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News > Alumni News > Halford Hewitt Cup 2024

Halford Hewitt Cup 2024

5 Jun 2024
Alumni News

This year was a significant milestone for the Halford Hewitt Cup being its centenary celebration year. In January, a centenary dinner was held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London where nearly 800 guests, including present and past players, celebrated in fine fashion. Founded in 1924, the Halford Hewitt Cup is competed for by the old boys of 64 English and Scottish public schools with each fielding 5 foursome pairs, totalling 640 competitors in all, making it the largest amateur golf tournament in the world!

As a further part of the centenary celebrations, the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club looked magnificent with the flags of all 64 competing schools flying on individual flagpoles in front of the clubhouse. A cocktail party in a large marquee by the clubhouse on the eve of the tournament made for a particularly special event this year.

Rossall's team this time was the strongest on paper we have had since last winning the Cup back in 1973! We had Matt Allen playing off a record low handicap for Rossall of +5! Louis Talarczyk, having previously attended the Rossall Golf Academy, was back from the US playing off +4, and Josh Fallows was available this year playing off +1. Other former Golf Academy attendees were Simon Holt and Tom Pace. The above 5 considerably reduced the recent average team member age by some margin! They were joined by Christian Butler, Jimmy Jones, Ronni Schrevel, Noel Muscutt (Captain), Jeremy Smith and big hitting David Tonroe, who had again flown in from Savannah, Georgia! In addition, avid supporters Chris Holt (Chairman of Rossall Governors), OR Geoff Henney with wife, Sue, together with our two resident caddies, Richard Jones and Duncan Tonroe were all part of the Rossall charge!

Our first round encounter was on Friday morning against Merchant Taylors’ at Royal St George’s Golf Club, Sandwich on a fine but windy day. Smith/Tonroe, playing top, were narrowly defeated on the last hole. Games Nos. 2 and 3 redressed the balance (Allen/Holt and Jones/ Pace), both winning for Rossall comfortably making it 2 – 1. At game No. 4 Butler/Talarczyk played well to secure victory on the 17th green earning Rossall a place in the second round. Muscutt/Fallows were ahead at the time but, with the match over, agreed a half as is customary. 

It was then on to a seemingly tougher match that afternoon against Radley. At the front Allen/ Holt lost the first game, but the experienced Tonroe/Smith duo prevailed in game 2 levelling the match. Game 3 in the form of Butler/Talarczyk comfortably provided their second win of the campaign making the score 2-1 to Rossall. In game 4, Muscutt/Fallows were overcome on the 16th green leaving the match even and everything to play for in the final game. The tie rested with Rossall pair, Jones/Pace, who were all square going down the 18th hole. Pace struck a solid but slightly blocked drive to just off the fairway finding a gruesome spot in the rough. Such was the lie, even the raw power of Jimmy Jones could only advance the ball to within some 60 yards of the green. Two fine shots by the opposition saw them on the green but some considerable distance away. Then the youthful but fearless Pace stepped up to play the most magnificent pitch shot perfectly judged to 3 1/2 feet from the hole. Radley took three more to get down, Jones holed the Rossall putt, and we were through!

The third round opponents were the historically strong Malvern. The top pair, Beeson/Timberlake, rarely lose which made the Allen/Holt drubbing of them 6 & 5 all the more impressive with a fine performance. At one point spectator, Chris Holt, exclaimed “They’re on fire” referring to the Rossall pair! Game 2 saw Fallows/Schrevel go down squaring the match. A tight tussle in game 3 saw Butler/Talarczyk  win again, and, with both other games winning on the 17th, Rossall were through to the quarter final. 

The 3rd round match had taken so long that we barely had time for a sandwich before facing our formidable opposition, Eton, at our allotted time of 3:15pm. This quick turnaround may have contributed towards us finding ourselves trailing early overall in the match? At No.1 Allen/Holt eventually lost on the 17th. A tactical change in pairings saw the two youngsters (but mature beyond their years) Fallows/Talarczyk play at game 2 and, to their credit, in a fine contest, they prevailed on the last hole making the match even. Tonroe/Smith lost their game, 2 & 1. At game 4 Muscutt/ Butler had played strongly to get to 3 up with 4 holes to play, but the Eton opposition managed to win 3 out of the last 4 holes, making the game all square after 18, with the time now approaching 8:00pm and dusk looming! As Muscutt/Butler psyched themselves for a 19th sudden death hole in the dark, news came from the game behind that the Rossall pair, Jones/Pace had sadly lost on the 17th, and our run in the Centenary Halford Hewitt was over. 

Eton went on to win this year's event, meaning that Rossall had narrowly lost to the eventual winners in each of the last two years. The strength of our team this year was plain to see and the average age has been considerably lessened by the influx of several former Rossall Golf Academy players! This trend is set to continue and the future surely seems bright. 

Floreat Rossallia! 

Noel Muscutt (MC 1975 - 80)

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