The day dawned bright and relatively calm as Watson’s struck the opening tee-shot of the 2022 Hewitt. However any experienced Hewitteer will be able to confirm that these are often dangerous signs and the weather forecast was promising the delights of a 45 mph breeze later in the day. This forecast proved to be remarkably accurate and conditions in the middle of the day were testing to say the least. Out by the hut at Sandwich froth was being blown from our beer glasses while we watched Dulwich succumb to Gresham’s, and the crumbs from my sausage roll were travelling further than my drives normally do. It was a good thing that the course managers at both clubs, with one eye on the weather, had decided to take as much pace off the greens as they could.
All of this made putting extremely difficult with three-putts being quite common, often following from chips, and it needed a very strong mind not to wilt under the strain. I am sure Taunton won’t mind me saying that the shock result of the day was their win over three-time finalists Ampleforth. I am told that this included a 5-putt at one stage – the final putt holed being easily missable. The result surprised the scorers at Deal so much that it initially went down on the website as an away win, (“Taunton 2 – 3″).
Before we realised that Taunton were going to steal the show, the expected match of the day between Eton and Charterhouse was won by Charterhouse 4 – 1, a result which will send warning signals to the rest of the field about the strength of the Charterhouse side this year.
Otherwise most of the results went as you might expect. Loretto, who have the same team as won in September, despatched Merchant Taylors’ comfortably 4 – 1, Epsom disposed of King’s Canterbury and Malvern beat Canford. The latter result means that Malvern play giant-killers Taunton in the second round today. The two have only met once before and Taunton were victorious – a fact they took great delight in mentioning last night, aided by some cider-induced bravado. We shall see….
Pace of play was abysmal, but under the circumstances when any putt over 10” was a test of character it was only to be expected and no action will be taken.