On Tuesday, September 4th at Ealing Golf Club the two teams from Dyrham Park and Mill Hill teed off to decide the destiny of this year’s Felmingham Trophy. With the stakes high, brand new golf balls were all in abundance on the first tee! The contest was expected to be close with both teams playing each other in Seniors’ matches on a home and away basis each year, with very even results. Both teams also held past Felmingham form with Mill Hill winning in 1996 and Dyrham Park in 2012 and 2013.
In the event it was Dyrham Park who emerged as the stronger team on the day with an 8 points to 1 victory. However 4 of these wins came on the 18th or 19th holes which suggest a number of keenly fought matches which did not go the way of Mill Hill. Speaking to Jon Prichard, Mill Hill’s playing Captain after the match he was very gracious in defeat. He acknowledged how well Dyham Park had played and offered no excuses other than the failure of his players to master the speed of the greens early on, leaving too much ground to make up in later holes. Jon paid tribute to his team for getting to the final this year after a number of early exits in previous years.
Adrian Freeman, the non-playing captain of Dyrham Park decided not to play himself this year despite playing in the victorious teams of 2012 and 2013. He said he preferred clutching his clip board and acting as an encouraging (or perhaps threatening) presence when walking around the course!
Adrian commented on how the matches were played in a very good spirit which John Felmingham, the founder of the competition, would have warmly applauded. The winning margin came as a surprise and he admitted afterwards in the clubhouse that he had prepared a 5-4 losing speech. When asked to explain Dyrham’s continued success in the competition he recommended simply selecting a group of good match players without any prima donnas! Is this the winning formula? Other Felmingham teams take note!
The day closed with a meal in Ealing’s dining room and brief speeches by both Captains. Tributes were paid to the condition of the course, the quality of the food, the sporting atmosphere in which the matches were played and to the work of the Felmingham Committee during the year. Les Wiltshire, Ealing’s President,thanked Jon and Adrian for their comments before presenting the trophy to the winning team.
The Felmingham Committee look forward to the 2019 competition. With Dyrham Park reaching the final in 4 of the last 7 years, Ealing is fast becoming their home course and people are asking whether future finalists against them should be receiving extra shots!! Do we need a rule change to halt the Dyrham juggernaut???