The Final was held at The Dyke Golf Club, with Golf At Goodwood putting up a good fight but were defeated 9-3 on the day.
The teams assembled on a bright a breezy morning at the top of the South Downs National Park. It was certainly an inspiring outlook although their focus was no doubt on the morning foursomes and afternoon singles sessions.
Brian Arnell and Charlie Parsons had probably one of the toughest games of the year facing former England International Mark Hilton and former Sussex county regular Matt Hart. Although the score line was a 5&3 loss, the defeat didn't do their efforts justice.
Stuart Gillett and Chris Kerr played well in parts, and birdied two of the first three holes against Tom Foreman and Oli Hayes but a bad run around the turn meant they were unable to recover, eventually losing on the sixteenth green 4&2.
Marco Penge and Matt Lavington put in a fine performance against Dean Plant and Rob Hampson. Goodwood's leading player put on a clinic of chipping and putting. Lavington showed his consistency once again hitting fairways and greens allowing Marco to shine where necessary, and despite a late stumble during some horrific weather late on the back nine, closed out their match on the final green winning one up, a great result against two very strong East Sussex National players. Match score now 2-1 to our opponents.
Marco Penge had delayed turning professional by a few days in order to represent Golf at Goodwood one last time before joining the professional ranks. Good luck to Marco for the future, we are all behind you!
Nick Tull and Dave Porter decided to play at pairing four in the morning with a view to securing a much needed point and after a poor start were cruising along turning at four up after Tull had holed a monster putt. Tull’s putter was hot all morning and this was just one of a number of mid to long range putts he holed ably supported and set-up by his trusty partner Porter.
After losing the first two holes of the back nine to birdies, they then found themselves dormie four up, then dormie two up. A loss at seventeen meant their game was taken up the last hole where a very poor second shot from Tull in to a howling wind, left the course and also went their chances of levelling the tie at lunchtime.
The final score after the morning foursomes was 2 ½ –1 ½ in East Sussex Nationals favour, meaning a huge mountain to climb in golfing terms was the afternoon task ahead set for Goodwood.
The afternoons singles matches were contested in a four club southerly prevailing wind which wreaked havoc with all the player's games. It is fair to say East Sussex National won the overall match between holes seven through to 12 during the afternoon session. With all but one Goodwood player being either all square or up in their match after seven holes, this converted to all matches being in East Sussex National’s favour after the twelfth hole. Only Marco Penge won his match outright meaning the young rising star finished his amateur career with two from two points, and can be very proud of his performance and contribution to the Goodwood effort.
East Sussex National won 9-3 overall to win the 2017 Oliver's Trophy.
Grit, years of combined experience, determination, and a couple of near misses over the last decade has helped strengthen ESN’s teams resolve and they ran out very worthy winners on the day. Golf At Goodwood Scratch Team captain Tull said, "On behalf of the squad I would like to express our enormous gratitude to all those fellow members, friends and family for coming to support the team this season, these matches are long days, often far away and the support for our first full years campaign back in the competition has been incredible. Thanks also to our Honorary president Eddie Bullock who came to every match as well, great support Eddie thank you!
"Well done to all who played for the team this year, its been an absolute pleasure to captain the side and manage the fixtures. The feeling of winning as a team far exceeds any individual win and to do it four times with three wins coming away from home has made all the effort worthwhile, just imagine what could be achieved if Goodwood received a run of three or four home draws!
"If the same level of motivation and commitment is demonstrated in the coming years I’m sure Goodwood can go one better and lift this trophy."
Goodwood scratch team squad: Nick Tull (c), David Porter, Stuart Gillett, Chris Kerr, Brian Arnell, Charlie Parsons, Matt Lavington, Marco Penge, Leonardo Ruggieri, Simon Jardine, Paul Hazel, Paul Millard.