Thursday, 25 April 2024

Old Brightonian Golf Society reaches quarter-finals for the first time in the Illustrious competition.

The Old Brightonians Golf Society have been competing this week in the Halford Hewitt in its Centenary year. The Halford Hewitt is made up of 64 Public Schools from England and Scotland in teams of 10. It has been described as the ‘greatest of all truly amateur tournaments’ and the largest scratch amateur event in the world.

Brighton has a modest record in the event, but the team has been steadily improving in recent years. The competition is stiff with several schools having golf courses and golf academies. However, Brighton has a record for producing fantastic all-round sportsmen and many OB’s have transitioned from sports such as cricket and rugby. Indeed, our 2024 team and supporters comprised 6 former 1st XI cricket captains!

Brighton had assembled the strongest team in its history with handicaps ranging from +2 – 4. Every one of our 5 pairs could hope to compete. We pitted youth with experience, our team ranging in age from 24-53 yrs. Brighton also welcomed eight hardy OB supporters to caddy and cheer us on.

On Thursday Brighton were drawn against Canford in the first round, a team with a good pedigree in the event. On the Halford Hewitt scale we were given an 8% chance of victory. Brighton were on form and a high quality contest resulted in a nail-biting 3/2 victory.

Our second-round opponents on Friday were our arch-rivals Lancing, who had assembled a strong and successful team over the past decade. Brighton rose to the occasion and secured a convincing 3 ½ - 1 ½ victory. Brighton had reached the Saturday of the main event for the first time in their history. In Round 3 Brighton were pitted against Fettes.

Our third-round match versus Fettes was played in glorious sunshine on the links of Royal Cinque Ports, Deal. Brighton played to a level that surprised themselves and at no stage did a victory really hang in the balance. Once more Brighton vanquished their opposition 3 ½- 1 ½. Of the 64 schools who started only 8 remained, and impossibly one of those was Brighton College – Brighton had reached the quarter-finals.

After a quick celebration and lunch Brighton headed out again to do battle against Cranleigh for a place in the semi-finals. By now the wind had got up and the golf became very challenging. This was an altogether closer affair with our first pair suffering an agonising defeat after the second pair had already stormed to victory. Game 3 was in the balance, but Brighton prevailed, and we were 2/1 with just one victory needed to advance to the semi-finals. Unfortunately, Cranleigh proved too strong as they beat our mighty 4th pair and then our 5th pair to secure a 3/2 victory. Brighton had acquitted themselves admirably but just came up short. It was however a marvellous campaign and our team had become the talk of the competition. In keeping with the  wonderful spirit of the event congratulations for our exploits have flown in from many schools and OB’s.

Eton were the eventual champions.

Dare we say it, but we have done Brighton College proud!!

Written by Julian Hunt (Du. 1984-87)

The Old Brightonian Golf Society Team included: 

Julian Hunt (Du. 1984-87), Bailey Carter (Le. 2010-17), Mark Budd (Du. 2004-09),  Andy Sweet (Du. 1986-91), Riaz Rattansi (Ch. 1985-90), Dylon Christie (Du. 2005-10), Roland Ainsworth (Du. 1992-97), Ben Roberts (Al. 2009-11), Elliot Cloy (Al. 2002-05), Patrick Spencer (Ry. 1994-99). With Christopher Gates (Ry. 1985-90) as non-playing Captain. 


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