play for then in both divisions! Can anyone catch Tony? Can Joan peg back Helen? Watch this space.   

The final round is on Saturday March 26th & Sunday March 27th
Back 9

Men: with a minimum of 4 qualifying rounds

Tony Waugh121 [6]22 – 22 – 20 – 19 – 19 – 19
Richard Roberts116 [6]21 – 21 – 20 – 19 – 18 – 17
George van Boyd115 [6]21 – 21 – 19 – 19 – 19 – 16
Ian Swarbrick114 [6]24 – 20 – 19 – 18 – 17 – 16
Davey Boyce114 [6]22 – 20 – 19 – 18 – 18 – 17
Doug Myers112 [6]24 – 20 – 19 – 18 – 16 – 15
Brad Steel111 [6]20 – 20 – 19 – 18 – 18 – 16
David Clark110 [6] 21 – 19 – 19 – 18 – 17 – 16
Vernon Edmondson109 [6]23 – 19 – 18 – 17 – 16 – 16
Geoff Freeman107 [6]Season ruined by injury. 2020/21 Champion.
Dave Warren104 [6] 19 – 18 – 17 – 17 – 17 – 16
Peter Clark103 [6]
Neil Robertson103 [6]
Joe Shaw103 [6]
Ged McGrath102 [6]
Martin George101 [6]
Jon Holmes101 [6]
Gary Turner96 [6]
AJ Holmes91 [6]
Dave Maclardie91 [6]
Alan Holmes90 [6]
Peter Warren89 [6]
Pete Fry86 [5]
John Phillips86 [6]
James Mallon82 [5]
John Simpson80 [5]
Joe Burch79 [5]
Edd Robertson69 [4]
John French66 [4]
  
Ladies: All qualifiers 
Helen Holmes111 [6] 21 – 20 – 19 – 17 – 17 – 17
Diane Clark107 [6] 22 – 20 – 18 – 16 – 16 – 15
Joan Myers104 [6] 19 – 19 – 19 – 17 – 16 – 14
Sue Driver82 [5]
Chris Lloyd-Rogers71 [4]
Sue Bilgri41 [2}
Yvonne Goodrick40 [2]

2022 Fixture List

Natterjack Round 10 Result & Roundup February 26th & 27th 2022

1st George van Boyd 21pts 2nd Brad Steel 20 pts [countback] 3rd Diane Clark 20 pts George van Boyd Goes very Big. When someone with the power of Ank Robinson takes driver off the par three twelfth it tells you two things about the conditions; the ‘Silecroft Breeze’ is ‘up’ and on this rare occasion […]

Natterjack 9’s Order of Merit after Round 8

[4 Rounds to go]

Men: with a minimum of 4 qualifying rounds

Tony Waugh120 [6 rounds]
Ian Swarbrick113 [6]
Davey Boyce109 [6]
Geoff Freeman107 [6]
Vernon Edmondson106 [6]
Brad Steel106 [6]
David Clark106 [6]
Doug Myers105 [6]
Neil Robertson103 [6]
Dave Warren102 [6]
Ged McGrath102 [6]
Peter Clark101 [6]
Martin George101 [6]
Jon Holmes98 [6]
Richard Roberts95 [5] 
Dave Maclardie91 [6]     
Peter Warren89 [6]
Pete Fry86 [5]
John Phillips86 [6]
James Mallon82 [5]
John Simpson80 [5]
Gary Turner79 [5]
George van Boyd75 [5]   
 Joe Shaw74 [4]
Alan Holmes71 [4]
Edd Robertson69 [4]
Joe Burch66 [4]
John French66 [4]
AJ Holmes66 [4]
  
Ladies: All qualifiers 
Helen Holmes110 [6 Rounds]
Joan Myers94 [6]
Diane Clark90 [6]
Sue Driver68 [4]
Chris Lloyd-Rogers59 [3]
Sue Bilgri41 [2}
Yvonne Goodrick40 [2]
Leaderboard

Men. There were some significant moves after round 8. Tony Waugh remains the leader of the men’s division and was able to begin dropping lower scores after playing seven times. [It is the highest total from a maximum of six rounds which will produce the winner.] Tony was able to swap a 20 for a 17 to move on to a total of 120. Will this be a final score? Will Australia come too soon? He has an 18 and two 19’s to drop IF he can score higher than those.  But with four rounds to go and eight chances to improve there are others who can leap into contention because they have even lower scores to replace. Ian Swarbrick reached six rounds played on Sunday and his 24 at the weekend put him bang in the hunt. He now has a score of 112 but has a 15, a 16 and an 18 to swap. If he continues to play and produces higher scores he could be the biggest danger to Tony. Geoff Freeman has three good scores and three low ones to drop and could leap forward from 107. Davey Boyce could jump forward too. He swapped a 13 for an 18 this weekend and now has 109 with a 14 to drop when he goes again. Vernon made a giant leap on Sunday, demonstrating just what is possible. He swapped a 12 for a 23 to be this weekend’s biggest mover, up from 95 to 106. David Clark now has 106 with a 15 and two 16’s to drop. Dave Warren has played more than six rounds and has 102 with a 15 and two 17’s to replace. Doug Myers may not have been at his best in round 8 but he has a 24 to his name and has 105 with a 12 and a 14 to drop. Two scores of 20 from eight rounds to come and he could well be in contention. Neil Robertson swapped a 15 for an 18 after Sunday and sits on 103. Perhaps the darkest horse is Richard Roberts who has only posted five scores but for 95 points. Another 20 or 21 and a 17 to drop could propel him to the top.

Ladies. Leader Helen Holmes was able to add two points to her six round score, moving on from 108 to 110. Diane Clark was the weekend’s big mover carding 22 points on her sixth round for 95 but it may be that her travels restrict her challenge. Joan Myers returned to form at the weekend posting a 19 for her sixth round. She now has 94 but with two 13s and a 14 to drop.

With only seven women participating there is only a prize for the winner available but could there yet be a twist in the tale? There will be equal prize money for the winners of each division and at least three prizes in the men’s section. There are also now balls for twos and with four rounds to go we’re hoping to give away quite a few. See you on February 12th & 13th for Round 9.

Natterjack Round 8 Roundup – Ian Swarbrick’s Super Sunday.

1st Ian Swarbrick 24 pts

2nd Vernon Edmondson 23pts

3rd Diane Clark 22 pts [countback]

Next week they’ll be golfing in Dubai, Ian, Joe Shaw & Ed Robertson but Sunday gone they were focused on Silecroft and to some effect, with Joe carding 22 points and Ed posting 18 of his own. They are rapidly catching Ed up on general play but right now their handicaps remain the same and that makes them a danger for now and into the new season. For some of us it’s ‘stand back and admire’ as they tee off the first and keep walking up and up the first fairway to reach their ball.  An opening salvo of 4 for 3,3 for 4,3 for 3 & 4 for 3 gave Ian a fine start but after a 6 on the 14th brought an element of doubt a birdie on 15 provided a superb response. The birdie also made him the first winner of three balls for twos in the Natterjacks. Coming home 4 for 2, 4 for 3, 5 for 2 meant a net total of 35 shots for 24 points. That 6 for 1 on 14 also means of course that it could have been 25 or 26 points but for the moment 24 will have to do! For Vernon Edmondson 23 must have looked like a winning score and he too could have looked back and known what was truly possible after his blob on 12. A string of three pointers from 14 to 18 were the true measure of his progress and excellent reward for all the practice. The 12th & 14th were definitely the tough holes of the day but for Diane Clark they returned 4 points as she returned to form with an outstanding round of 22 points, including pars on 12, 16 & 18. Ten points from the last three proved the difference in the count-back. She’s back! Joe Shaw parred the last too and was one of the few to play 14 in par. More pars on 15, 16 & 18 helped him to net 39 shots and 22 points with a solid level of consistency. Brian Dawson doesn’t get out much these days so his 22 points might have come as a surprise but as a previous winner he’d already demonstrated that the talent was there and so it proved on Sunday. He also came home in 39 shots with five pars boosting his points tally. Playing partner Paul Carter wasn’t far behind with 21 points, including a birdie on the 16th. Alan Holmes was another Mister Consistent with three x three pointers and six twos in his 21 points, closely followed by Tony Waugh who boosted his Order of Merit score with another good day, this time with 20 points. It was also a good day for Joan Myers as she collected 19 points toward her challenge for the ladies Order of Merit. A superb birdie on the 2nd gave her four points and was soon followed by a par on 12 for 3. Another lady back to form! The closest match of the day involved Richard Roberts, Dave Boyce, Dave Warren and Neil Robertson. It was Richard’s birdie on the 16th which proved the difference, those four points bringing him 19, one point clear of the other three. Bogeys on 13, 14, 17 & 18 held back Ed Robertson’s round, when for most of us a five on each of those would be a success. Playing off 6 might be a dream for many but when you can’t afford bogeys golf is tough. He’s also the teacher and target, which playing partners Joe & Ian are using as inspiration to lift their own game. Peter Clark began and ended with pars for three pointers among his total of 18 and was among the few to par the 14th. Back to full swing for John French, who also had 18 points with successive pars on 15 & 16. It was a slow start for Brad Steel with just seven points from his first five holes but a powerful finish brought 11 from the last four and another good score for his Order of Merit. Steven Rowe had an amazing up and down round with birdies on 13 and 17 and two blobs among his 17 points while Sue Driver & Chris Lloyd-Rogers had a ding dong contest with the lead going back and forth. A 4 for 3 on 12 gave Chris the early lead before Sue leveled it back up on 13. Sue took the narrowest of leads on the 15th only for Chris to get it back again on the next. So an honorable tie seemed an appropriate result, both carding 17 points. It was the same story for Helen & Jon Holmes, each taking the lead then surrendering it again before both returned 17 points. Antony Holmes picked up six points from 10 & 18 and also had a par for three on 14 in his 17 points. John Armstrong had ‘one of those days’ we’ve all had but did find consolation in walking off the 18th with a par. It was also a struggle for Doug Myers, for whom a 4 for 3 on the sixteenth was his best.

A special mention must be made of Dave Clark who played twice, yes twice!!! Perhaps his biggest success of the weekend was persuading George van Boyd to play on Saturday. Into 40 mph winds! They played and they returned – windswept! But if God truly does love a tryer then their places on the ultimate golf course are assured.

Order of Merit

Men. There were some significant moves after round 8. Tony Waugh remains the leader of the men’s division and was able to begin dropping lower scores after playing seven times. [It is the highest total from a maximum of six rounds which will produce the winner.] Tony was able to swap a 20 for a 17 to move on to a total of 120. Will this be a final score? Will Australia come to soon? He has an 18 and two 19’s to drop IF he can score higher than those.  But with four rounds to go and eight chances to improve there are others who can leap into contention because they have even lower scores to replace. Ian Swarbrick reached six rounds played on Sunday and his 24 at the weekend put him bang in the hunt. He now has a score of 112 but has a 15, a 16 and an 18 to swap. If he continues to play and produces higher scores he could be the biggest danger to Tony. Geoff Freeman has three good scores and three low ones to drop and could leap forward from 107. Davey Boyce could jump forward too. He swapped a 13 for an 18 this weekend and now has 109 with a 14 to drop when he goes again. Vernon made a giant leap on Sunday, demonstrating just what is possible. He swapped a 12 for a 23 to be this weekend’s biggest mover, up from 95 to 106. David Clark now has 106 with a 15 and two 16’s to drop. Dave Warren has played more than six rounds and has 102 with a 15 and two 17’s to replace. Doug Myers may not have been at his best in round 8 but he has a 24 to his name and has 105 with a 12 and a 14 to drop. Two scores of 20 from eight rounds to come and he could well be in contention. Neil Robertson swapped a 15 for an 18 after Sunday and sits on 103. Perhaps the darkest horse is Richard Roberts who has only posted five scores but for 95 points. Another 20 or 21 and a 17 to drop could propel him to the top.

Ladies. Leader Helen Holmes was able to add two points to her six round score, moving on from 108 to 110. Diane Clark was the weekend’s big mover carding 22 points on her sixth round for 95 but it may be that her travels restrict her challenge. Joan Myers returned to form at the weekend posting a 19 for her sixth round. She now has 94 but with two 13s and a 14 to drop.

With only seven women participating there is only a prize for the winner available but could there yet be a twist in the tale? There will be equal prize money for the winners of each division and at least three prizes in the men’s section. There are also now balls for twos and with four rounds to go we’re hoping to give away quite a few. See you on February 12th & 13th for Round 9.

This Wednesday February 2nd is the clubs AGM at Millom Cricket Club.

Be there if you care.

Report by Dave Ward

The Captain’s Winter Invitational – Yellow Ball Competition

What a great format Davey Boyce chose for his Captain’s Winter Invitational and an excellent turn out  ensured it was a day worth remembering. Before the shotgun start there were lots of questions about what Yellow Ball Format involved but by the end there was universal praise for the interest it created and the pleasure it provided. Thanks must also go to Ank and Pete for their input too.

With 20 bonus points to be added for retaining your yellow ball through to the end, keeping it in play was always going to be a priority, which is why cries rang out among those exiting the course and a group of players were seen with their noses in the dyke on the 18th. “Simmy, Simmy, Simmy, no, no, no!” they pleaded. For Gunger it was a repeat of playing Yellow Ball at Grange-over-Sands a few years back and for Jon Holmes, who carded 43 points himself on the day, it was one of those rare occasions when he resorts to prayer but the damage was done, on their very last hole. It may come as a consolation to them to know that they wouldn’t have won anyway but it did mean their total of 112 would put them last of the nine teams. Bill Hoyle had 46 points but could only stand and watch with Dave Clark as team mate Joel Barker sent their yellow ball into the pond beyond the 12th from the 11th fairway. For Joel it was part of an extraordinary return to golf as he hit four birdies for 19 points including an 8 pointer on the 17th in their total of 118. The draw threw up a few anomalies among which was putting husband and wife Di & Pete together with Ank playing gooseberry. The consistent Ank scored on every hole for his team and amassed 48 points towards their teams 130, putting them in seventh place. Sending a 71 year old man to start on the 5th didn’t seem to do any harm as he accumulated 48 points and dragged Captain Boycee and Robert Bell to a total of 137. Good to see Robert back on the course too.  Neil Shaw has been doing the club proud elsewhere but played third fiddle here to Vernon Edmondson and Tony Waugh, with Tony contributing 50 points to their 139 and John French was back with a bang leading Sue Driver and Helen Holmes to a tie for fourth place with their 139. Taking 3rd place were George Farquhar, Brian Dawson and Gary Turner with 142; featuring Gary’s top individual score on the day of 52 points, including 28 on the front 9. “That Ryan Carter can hit a long ball!” So said Dave Warren to all and sunder after witnessing the fact for himself; as did Peter Warren as the three put together 145 points to grab second place. But it would take a four ball to win it, posting a magnificent 156 with contributions from Richard Roberts, Geoff Freeman, Stephen Rowe and in his first ever comp Steve Milligan. A back nine of 71 points made all the difference.

So will this become the club Captain’s farewell piece as he heads to February 2nd’s AGM and a hand over to Ank? Could it become part of the fixtures? A lot of us are hoping so.

Next Natterjacks: this Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th January

This years AGM is this Wednesday, February 2nd 2022, starting 7:30pm at Millom Cricket Club

Report: Dave Ward

Sue Bilgri dazzles through the drizzle.

1st Sue Bilgri 24 points

2nd Doug Myers 24 points [Countback]

3rd Brad Steel 20 points [Countback]

What a fantastic turn out with forty four people showing support for what has become a popular winter competition which this time around featured 66 rounds. Twenty two people played twice and by coincidence twenty two people played once. The weather may have played its part with a heavy drizzle on the course for part of Sunday morning but that didn’t stop some folk recording good scores and that included our winner. Sunday also saw the improvised comp within a comp for eight players who played 18 holes but included their front nines in the Natterjacks. Thanks guys. Well done Joe Shaw.

It doesn’t matter what your handicap is, to win you’ve got to play well by your own standards and Sue Bilgri did just that on Sunday with four 4 pointers including one on the last. With limited range on her shots and a net total of just 32 strokes this had to be a victory for accuracy. In discussion with our handicap secretary afterwards he was keen to point out that for the ladies Silecroft is a very tough course off the red tees, making Sue’s Sunday effort all the more admirable. So, on a tough links, in the cold and drizzle Sue produced her best ever golf and proved a worthy winner. But only just, because also out on the course was one Doug Myers, ex- rugby star, ex-veteran fly fishing world champion who also chose this day to bring his best golf. Doug’s was a story of consistency with six 3 pointers and three 2 pointers, no blobs, no 1 pointers, just good golf the whole way. So many of us have stood on the eighth tee with a good score only to blow up, and there were some yesterday but Doug took seven points from his last three holes and five of those were from 8 & 9. But successive pars on 4,5 & 6 were at the heart of his round where all the effort Doug’s put into his golf finally paid off. His score also catapults him up the Order of Merit charts.

At this point it’s as well to mention the Natterjack 9’s bonus scheme for high scorers  – nobody gets cut – because changes to the course conditions and rules means your handicap remains unaffected. Do I hear a collective groan from the rest of us?

Third place was also won on countback, with Brad Steel squeezing past Richard Roberts by virtue of his better last six holes. Both had 20 points. Pars on 1,3,4,6 & 7 and no blobs made for a consistent run of points and rescuing a point on the eighth helped too. Richard [aka Joey] Roberts had the best start of anyone with 4,4,2 providing 10 points off the first three holes. He too rescued himself, with 1 pointers on the fifth and eighth and can consider himself unlucky to have missed out on the prizes. Both have added considerably to their Order of Merit scores.

A host of players carded 19 points, including Gary Turner, who is now down to a handicap of just 13 but managed pars on 3, 4, 6 and 9 in his Saturday round. Geoff Freeman had 19 on Saturday and was in danger of a really good score until the last two holes. “I lost a ball and made a real mess of it!” He told me. The pleasure of his beloved Hatters taking three points off Bournemouth might have redeemed his weekend. Martin George’s 19 included a 4 pointer on the seventh while Paul Goodrick was another to have a birdie on the 3rd. Peter Clark’s round of 19 on Sunday, playing off a handicap of 10, contained the most extraordinary run of 4 strokes per hole from 1 through to 7. Fives on 8 & 9 completed his round in just 38 gross shots. George van Boyd’s 19 on Sunday almost mirrored that; playing off 10, recording a gross score of 38. Dave Warren was also steady away, carding eight two pointers and one three in his 19. Very consistent guys! Sue Driver’s highlight in her excellent 19 was a par for 3 points on the sixth and with playing partner Chris Lloyd-Rogers carding 18, with a par of her own on the sixth among her 18 points, it was a quite a day for the three ladies playing together. It was a brilliant weekend for Joe Shaw, with a birdie on the 4th in his 19 on Saturday but his 37 points over 18 holes on the Sunday made him the winner of the impromptu eight man comp.

John Simpson’s good run of form continued, following his success at last week’s Winter Alliance at Furness. His 18 points here included four for three on the first and last. Our Order of Merit leader Tony Waugh carded 18 on Saturday with a four for three on the fifth being the feature, Ian Swarbrick birdied the 4th for four points in his Saturday round of 18 points. Joe Burch played both days and had 18 points of his own on Sunday, with 3 pointers on 2,4 & 7. If it was a battle of the elders between Joe and Dave Maclardie then it was match drawn as Dave also posted 18 points on Sunday, including four three pointers and a blob on the second. Joe sounded full of surprise after his round,“It’s really caught on, this Natterjacks ‘asn’t it?” He asked. Which was easy to answer. On his way back to form following his operations John French matched theirs with an 18 of his own and recorded five pars along the way. It’s ‘old v young bull’ for father and son James and Finn Mallon, 18 each means matters are even for the moment. “He played some cracking golf.” James tells me. “He just missed a six footer on the third for birdie, then hit a great shot into the fourth green which just rolled through.” Yvonne Goodrick added 18 points to her Order of Merit score and could challenge in the ladies division if she takes more opportunities. John Phillips scorched through holes 2, 3 & 4 with three pointers on each in his 17 points.  Helen Holmes boosted her Order of Merit tally adding 17 points with three pointers on the first and sixth. “I couldn’t putt.” She told me. Neil Robertson [aka Gunga] birdied the 5th & the 7th but a misfortune on the third held his score back. It was points on every hole for Pete Warren and pars on 4 and 7 in his 17 points and it was the same story for Alan Holmes who also had pars on 4 & 7 for his 17. Son AJ found it tough off his handicap of 9 but still managed 16 points and Diane Clark scored the same, with three three pointers in her 16. Dave Clark played both days and recorded 16 points on each with the highlight being a birdie on the third on Sunday which brought four points. Vernon Edmonson posted 15 points with two blobs but remains on a handy mark. The 4th & 7th provided good scoring chances all weekend and Jon Holmes was another to seize the opportunities with pars on both in his 16 points. Men’s Captain Davey Boyce had pars on the 1st and the 9th but an indifferent middle section left him struggling with 14 points. Alan Eastwood couldn’t carry his form from the Christmas comp into this but had the consolation of a par on the seventh in his 14. Joan Myers carries the lowest handicap of all the women, just 17. As mentioned before this is a tough course for ladies and Joan struggled over both days here, her best being 14 points on Saturday which included two blanks. Pars for 3 points on the sixth and seventh showed what she’s really capable of. It was a rare appearance in the Natterjacks for George Farquar whose consolation was the company of good pals, a par on the third and a point for Utd.

Anyone thinking they’ve had a bad day might take solace from Ged McGrath’s weekend, which he has given me permission to write about. Saturday was particularly bad, bringing just 6 points after scoring on only four holes. What is worth remarking on here is that he came back on Sunday and tried again. Things got a little better but not much, 11 points and four blanks. We’ve all known bad days on the course but as we all know and Ged was keen to point out, you put it behind you and move on.

Order of Merit

Thanks to your support we’re able to extend the prizes for the men’s event to include 1st 2nd & 3rd and fund a separate prize and trophy for the winner of the women’s. We will also be adding prizes of balls for 2s as of the next round. Just to clarify; it is all one comp on the weekends but two comps, men’s and women’s for the Order of Merit.

1st Sue Bilgri 24 points

2nd Doug Myers 24 points [Countback]

3rd Brad Steel 20 points [Countback]

Halfway through the Natterjacks and the Order of Merit is still wide open.

The story so far……

With half the season played and half still to come here’s a summary of who’s in contention and some of the likely outsiders. In fact, with the last round abandoned there are more chances to come than gone and anybody with a good run can still win! Just to remind everyone; the winner will be the player with the best six scores after the final day on 27th March. Some players are regulars in the Winter Alliance and might have missed out so far but could stage a late rally for the Natterjack title and with each of the six remaining weekends offering two chances to play and score there’s every chance for them to do so. But some players have already posted three good scores and might take some catching. So let’s get started with who’s done what and when so far and in no particular order.

Mens

Ian Swarbrick has played just three times but they total 55 points, including his 20 pts back in round 1. Peter Warren had a 20 back in November and has 53 from his best three rounds. Alan and Antony Holmes are among those playing Winter Alliance and while only having 33 points each could be among those who represent a late threat. Last year’s winner Geoff Freeman got off to a slow start of his defence but had an exceptional November playing four times and accumulating 57 from his best three attempts. Geoff’s regular playing partner [and brother-in-law]Dave Clark may become his biggest rival having posted 59 points from just three rounds. Men’s Captain Davey Boyce came close to winning twice, in rounds 4 & 5 and has 60 points on the board. Ken Noakes and Robert Bell have only managed two rounds each and have work to do off 32 points each. Dave Warren seems an unlikely contender but is due a good round and is playing off a useful handicap. Doug Myers is another to have only played three times but has posted 53 points from those. He is also playing in a four-ball which has produced consistently good scores. Martin George looked to be running in midfield until posting a winning score [on count-back] of 22 in round five and has 55 from his three best rounds. Playing partner Vernon Edmonson could be another dark horse. With a useful handicap and 53 points banked he is well capable of adding a significant score. Joe Shaw and Ryan Carter have only played once each and are level on 17. With lots of potential, great handicaps and age on their side the future could be theirs. Peter Clark’s three rounds may have only produced 52 but Peter is a proven winner, though off his lowest ever handicap! Paul Goodrick has spent a lot of time away and only played once but with 19 to his name could be a contender if more available in 2022. Tony Waugh must be the current favourite, with 63 points banked, another 19 pointer that could count and the most consistent score so far. With his highest handicap to date and with talent to burn his tilt at the title may depend on his travel plans to Australia. His broken ribs are healing and he’s hoping to be back for round 7 this month. Brad Steel has 52 and is another dark horse, having yet to play to his full potential in this competition. Stephen Lloyd had 20 points and a podium finish to his name in round 1 but will he get the opportunities? James Mallon has 50, all from early rounds but sons Finn and Todd have struggled so far. They too have time and talent on their side. Scott Steele featured for a long way in last season’s Natterjacks but shift-work commitments have reduced his appearances so far this time around. He has 35 from two rounds. Pete Fry had 20 in round 2 and is definitely not out of this, counting 56 from his best three rounds and has the ability to be consistent. Conqueror of the Xmas Comp Alan Eastwood has too many family commitments to play many Natterjacks but don’t be surprised if he walks away a winner of a round in 2022. The Celtic Trio: Dave Maclardie [46pts], John Phillips [44pts] and Ged McGrath [58pts] all have the ability and the handicaps to produce an exceptional score as Ged proved in winning round 3 with a massive 24 points. Any repeat of that would make him a serious contender but can he? John Simpson produced 21 points and nearly won round 4. Another with an ascending handicap and bags of ability! Club champion Ed Robertson may only have 51 points so far from three rounds but this could all change should he turn his attention to winning this year’s edition. Fresh from his operation it was good to see John French returning to the fray and recent practice has gone well. He has a lot of ground to make up but off his handicap of 18 he could feature soon. Life on the Links is proving tough for Jon Holmes off his handicap of just 11. Yet he did post 21points in round 3 and has 51 in total. George van Boyd only has 31 from his two rounds to date but is another proven winner who we may see more of. Was it 3 or 4 years ago that Gary Turner cleaned up in comps? He was off a handicap in the 20’s back then and is now off 13.9. Yet to feature in this year’s Natterjack’s but could be a winner at any time. Neil Robertson has 52 points from the best of his rounds and is another who will play Winter Alliance. We all know how good he is but could he be a late contender? Joe Burch [32pts] and Richard Roberts [38pts] also play Winter Alliance and have only managed two rounds each so far but Richard’s includes a 21 pointer from round 3 and is another who could win at any time.

Ladies

With a separate prize for the ladies it could well be that the Ladies Winner and the overall winner turns out to be the same player. We have had two outright winners from among the ladies so far and there are probably more to come. Joan Myers has commitments at other clubs but has still managed to play three times for a total of 48 points while Diane Clark has also struggled with her winter form compared to her summer exploits, posting 41 from 3. Yvonne Goodrick won round 1 with 22 points but has been away for long periods, restricting her to just one round. Will travelling plans intervene again? Chris Lloyd-Rogers won with 24 points in her single appearance but has moved to Kendal now and might not want to travel during these troubled times. Another with a useful handicap, Sue Bilgri has only appeared once herself for 17 points and if the French authorities are kind we might not see Sue Driver for a while, after posting a total of 32 from 2. So we have a definite favourite for this race too, with Helen Holmes dominating. Her 60 points from 3 rounds have her way out in front and a major threat for the overall Order of Merit.

Round 7 is January 15th & 16th