The late great Gerald Micklem used to say that the key to a successful Hewitt was firstly to get rid off the holders and then to get rid of Eton. Both happened on day two of this year’s Hewitt which contained some significant upsets and ended with one of the finest match-winning shots in the history of the Hewitt.
The day started grey and overcast with a real threat of rain and the biting Easterly wind which has been gnawing away at us constantly all week. In the afternoon the skies cleared and although conditions couldn’t be called balmy, they were certainly more benign than at any previous stage in the week.
There were so many giant-killing acts that it is almost impossible to list them all but I will do my best. First out of the box was Stonyhurst who defeated Merchiston at Deal by 3-2 leaving Harry Thomson (Merchiston) one short of his 100th Hewitt match. Over at Sandwich, Bradfield had a good win against Epsom before the competition really warmed up with Cheltenham beating Eton by 3-2 followed by Malvern defeating the holders, Winchester comfortably 4-1. Whether this was a sign of resurgence from Malvern, we shall see. They have been playing in the Plate for the last few years but under the leadership of Tim Duerr they seem to have been able to recover some of their better players who had drifted away.
Totally exhausted by the drama at Sandwich I went back at the end of the day to Deal looking for a calming recuperative beer. But no! Back at Deal, Charterhouse were playing the 2016 runners-up, Radley. Neither school is a stranger to drama and excitement and at two games all the deciding match, involving the 4th pairs, swung one way and another before Charterhouse escaped with a fine chip shot on the 19th and headed down the 20th where Ryan McKinnia (Charterhouse) resolved the whole issue by holing out from about 200 yards with a 2-iron. My experience of the Hewitt is that matches are more often lost rather than won, but this was a clear example of a match being won with one outstanding shot.
And so the day ended.