‘The Brocky’ as it’s affectionately known is Silecroft golf club’s premier competition of the season with six qualifying rounds guaranteed to produce a very strong field. And this year was no different. First played in 1903 the cup itself is thought to have its origins in the old Spring Bank Brewery but achieved elevated status when it became forever linked with local legend Tom Mayson. Tom received the VC in WW1 for outstanding bravery in the face of enemy fire; went on to win the cup three times and captained the club throughout the difficult WW2 years of 1939-45. The honour of having your name inscribed alongside his has never dimmed.
This year’s renewal was played in the ‘usual for Silecroft’ conditions of a strong wind and threatening skies but with the exception of one brief shower ‘God was good’! No less than six previous champions were attempting to win it again and this year’s competition once again had more than its share of drama. The ladies also play their version and the victor in 2020, by the narrowest of margins, after several ‘recounts’, was Helen Holmes, with Diane Clark a very close second and Lady Captain Chris Lloyd-Rogers an honourable third.
Following behind them was a field of 24 men, including three time winner and defending champ Ed Robertson. Having won just about everything this season Ed started as a strong favourite but found it difficult to get into his rhythm, until the back 9 when service was resumed. However, out on the course dramatic events were happening, none more so than to eventual winner Brian Dawson. With putts such as his forty footer from off the green on the 5th and two great up and downs on the 9th and 17th his return of net 63 made him untouchable. Everyone knew the talent was there and this day proved it. There will be many more trophies to come, for sure. There was more drama on the 13th where Anthony [AJ] Holmes put his three wood off the tee by the front bunkers and then went with a three quarters 8 iron only to see his ball disappear on the green. A brief search revealed that his ball was nestling in the cup giving him an eagle 2 and a place in club folklore. There were prizes for 2’s and the only other one of the day came from Dave Warren who brought home a good score of 70. Glory for Dave came on the 15th where his hybrid off the tee went close and he was able to putt out for his share of the 2’s prizes.
Second place overall went to John Young with a fine round of net 68. John began by birdying the 1st & 2nd, was two under after six and made the turn at level par, but a run of three fives on the back nine and three putting the eighteenth put victory beyond him. 2020 has been a frustrating season for John with yet another runners up spot here but as he was gracious enough to point out, had all those things gone to plan on this day, he might have posted a 64 and still lost! Geoff Freeman continued his fine season, a score of 69 here adding third place to the victories he’s claimed home and away. Elsewhere there was still more drama and great golf. Scott Steele managed to play the same ball throughout his round, no mean achievement in that wind while on the 17th Ank Robinson was sinking an outstanding long putt. And while Dave Clark was busy birdying the 4th Captain Davey Boyce was seen chasing his hat across the rough on the left of the sixteenth. The 1987 Brockbank Champion John Holmes described his round as “a catalogue of mediocrity” and Malcolm Haworth had the frustration of No Return before having a fine par on the long and tricky 17th. John Simpson was only one over after 6, sank a monster on 13 and is looking forward to an easing in his handicap while Brad Steele’s handicap had dropped down one before today and he had an excellent return of just 70. Brad also took the same ball all the way round and sank a long putt on the third but five 5’s on the back nine cost him dear. A drive and an iron into the 10th green left George van Boyd with a 20ft+ putt which he duly sank for a birdie, helping him to a round of 72. Barry French parred 1 and 10 before declaring it a practice round for Monday’s Senior event! The highlight of 2014 Champion Bill Hoyle’s round was a birdie on the 4th and Pete Clark was another to sink a mammoth putt, his coming from way back on the eighth green. Big putts were going in everywhere, John French sinking a huge one from off the 13th green. Gary Turner holed out from 35 yards, went Non Return only to then hit a sequence of pars after that. John Armstrong is another previous winner, having been Champion in 1995 and he was another who made a great start; only 1 over after 6 but things never really happened for John after that. The high point for Pete Fry came with his birdie on the 16th and a fine score of 70 while 2002 Champion Roy Harrison described his highlight as rescuing a par on the 3rd.
And the winner of the longest drive went to 2011 Brockbank winner Ron Lester who made the effort of driving from Birmingham to Silecroft before playing his round and then driving all the way back down. Runners up were Malcolm Haworth and Bill Hoyle for their drive from Accrington. Another fine speech was made at the presentation by Men’s Captain Davey Boyce, who thanked all the volunteers for their efforts on the course and behind the scenes and all ran smoothly on the day thanks to Comps Secretary Peter Clark. Ken [Mr Silecroft] Leece was also thanked for all his hard work.