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Bell Cup Journey 2021

And so, each year (Royal) Harwood takes part in the Bell Cup and this year was no exception. This prestigious golf competition is open to all clubs within a 20 mile radius of Manchester Town Hall having begun in 1911. In 2021 over 80 teams took part. I am not going to tell you about the archaic rules attached to the competition but needless to say it gives me palpitations every time we have a match. This report is being written as we have just been knocked out by Mere, having got through to the last 16…so close girls!

The Team of seven picks itself in that you must play your seven lowest available handicappers available. The handicap limit is also 26 so any player with a handicap above this must play off this (adjusted, of course, for playing handicap). This, essentially, restricts the squad to nine or ten, given the injury/holiday situation at any one time at Harwood.

Not for the first time HGC was picked to play in the preliminary round (particularly fun this year as many lockdown restrictions were in place). We narrowly (4-3) beat Westhoughton away. Magnificent performances all round and when Anne Oakes was the last match out on the course with the score 3-3 in the club house the result was never in doubt.

Fortunately, we then had a home draw against a strong Wilpshire team. One of their players felt particularly vulnerable coming to a Bolton based club (I declined to mention that she was from a Blackburn with Darwen based club with fairly similar covid rates at the time). Genuinely, lovely golfers with all matches played in the best spirit. I was under strict instructions to bring in the field when a result was declared so managed to get in some extra steps when running over to the 15th (yes, as far away as you can get from the clubhouse) to bring in Jan Southern (who it is worth pointing out was up in her match).

We got another home draw in the second round proper. This was against Fairfield Sailing and Golf Club- who knew that they could be combined! Strong performances from all the team so us run out 6- 1 winners. Excellent teas were provided so, all in all, a good day.

So this is where it starts to get serious. In the 3rd round we were drawn away to Mere. Two of our team managed to fit in a practice round (which was complimentary). This is useful because it costs c.£75.00 per person per round…the equivalent of £300.00 for a 4-ball plus buggy hire. Also, a glass of wine set you back £12.50 (think on when you critise our bar prices)! This did help but given the quick turn round of matches, it was not possible for everyone to take advantage.

I am so proud of all our team and trolley pullers (not caddies – I did mention above about the archaic rules). Each person played their part in a memorable afternoon. We lost 5- 2 with one match lost on the 18th. A close run thing but home advantage and the searing heat had its effect.

Thank you to the team and trolley pullers/supporters. Special shout out (not in any particular order) to:

Jenny Murphy, Amelia Taylor, Rita Towler, Judith Simms, Eileen Beeney, Anne Oakes, Jan Southern, Vicky Boyes, Marion Anderson, Sylvia Graham, Janet Ayres and Maureen Shurrock and, of course, to the rest of the club for all their good wishes.

Onwards and upwards girls… you were and still are awesome.

Team Captain 2021: Clare MacLeod

(Picture shows post-match teas after the home match against Fairfield)

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