The penultimate weekend of Michaelmas term saw the Blues travel to the West Country to play for the first ever time against Minchinhampton GC on Saturday and then to compete against the Leatherjackets in one of the club’s longest running fixtures at Burnham and Berrow.
A late morning tee off at Minchinhampton afforded the team a relative lie-in on Saturday morning before leaving Oxford. The new fixture was to be decided over 18 holes of 4-ball better ball on Minchinhampton’s Cherington course, the longest of it’s three courses. The home side, obviously keen to make a strong first impression on the blues, stacked their team with very strong players. Reynolds and Van Wyk forged ahead in the early stages of their match only to be stifled by a spell of 6 birdies in 7 holes from their opposition. Similar fates were in store for the Hardy-Crummey and Ryan-Wilson pairings. Oxford’s first half point of the fixture came in dramatic fashion when Cansfield, playing with Rathore, reached the 18th hole all-square in their match. After finding the fairway, Cansfield casually stuck a 9-iron to a foot for a gimme birdie. With the opposition off of the green, the point seemed secure for Oxford, only for Minchinhampton’s youngest player to pitch in to tie up the match. The silver lining for Oxford came in the anchor match where Van Wijk and blues debutant Tris Warren played some supremely solid golf to earn the dark blues a full point. Hence, the inaugural fixture between the two teams was won by the home side by 3 1/2 matches to 1 1/2.
With the annual match against the Oxford Cambridge Golf Society looming the following weekend, the blues headed to Burnham on Sunday looking to secure a big win over the Leatherjackets and gain some momentum before facing off with the old-boys. After being greeted by some very familiar faces, the match got underway promptly on a slightly frosty golf course, which required a deft touch around the greens. The Leatherjackets proved strong at the top of the order, winning 1.5 points in the opening two matches. Oxford, however, showed that they have a lot of strength in depth by taking the last 3 matches to go into lunch ahead. Lunch at Burnham, always a thing to look forward to, did not disappoint and, once well fed and watered, the teams returned to the course to contest the afternoon matches. Once again, the Leatherjackets took some Oxford scalps in the top 2 matches, this time winning both games. As in the morning, though, Oxford again took the last 3 games in the afternoon to win the overall fixture by a score of 6 1/2 - 3 1/2.
Another wonderful weekend of golf has left the Blues’ games in good shape going into the fiercely contested match against the Society next weekend where Oxford will hope to put a big win on the board and go into the Christmas break riding high