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News > Rossallian Club > Rossall School, Halford Hewitt Campaign 2023

Rossall School, Halford Hewitt Campaign 2023

Rossall School, Halford Hewitt Campaign 2023

Noel Muscutt

The Halford Hewitt Golf Tournament took place between 30th March and 2nd April 2023.

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 competition in the world!  It is played at Royal Cinque Ports (Deal) and Royal St George’s (Sandwich) Golf Clubs.  More details on the Tournament can be found at 

This year the Rossall Team saw the biggest change for quite some time.  The much-revered David Tonroe was unable to make the trip from Savannah, Georgia this year, and also the current Captain of the Oxford University Golf Team and fine golfer, Josh Fallows, was also unavailable for selection.  Both have pledged to return in 2024!  Notwithstanding this, the team were fortunate to have two new young rookies available fresh from Rossall’s Golf Academy in Simon Holt and Tom Pace together with one not so young rookie! and Sussex senior golfer, Ronni Schrevel.  With handicaps of Scratch, 1 and 1 respectively, they were all enthusiastically welcomed.  The Rossall Team this year was as follows…..Matt Allen, Christian Butler, Robert Fox, Simon Holt, Jimmy Jones, Noel Muscutt (Captain), Tom Pace, Nick Roberts, Ronni Schrevel and Jeremy Smith.

The Rossall side were all very grateful yet again this year to our irrepressible supporter and Chairman of Governors at Rossall, Chris Holt, who stayed and dined with the team throughout and eagerly watched all of the matches.  We also had Jimmy Jones’s older brother, and resident caddy, Richard, as part of our squad.  So, the scene was set.

This year we had an incredibly tough, and no one would argue the toughest, first round draw against Scottish rivals, Loretto at Royal St George’s Golf Club.  Loretto had won the whole event for the preceding two years and were a side full of powerful young “bucks”, some of which had not long regained amateur status from the professional ranks.  However, with our 3 new debutants, together with the remaining team possessing a combination of skill, experience and guile, we were confident we could be the “banana skin” to stop Loretto in their strides.

The match commenced early on the Thursday morning in strong winds and inclement weather.  In the first game, Muscutt and Fox made two birdies in the first 7 holes but still found themselves trailing at 2 down.  This trend in this game unfortunately continued, and the top match became Loretto’s first point.  In match two, Matt Allen and new partner, Simon Holt, also found themselves down after six holes, but then played extremely well to level the match at 1-1, with a solid 3 and 2 victory.  The last three matches, over which the encounter would be decided, were all very close affairs all going down the 18th hole.  In match number three, Christian Butler and Nick Roberts played excellently to arrive at one up on the 17th tee. After a somewhat calamitous 17th hole by both sides, the Loretto pair ended up winning it.  The last hole was playing directly into a stiff wind and both hit very good drives but Rossall’s tee shot was very much shorter.  Butler hit an excellent boring three wood to the front edge of the green some 45 feet from the hole. The Loretto man then proceeded to strike a fine 7 iron (showing their power advantage) to about 15 feet.  Sadly, the Rossall pair took 3 more to get down and the point had slipped away.  Next Jimmy Jones and newcomer, Tom Pace, played some fine golf to record another win for Rossall and again took victory winning the last hole (1up).  The match was now poised 2-2 with everything down to the last game, and the Rossall pair Jeremy Smith and, newcomer, Ronni Schrevel.  This match was one down coming down the 18th and again the Rossall pair did not quite have the Loretto power and were hitting an all-out second shot as opposed to another 7 iron second by Loretto, who played a fine shot to 12 feet from the flag, which proved sadly good enough to win the game and in doing so, the match.   As bitterly disappointed as the whole team were, after time to reflect, we knew we had put up a very good fight against the best side in the competition with 3 games going down to the 18th hole. Loretto were very sporting after to admit we gave them a big scare, and all this without Tonroe and Fallows……!?

The match had finished just in time for a convivial lunch at Royal St George’s where the whole team could drown their sorrows!  As a point of note, just before lunch “skipper” Noel Muscutt, who had reached a significant milestone with his 100th match in the Halford Hewitt for Rossall against Loretto that morning, was presented with two very welcome bottles of champagne for the team during a short ceremony.  He was handed the Halford Hewitt Centenary Salver upon which four other Rossallians names appear…. Malcolm Lee, Michael Reece, Arthur Stephenson and Geoff Henney. Michael Reece is by far the most capped having played an amazing 151 games over 51 Halford Hewitts. 

After the disappointment of the narrow first round loss, the following morning was time to do battle again, this time in the Prince’s Plate.  This is a competition for all those who had fallen in the first round.  Sides in the Prince’s plate are reduced to 6 (from 10 in the ‘Hewitt’) meaning that some weaker sides in a 10 man ‘Hewitt’ side, become stronger with only 6.  In our first-round encounter against the Leys, it was a tight match again, but we managed to prevail by a margin of 2-1.  We then had to face a strong Bedford side.  Matt Allen and Simon Holt proved comfortable winners again with some exceptional golf (Holt impressively preserving his 100% winning record).  In game number two, Christian Butler and Robert Fox unfortunately succumbed leaving the match at 1-1.  In a deciding very tight match Jimmy Jones and Tom Pace finally lost a very close battle, yet again on the last hole.  

We now know that Bedford went on to win the plate meaning that Rossall this year had lost to the winners of the main competition (this year and the previous two), Loretto, and the Plate competition, Bedford, and lost to both by only the narrowest of margins. 

All in all the team definitely felt we were going home too early this year but, notwithstanding this, there was certainly an upbeat mood and “feel good” factor amongst the squad, having played a lot of high quality golf, and in the knowledge that the near future may well hold very exciting times challenging the best in the competition.

Floreat Rossallia!


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