The reformed Golf Society had its first outing at The 9 Hole Par 3 course at Vincents on Sunday 10th May 2010.
There was a slightly disappointing number of participants (combatants!) but 5 ‘players’ took to the first tee in good weather and armed with a variety of clubs although their use would suggest that ‘implements’ is a more appropriate word for some of the players to use.
Altho’ a short course there were a number of hazards to be avoided including trees, water and ducks and only the ducks remained untroubled in the event.
The first round was deemed to be practice clearly needed by all except Bob Greaves. Mike Barrett was pleased that he had taken more balls than clubs and at least spent no time looking for lost balls as his 3 lost balls all disappeared into the depths of the streams. Eddie used his practice to make up some rules of his own but an hour later we three together with Rob and Peter W set off in two groups for the serious stuff having all agreed (we thought ) on the precise set of rules to apply. There was such laxity in their application however that Bob clearly the best golfer amongst us (proved by being able to hit the ball every time he swung his club) was sure that if he could operate in the same way at the chess board he’d be club champion without any difficulty.
After another hour and a half and using a Stapleford equation to decide there were joint leaders in Bob and Rob and a sudden death play off was started. It was Bob who succumbed by way of a heart attack at the first hole when Rob chipped in from in the rough and at least 15 yards away from a very small hole.
The morning was enjoyed thoroughly by all and it was agreed that it should become a regular outing and more members ‘persuaded’ to join in. The winner would then be able to receive a decent bottle of wine rather than the ‘plonk’ so ably won by Rob.
Following the re-introduction of the Christmas Social, Mike Barrett has kindly submitted the following summary of former activities of one of the sections. Submission of similar articles or news of any kind is always welcomed.
The cycling section of the chess club began in the early nineties, following the example of our chairman André, a keen cyclist since youth (a very long time!). The sight of him on a bike, especially from behind, with little legs pumping led several other members to take to their wheels. They felt that they could look no worse, and that increased physical fitness would lead to an increase in mental fitness and therefore better chess!
Tommy Carberry, Dave Evans, Rob Haseman, Duncan McNab and Graeme Neil, joined a little later by Mike Barrett took off with André, to explore the highways and byways of West Lancs but with an emphasis on off-road tracks emanating from canal towpaths and the Cheshire Lines.
Tommy took it upon himself to be leader of these Sunday morning excursions, on the basis that he had the only Ordnance Survey Map, and thought that, at all times, he knew where he was going and therefore had a distinct advantage over his companions. This normally involved exploring every farm and cart track he could find, especially if there was a ‘Private’ sign visible. He was a very good leader, subject only to; i) a tendency to race ahead on a road to challenge any ‘proper’ racing cyclist on ‘thinnies’ and ii) colourful language for a Sunday, when often reminded (by Mike) that Mike had promised his wife Tricia to be home for lunch at 1 o’clock!
The quality of cycling was, as their chess, subject to accidents, so that before too long André and Duncan had both plunged into the canal, although only André would disappear under the surface! Several of us took corners too fast and came off and Mike did a perfect swallow dive into a field of sprouts! All accidents were better regarded if seen by everyone and so, if happening to a rear marker, there were normally calls for an instant replay. Graeme was a very enthusiastic youngster (who appears in a photo on the board at Ravenmeols ) and considered himself fit . He it was, when told of the effort required to cycle up Clieves Hill took off at great speed, only to collapse at the top, and require medical treatment; thereafter causing the road to be known as ’Graeme’s Hill’. He subsequently went off to university and is now a solicitor still playing some chess.
We ventured further afield doing trips of up to 40 miles and rode in the annual Liverpool to Chester ride, a trip of over 50 miles (up to 70 when we also rode home to Formby), with over 1000 others. The pain of going through the Birkenhead tunnel and wondering if there was to be a final bend was lightened when the sun shone, and it was always invigorating to follow a lycra clad backside, usually female, through the Wirral countryside. It was on these rides that we met Dave Williams, then playing chess for the Royal, who showed that he would settle in well with the Formby crowd, by one year falling off and breaking his wrist!
Another club member should be mentioned: Ben Shorter, he had come up to Formby when tragically widowed in his twenties. He joined the club, playing for both Merseyside and Wirral League teams. although himself subject to bouts of ill health which ultimately proved fatal. Ben was a keen cyclist, but unfortunately his one vice was cigarettes. Having tried to persuade him that smoking and cycling were incompatible, he eventually agreed, and after cycling for a short time, continued smoking and gave up cycling!
We also expanded horizons with annual weekend rides organised by Tommy. The first of these involved a trip to Leeds, in the back of a lorry arranged by Rob, and cycling to Formby along the Leeds -Liverpool canal. The highlight being an overnight stop in a commercial travellers pub in Darwen and a landlady, trying to pull other than pints, followed by a rowdy meal in the local Indian restaurant. The next year, in awful weather, we did the reverse trip and Rob had the required accident, which was more serious than first thought, landing him in hospital for a time and putting paid to his ‘serious’ cycling.
Not everyone was able to do the weekend rides, so some missed the Humber to Runcorn bridges ride and Duncan’s wild navigation (twice around Barnsley?!)
The attempt by Tommy and Dave to cycle from the Scottish border to Formby, included a stretch of the Lancaster Canal, where they discovered that some toerag, possibly Allan Worthington in a previous existence, had blocked the canal and towpath completely with the M6; thereby necessitating a major retracing of steps!
A similar problem arose on the ride from Wolverhampton to Formby, via the North Shropshire canal route; when, in the middle of nowhere, the towpath disappeared and we had to ride through fields and gaps found in hedges to find a road. It was also on this ride that Tommy discovered that Mike does not like heights; therefore, being stopped at the top of the Runcorn Bridge to admire the view, when the cycle track is outside the roadway, brought forth screams of great intensity!
The ride around the Lochs near Callendar was uneventful. By the time of the Coast to Coast ride from Whitehaven to Sunderland, the old stalwarts André, Rob and Duncan (who preferred the game of bridge) had ‘retired’. They had been replaced by new non-chess playing friends met during our rides, including Julia, the then wife of Paul Sutton. To the club’s good fortune, having been introduced to us, Paul renewed his interest in chess. Tommy not being 100% physically fit, at the time, drove the support van on the way through the Lake district and across the Pennines. Unfortunately, Mike was suffering dental problems and as a consequence had neither top nor bottom sets of dentures in for the duration. This absence enabled Tommy, on the first night, to persuade the guest house proprietress, quite seriously, to believe that Tricia had confiscated the dentures, to ensure that her husband was unlikely to get into trouble with any female during the weekend. It must be said also that both Whitehaven and Sunderland with the Stadium of Light and the river Wear are more picturesque than I imagined.
2004 saw the last of the full weekend rides, although smaller distance rides and the Chester run continued. On the trip, from Holyhead to Cardiff- the ‘Llon Llas Cymru’, Tommy was fighting fit, Mike had ‘both sets’ in, whilst the support van was driven by Tommy’s friend ‘Fireman Bill’. This was a very good weekend, with Bill able to park right by Valley RAF and watch jets going a lot faster than us. Numerous forestry tracks, made for a stern challenge for the more adventurous of the group, whilst others kept to the road for these stages. After the thought provoking path through Aberfan, the final stretch, along the river next to the Millennium stadium and a finish in the new Cardiff Bay development, was very satisfying.
There is still some gentle riding for anyone who wishes, and watches for the sunny and mainly windless days.
I have taken the liberty of altering sections of this for clarity, so must share the blame for any inaccuracies, although all of the praise for content goes to Mike. PW webmaster
Anon has read the article and asked me to pass on a couple of items about Tommy's prowess.
'Altho' fearless and safe when going along tracks and up and down steep slopes Tommy did have one problem with a 'normal' road. He showed his fallibility when falling off going over a 'sleeping policeman' in Montague Road much to everyone else’s amusement. He and the other cyclists also had to take great care about 'her indoors' the lovely Jill. Whilst Tommy and co were due to meet at a particular early time on a Sunday morning Jill is a person who likes her lie in on that day. Woe betide anyone who phoned or called for her husband and disturbed her.'