If you thought June was a busy month then that was just the warm up act for July! We have a busy fixture list including 5 matches not counting the 2 man league!
We begin the month on 4 July with a challenging home match on home turf in the Wakefield Rabbits Graham Wood Trophy Quarter Final. Wath are a strong side (fielding two teams in the Lancaster Trophy coming 2nd and 5th) but we have home advantage and maybe the spirit of Annabelle Hadfield on our side!
The bulk of our fixtures for July is the Heavy Woolen League. We'll be playing Temple Newsam both home and away plus Low Laithes. Good results from these should see our efforts starting to pay off and edge us closer to the second place promotion slot.
But wait . . . there's more! 3 Rabbits will also play Calverley GC in the Leeds and District Team Championship and, as an added bonus, we play the third and final leg of the Reynolds O'Donnell Trophy. Can Normanton Rabbits complete the 'great escape' by holding 1st place in the third and final leg of the Reynolds O'Donnell Trophy? You decide.
Lots of golf, lots of fun and hopefully lots of celebrations to come.
Sadly we could only field one team this year in the Wakefield & District Lancaster Trophy held at Low Laithes but the team did us proud albeit unable to secure the trophy. Scott Aitken, Steve Moorhouse, Simon Waite and Andrew Weighll took on the challenge of Low Laithes Golf Course well known for its banked fairways and fast greens.
It was hard work for our guys struggling against a Dallas breeze and concrete greens (let alone the aprons). Landing the ball over 90 yards short still meant Simon's approach shot sailed through the green forcing a chip back to the pin.
Nonetheless, our Fantastic Four were able to secure an aggregate 126 points securing them 7th place (on a count back with Wath GC). That's some going in tough conditions at Low Laithes. Well done lads.
The Rabbits & Tigers Open Day is always the pinnacle of the season for us. It's a great time to show off our course often at its best and the event has attracted players from far and wide over the years. This year was extra special with the event including, for the first time, three lady players in Julie Stead, Maggi Hay and Alena Whitehead. Two of the ladies secured prize winning status with Alena taking the nearest the line prize while Maggi Hay (with playing and life partner Andy Hay) tied at third place.
Thank you Julie, Maggi, Alena for supporting our event and congratulations to Maggi and Alena.
A huge thank you goes to Emlyn Pickup, Simon Waite, Andrew McNaught, Paul Beckett, Ray Willis, Stephen P Barlow and Andrew Campbell for making the trip to Gotts Park and keeping us in the running in the Heavy Woolen League. Personal thanks from me to Andrew Campbell for taking a half day holiday and travelling further than most which contributed to us fielding a team.
It was a tough match on a course that clearly favoured the home side with blind shots off tees and troublesome greens clearly the better for knowing by the Gotts Park team. Home advantage or not, it didn't all go Gotts Park way with Emlyn and Chris seizing a win while Paul and Andrew McNaught halved their match as did Ray and Stephen. Another 4 points in the bag (every little helps) in tough circumstances so thanks to all who played.
We still have to play Gotts Park at home and while we don't have blind tee boxes we do have all the other attributes of our course to aid us in the home draw due at the beginning of August.
Following a lull in league fixtures we returned to Heavy Woolen League fixtures starting with an away match at Whitwood. Our friends at Whitwood were keen to balance out the loss they suffered when the played us on our home turf and certainly made every effort to do so.
It's often said that Rabbits can't draw the ball but Vice Captain, Andrew Parkinson, proved that theory wrong and steered us to a safe 4 all draw securing 8 valuable points adding to our tally that will help greatly in our promotion push.
Listen carefully and you may hear on the wind the sound of whistling to the theme of the The Great Escape. Our Rabbits Team can stand tall after the 2nd of 3 legs in the Reynolds O'Donnell trophy.
Normanton didn't fair well in the first leg at Darrington falling to a third place with a 72 points deficit on the leader Darrington. While we knew we had home advantage in the 2nd leg and we went into the match buoyant and determined I don't think any of us would have dreamed of the outcome of the 2nd leg.
In a points based match Normanton turned around the complexion of the tournament. Rabbits Stephen Whalen, Adrian Tattersley and Emlyn Pickup notched up 51, 50 and 49 points respectively. All other matches generated high respectable scores but it wasn't until the last card came in and the points were counted that we realised what had been achieved.
Normanton scored a huge 336 points (which even exceeded Darrington's high score of the first leg - 318 points). Pontefract came second on the day with 271 points and 1st leg leaders, Darrington, took 257 points. The outcome is that Normanton now lead the tournament with 582 points - 7 points in front of Darrington and 11 points ahead of 3rd place Pontefract. Anyone can win this tournament when the third leg is played at Pontefract on 20 July!
I am super proud of each and every one of the Rabbits who played in both legs not just this one. You kept your heads held high and approached the challenge with the same professionalism we see in the Ryder Cup. A heart felt thanks to you all.
(Pictured are 2 trophies for the Reynolds O'Donnell - long story! I guess we can call one the Reynolds and the other the O'Donnell!)
How the season flies when you are having fun. Here we are at the end of May marking one third of the way through our season. There have been some highs already and I'm sure we have plenty to come. Unfortunately, our roles in the Fowler and Taylor Trophy competitions have come to an end but we gave it a bash and we shouldn't be disappointed. We are still in the Graham Wood tournament having won through to the Quarter Finals with only Wath Rabbits standing between us and the semi finals. That will be a challenging match but with fair weather and the home advantage we view the position positively.
Let's not forget we have one trophy in the bag - the Scarthingwell Rocks Decanter. That was a closely fought match over 2 legs and the excitement added to the fun (I think retaining the trophy also played a 'small' part)!
I must apologise that I have not kept up publicity on the Notice Board. Unfortunately, every day life has got in the way of that but I will do my best to rejuvenate it going forward.
'Flaming June' and a dry course is now stretched out before us. While we don't have a full month we nonetheless have plenty of matches to play so rest when you can and be ready to drive off in the Reynolds O'Donnell 2nd leg, 2 man league, Tom Howard Trophy Heavy Woolen League, Thornton Trophy and the Lancaster Trophy. Plenty of golf to come and plenty of opportunity to ask the Club Committee for a bigger trophy cabinet!
Normanton hosted the 2nd leg of the Rocks Decanter and though we had the home advantage we had to come from a first leg deficit of 3 - 2. Scarthingwell are an accomplished set of players so this was no 'dead cert'. The match proved to be one of the most exciting finishes to this tournament.
Vice Captain Andrew Parkinson lead the team on the day and, partnered by founder Henry Rocks, battled through to a 1 up victory on the 18th. Andrew Campbell and Chris Box faired well with a 5&4 victory putting Normanton Rabbits 1 ahead in the match aggregate. Steve Moorhouse and Ray Willis then had a tough match on their hands which was also settled on the 18th but that went to Scarthingwell making the 2 leg match all square again. Chris Parker and Emlyn Pickup then tipped the balance back in favour of Normanton with a 1 up victory on the 18th. It was left to Glyn Edwards and Gary Wilcock to clinch the decanter with a 2 and 1 victory.
I'm really proud of each and every one of our Rabbits who held their nerve in such a closely fought match and hats off to Vice Captain Andrew in leading the team to victory.
It's matches like these that make Rabbits Golf! Good competitive golf, friendship between all players and exciting finishes. Commiserations must be paid to our fitting competitors and friends from Scarthingwell. Here's looking forward to 2024.
Low Laithes hosted the Wakefield District Rabbits President's Trophy this year with 2 teams from Normanton fairing well.
Emlyn Pickup and new Rabbit Andrew Campbell knotted up a very respectable 38 points while Vice Captain Andrew Parkinson teamed up with Scott Aitken to claim a head turning 42 points. Sadly, such was the quality on the day that Emlyn and Andrew's score meant a 15th joint place while Andrew and Scott's score earned them a 5th place finish.
Both scores are commendable especially given the nature of the Low Laithes course. Well done and thank you guys - that's a huge representation for the Normanton Rabbits.
It was thanks to Paul Beckett and Andrew Parkinson that our players mostly avoided the A1 roadworks and arrived largely on time for this first of three legs tournament played at Darrington Golf Club. Texts flew making Paul and Andrew the envy of the AA Road Reports!
However, it was Darrington who took full advantage of their home leg to assert a strong position by winning 4 and halving 1 of the eight matches. That said its points that count in this tournament with 6 points to be divided between the Clubs on each hole. The outcome was disappointing for Normanton. Darrington seized a healthy aggregate of 318 points with Pontefract capturing 300 points. Normanton battled valiantly to a 3rd place finish with 246 points.
All is not lost with the 2nd leg being held at Normanton on 1 June. We've seen some great escapes in sport in recent weeks - can Normanton be the next to turn this tournament around with home advantage. Time will tell.
New friends were made of Silkstone Golf Club when 6 of their finest Rabbits visited Normanton for the first round of the Wakefield District Rabbits Graham Wood Trophy. Three pairs from each club engaged in matchplay golf when the weather was, finally, kind to one and all. Normanton's name is on this Trophy so there is some honour to play for.
I'm pleased to report that Normanton (represented by Adrian Tattersley and Richard Poynton, Andrew Parkinson and Steve Gomersall plus Glynn Edwards and Gary Wilcock) won through to the quarter finals and with another home draw awaiting us spirits are high. We are currently waiting to hear if we will be playing Wath or Pontefract in the next round.
Special mention must go to Richard Poynton who played with Adrian Tattersley. Adrian had Richard in stitches throughout the round and Richard held himself together. Both are literal statements with Richard playing soon after an operation. Richard as ever remains modest about his performance - you might say the cat gut his tongue!
Some years ago former member, Henry Rocks, created the Rocks Decanter Fixture - a 2 leg contest between Scarthingwell and Normanton for 10 Rabbits per side played both home and away - with an exquisite cut glass decanter as the prize (and a wee tot of Bushmill's). This year the opening leg was played away at Scarthingwell Golf Club (close to Tadcaster). The 6,631 yard, par 72 course has become well established since its opening in 1990 and provides a fair test for golfers of all abilities.
The afternoon got off to an uncertain start with rain pouring down. It wasn’t the rain that caused uncertainty but the forecasted thunderstorms - both the Scarthingwell Captain (Bobby Collins) and I had to consider carefully the safety of our players. As it happened the clouds broke play began and not a drop of rain fell during the match. Although the result was a 3 & 2 win to Scarthingwell (every match being a close result with one match being taken to the 18th which we lost sadly) that is as good as a draw away from home and leaves the fixture finely poised with the home leg to be played later this month (25 May).
The true winner of the day was the absolute fun and friendship everyone enjoyed. Our deep thanks and gratitude goes to founder Henry Rocks for this fixture and the friendship it generates.
Pictured left to right is Bobby Collins (Capt, Scarthingwell Rabbits), Henry Rocks (Founder), yours truly and Past Scarthingwell Rabbits Secretary, Harvey Walker.
The league got off to a start with Andrew and Scott entertaining players from Garforth at home on Friday, 5 May. Boy, what a match that was. Our guys were both up and down but kept cool heads and took the match to the 18th. With some careful play and super strategy Andrew and Scott held off a strong push by Garforth seeking a win and the match was ultimately halved leaving a finely poised position for the return match at Garforth.
It was new Rabbits Andrew Campbell and Brian Phiri who took the Normanton Flag to Garforth the following week (Friday, 12 May). Not only are they new to the Section but I am not sure either had ever played at Garforth before this match (I could be mistaken). That didn’t matter - our two Rabbits Templar played valiantly and won out with 3 & 1 victory.
Well done to all four of you and a huge thanks and well done to Steve Moorhouse for organising our matches in this league.
Friday the 5th was not what you might call a 'dry day'. Armed with nothing more than 4 water wedges, two arks and a pair of water wings damp duo Adrian Tattersley and Andrew McNaught set out on their second round of the Yorkshire Rabbits Fowler Trophy. The rains came and went then came back again and the odd clap of thunder even made a loud call. Undaunted Adrian and Andrew held their own against Baildon duo Martin Patchett and Shaun McCabe (pictured with Adrian and Andrew). The weather clearly favoured them, as Martin and Shaun battled into a 4 hole lead by the 11th but 'the hill' was yet to come. First one hole, then another, the damp duo fought back. It came down to the 17th when Adrian holed a long putt . . . but it was not to be. Martin and Shaun putted close to the hole, enough to make conceding the hole the honourable thing to do leaving Adrian and Andrew falling to a 2 & 1 defeat. It also means Adrian loses his 'bragging rights' claiming to be unbeaten in the Fowler Trophy for 12 years (having reached the semi final then not having played again until 2023)!
We wish Martin and Shaun every success as they go on to face Howley Hall Golf Club in the next round.
The annual Star Wars day saw Jedi Knights from Normanton meet Whitwood Stormtroopers in the Heavy Woolen League. The Normanton Jedi were keen to achieve a win in their promotion battle to the first division. Kitted out with Landspeeders and Golf Sabres the Normanton Jedi matched Whitwood Stormtoopers' Speeder Bikes and Cloud Cars. The score belies the effort put in to achieve a win. Two wins (6 & 5 plus 5 & 4) were quickly responded to with a 5 & 3 loss. It all came down to the last game completed in darkness and rain. Whitwood were battling back from being 5 down at the three quarter stage but Jedi Supremos, Chris Box and Andrew Campbell, held out for nail biting 2 & 1 win giving Normanton a 3 & 1 win on the day. The League has yet to be published but rumour has it Normanton Rabbits lie in 2nd place behind Whitwood.
Past and Current Captains, Steve Moorhouse and Adrian Tattersley, turned out for the Taylor Trophy Match at home on Tuesday, 2 May. The fixture was against club friends, Alan Pirrie and Derek Smith (pictured between Adrian and Steve), from Wike Ridge. While the weather was fine the temperature left a lot to be desired with warm blooded Adrian still frozen with 3 layers. Adrian did a fine impression of the Michelin Man but not so much an impression of any known golfer! Steve had been off the course for the past six months resting due to injury and, by his own words, rested also for a further 14 holes! Steve and Adrian did their best to fight back from 4 down at 10th and took the 11th hole to begin a late fightback. Going down the 15th Steve asked Adrian if he could reach the green with his 3 wood but Adrian misheard Steve actually saying '3 woods'. Sadly, our intrepid heroes fell at the 15th green to a 5 & 3 defeat.
As ever the match was played in good spirit and we wish Alan and Derek all the best in the tournament them next facing Whitwood at Whitwood.
(All comments vetted by Steve beforehand!)
We've a busy May ahead with 4 match fixtures and 4 cup fixtures. Here's wishing every Rabbit a 'marvellous May' and good luck to those in the cup fixtures (Yorkshire Rabbits Fowler Trophy, Leeds & District Taylor Trophy and Wakefield Regional Rabbits Presidents Cup).
Today saw Doug Wilkinson and Ray Willis continue their Fowler Trophy (B Section Draw) journey with a trip to The Manor Golf Club at Drighlington. The Manor is home to an exquisitely maintained but challenging 18-hole Championship golf course surrounded by tree-lined fairways and woodland which drops away with stunning views over Tong and the Cockersdale Valley. The home side soon galloped into a two hole lead but Doug and Ray fought back to level the match early on. The back nine favoured the home side with glass-like greens enabling the Manor to race ahead into a 4 hole lead with 5 holes to play.
But it didn't go the way the Manor expected with Doug and Ray fighting back strongly. However, our guys unfortunately ran out of holes suffering a 2 and 1 defeat!
Personally, I think our guys deserve a pat on the back. To maintain a winning resolve hole after hole towards the end of the round is awesome. Had the game been over 21 holes there is no doubt in my mind Doug and Ray could have won. Notwithstanding the outcome another friendly game worthy of being a Rabbits match.
Congratulations to The Manor. Normanton Rabbits wish you well in the tournament.
Hot on the heals of the Heavy Woolen League result, Normanton Rabbits showed their resolve when hosting the friendly LIV Cavum three way match. This fixture is played with Club friends Bedale and Wike Ridge Golf Clubs and is always a happy event. The match is different from most we play in that each of the eight players play as a single in a 3-ball with 4 points per hole being awarded to the hole winner and the balance 2 points going either to an outright 2nd place or shared where the second and third players halve the hole. Normanton Rabbits secured the win with a combined total of 319 points while Wike Ridge came second on 283 points. Commiserations to Bedale in bringing up the rear with 262 points.
BUT WAIT - THAT'S NOT ALL! Huge congratulations goes to Normanton's Steve Whalen who set the pace with an ace on the 10th. Yep, that's a hole in one for our new Rabbit. Well done Steve - that'll be two lumps of ice in mine please!
Our first away match in the Heavy Woolen League provided an upset with City of Wakefield taking all honours. Despite valiant efforts Lupset played the home advantage to the full and took all 8 points by inflicting a 4 - 0 defeat. That said we take away from this match experience that will assist as we go forward in the League and the season.
As ever, the match was played in good friendly spirits as usually becoming of Rabbits matches followed by a tasty buffet meal.
Well done City of Wakefield - a truly well deserved victory. Sets up the banter nicely for the return leg in August!
Well done to Sherpas Will (namely Doug Wilkinson and Ray Willis) for winning through to the next round of the Fowler Cup Section B at the hillside course of Ryburn Golf Club, Sowerby Bridge. Despite Steve Gomersall being up for the match after playing a sneaky 3 holes the week before, Steve unfortunately suffered an injury keeping out of the match on the day (seriously, get well soon Steve). Ray Willis drove well on the day and synchronised nicely with Doug Wilkinson. It was a tough match though with Tim and Nick Copley of Ryburn taking the match through to the 17th where a sublime approach shot from Doug Wilkinson to within inches of the pin. Tim and Nick needed to hole a long putt to stay in the game but didn't make it leading to them graciously conceding the match giving Doug and Ray a 3 & 1 victory.
Another match played in the super good spirit of Rabbits Golf.
Doug and Ray go on to meet The Manor (away) sometime before 9 May. Good luck Chaps, we are all super stoked for you and are cheering you on for the next round.
Despite the weather 14 hardy Rabbits turned out to play the annual Tigers -v- Rabbits Match - 14 drenched Rabbits returned! What a performance they gave with pairs Steve Gomersall and Steve Whelan and Farai Mugwagwa and Rufaro Phiri (he tells me he is referred to as Brian) turning in impressive wins. Chris Parker and new Rabbit Andy Campbell also recorded a very creditable halved match. Sadly (for us) the Tigers turned in three winning cards meaning they retain the prestigious Tigers & Rabbits trophy. Top class performance in bottom class weather conditions. Sets it up nicely for next year - best get polishing that trophy for next year Roy!
The weather was not hot, nor dry, yesterday afternoon (Tuesday 11 April) when 4 expectant golfers turned out to play their Fowler Trophy (Section A) preliminary round. Guests Simon McCabe and Stuart Greenwood from Cleckheaton Golf Club played against Rabbits Captain, Adrian Tattersley and new Club and Section member, Andrew McNaught (pictured in that order). Adrian and Andrew 'galloped' into a 3 hole lead by the 4th hole but it wasn't a one horse race. Simon and Stuart fought back valiantly to cut the lead to just one hole by the 7th. However, 'the hill' won through on the back nine leading to a 5 & 3 win for Normanton. Andrew and Adrian next face players from Baildon in the next round also on home turf.
Friendship was the true winner of the day. Simon and Stuart were great guys and we hope to see them again on our course perhaps at our Rabbits and Tigers 'Open' on 24 June.
Wish us luck as Andrew McNaught (sorry no picture as yet) and myself set out on our Cup venture tomorrow teeing off at 15:00 (Yes, I have checked and it is tomorrow). I've looked at past winners and Normanton's name does not appear. No pressure then!
Hi everyone. I hope you will all join me in wishing the very best of luck to Steve Gomersall and Doug Wilkinson who are representing us in the Yorkshire Rabbits Golf Association Fowler Trophy Section B Qualifying Round at Ryburn Golf Club on Monday 10 April. From what I understand both are in form (Doug even got 2 x 2s on a round last Friday). Here's hoping the weather is better for you chaps than it is in Augusta this weekend.
Update 10 April.
Our intrepid golf mountaineers duly turned up today for their match at Ryburn Golf Golf Club. The outcome is that Steve Gomersall wins the Captain’s award for environmental friendliness by recycling an old diary - the match (that Steve scheduled) is actually due to be played next Monday! At least they got in a sneaky 3 holes practice for the day before the clouds swept over from the dark side of the Pennines. Thanks for showing dedication chaps.
Golf: the only frontier. These are the voyages of the section Normanton Rabbits. Their continuing mission: to explore strange new courses. To seek out new Rabbits and new friendships. To boldly play wherever golf may take us!
As the season begins we look to plot our way through the next 6 months in leagues and in knockout competitions throughout Yorkshire. My blog aims to keep you up to date and provide information about our Rabbits, our successes and our challenges as well as other anecdotal entries. Watch this space to see how the season unfolds before us.
Play well and prosper.