Six years after the golf club was established on the Chart (1889) a match took place between the club members and working people from the village. Thirteen years later in 1908 these local people formed the Gresham Artisan Golf Club and an annual match has been arranged every since.
In 1926 The Parsons Cup was presented to the winning team captain for the first time. Since then both teams have enjoyed periods of dominance, more recently the bragging rights have belonged to Gresham, in fact 2013 was the last victory for LCGC.
The match follows a simple format, 12 players a-side, 6 fourball better ball matches on day one, then 12 singles matches on day two. So 18 points to be won and like the Ryder Cup a drawn match means the holders retain the trophy another year.
On Saturday morning the captains announced their fourball pairings and order of play. This produced some very competitive matches.
The day closed with honours even and as ever the 12 singles would decide the destination of the cup. Gresham will need 6 points to retain the cup whilst Limpsfield need 6.5 to win the cup.
Early Sunday morning and the captains reveal their team selection for the day. Everyone was thinking it was going to be a tight match and that proved to be the case. The start times were spread over 90 minutes both sides had spotters around the course reporting progress, Pete Masters was busy keeping the scoreboard updated at the halfway house. Limpsfield made a great start at one point were leading in nine matches, level in one and down in two.
Gresham captain Chris Massey was looking anxious hoping not to be the first captain since Les Fordham in 2013 to lose the Parsons Cup. As the morning progressed potential points turned to actual points and the match could swing either way. Eventually there were three matches to be completed which would decide the outcome. Limpsfield needed one point to draw but one and a half points to win, Gresham needed 2 points to draw and retain the trophy.
Jack Skinner was 2 down after 15 so would need to win the next 3 holes to win his match, a massive task against the wily Alan Moore who was getting a shot down the 16th. But young Jack knows no fear and wins the 16th and then the 17th with solid pars. All square as they tee off on the last hole, both hit good drives, Jack puts his wedge to 8 foot, Alan finishes just off the green but needs to chip over the bunker which he does nicely, leaving a 10 foot putt which he misses by a whisker, Jack has two for the match and carefully putts dead weight to win 1 up.
Limpsfield now cannot lose with 9 points in the bag with two games still alive. Tim Vaughan back from injury has had a ding-dong match with Arnie Heijmer. Crowds have gathered around the 16th green Tim is 2 down so needs a win but Arnie gives no quarter and closes the match out 3&2.
Last match David Sullivan against Mickey William who is 1 up after 15, they play to the 16th green but then David picks up conceding the hole, so 2 down. They move to the 17th tee followed by a crowd, Mickey tees off, a little short but very safe, David hits it up the left side leaving a small wedge. Mickey leaks his second shot out to the right finishing on the bridle path. David hits the perfect line, a couple of weeks ago it would have been dead but yesterday it left a long tricky putt. Mickey such a cool character chips to 4 foot away meaning David needed a birdie. It didn’t happen and cheers burst out spontaneously, the match had been drawn, 18 matches, 9 wins each, with the result finally settled by the last match, on the penultimate hole, it doesn’t get much closer than that !!
Well done to everyone who made this a great match and so much fun.