I found this unfinished article in my old Draft Documents Folder and decided to submit it, after adding a few changes here and there, as dictated by my failing memory.
It came as something of a shock when I began to realise that my competitive football and cricketing days were just about numbered and that I would only have golf left to keep me sane. I think I must have been pushing 40 tears of age when I travelled to Northampton with the local works cricket team on a warm, sultry Saturday afternoon where our opponents, whoever they were, soon racked up quite a score. I was brought on as a change bowler but was clobbered pretty badly by their middle order batsmen and was soon replaced. When we finally went out to bat, the weather worsened, and there was a rumble of thunder in the distance. I went in at number four and faced a young fast bowler who was out of the Fred Trueman mould. The light was not too bad but I never moved or even saw his first ball! The next one grazed my left ear and the third uprooted my off stump. It was then that I realised the show was over as my reactions were now way too slow for this standard of cricket.
I fared no better the following winter after I was drafted into the local works football team as I had a real stinker of a game in the opening fixture. I thought at first that maybe I might be a little ring rusty but things did not improve so I jumped before being pushed. The only good thing that came out of all this was my golf handicap soon came down from 18 to 16 ! ( I did not intend to relate golf stories when I started this article but one. in particular, stands out!)
It would be about the time of the 1986 Captains Day Pairs Open invitation and I was drawn to play with some character from another club. We teed off at 9. 30 am and all seemed well at first but then he opened his golf bag and took out a couple of miniature bottles of what appeared to be whisky and downed one after another. He did the same at every successive hole and naturally his game soon went to pieces. We were continually either looking for a lost ball of having to let the following pairs play through while he stumbled about in the rough cursing and swearing. Somehow we completed the ninth hole and stopped off at the Hospitality Tent where I had a lemonade and my partner had some beer and several more miniatures, It soon became obvious that he was in no condition to play on and I therefore had to withdraw. The Club Captain was very sympathetic but there was no alternative – it was a pairs competition and rules were rules!
I never bothered to find out who this bloke was, what happened to him or where he came from as I was so pissed off with the whole affair, particularly as I had played those first 9 holes in 3 under par!