Grafton Morrish 2021 - Report
For the first time (I think) since 1990 we reached the semi-final of the Grafton Morrish. This was as enjoyable as it was surprising bearing in mind that the Grafton Morrish is a high quality competition. It is different from the Halford Hewitt in that it is not limited to the same 64 schools but is open to all schools which are members of the Headmasters’ conference. 104 schools entered this year and 48 qualified from 9 different venues throughout England and Scotland. The event is always held at Hunstanton and Royal West Norfolk; two exceptional links courses on, strangely enough, the North West coast of Norfolk!
Our team consisted of the somewhat “senior” first pair of Bob Carrick and David Niven (combined age of 136 – mostly due to the former); the slightly more youthful second pair of Matt Mockridge and Jack Naylor (but not by much!) and the dynamic young third pair of Elliott Matthews and the sparkling debutant James Porter.
Having received a bye in the first round, we won a very tight second round 2-1 against Whitgift with 2 matches ending with the last putt on the last green. We won the third and fourth rounds both by 2-1 against Sedbergh and Reeds respectively but these matches were quite relaxed as in both we won 2 matches out in the country.
The semi-final was a slight anti-climax (as it was in 1990) as we were well beaten by a very strong Millfield side who leapt out of the blocks and none of our pairs was able to peg them back and exert any pressure. Millfield went on to win the tournament (for the first time since 1974) by beating Malvern (the 2019 runners up) in an incredibly tight and dare I say pulsating final. All matches went to the 18th green; there were two halves and the Millfield third pair holed a 15 footer to lift the trophy.
Anyway the whole 3 days were great fun and although all pairs contributed, the stars were the third pair who won 3 out of their 4 matches.
The aim next year is to qualify (never straightforward) and then perhaps attract some more youthful participants to supplement this year’s third pair. Matt Mockridge, the Halford Hewitt Captain, will be doing his best to unearth suitable candidates.