For those of you that do not know, The Pinnington Pot is an annual event where a select group of Junior golfers from Caldy, Royal Liverpool and Royal Birkdale compete against Junior golfers from the Swedish clubs of Falsterbo, Flommens and Ljhungsen to be crowned holders of the highly coveted Pinnington Pot.
After a fantastic visit to Sweden last year, it was our turn to host the Swedish Juniors from the 3rd until the 10th of August 2019.
After picking the Falsterbo team up from Manchester Airport, via Ikea (don’t mention the acquired Swedish flag!🇸🇪), your Junior Organiser thought there would be no better way to welcome our guests to these shores than to take them out to lunch at Nando’s to bond over some portions of “Wing Roulette”! For those of you that have never frequented this fine eatery, “Wing Roulette” is similar to Russian Roulette with the proviso that there is no loss of life, but you may lose some taste buds if you are unlucky enough to pick a chicken wing which has been marinated in Nando’s extra hot sauce! The trip to Nando’s seemed to be the perfect ice breaker with everyone leaving the eatery as though they had known each other for years!
Once our guests had settled with their hosts and unpacked (well, in come “cases”, this act merely comprised of opening ones’ suitcase and leaving it in the centre of the room!), we met up at the Field of Dreams for some social golf. To this end, the Juniors went off as two groups of three and were followed closely behind by a four ball made up of Ray and Wendy Simm, Nicklas, Falsterbo’s accompanying adult, and your very own Junior Organiser, Ross Walker. During the round it became apparent that the boys had bonded; how else do you account for the fact that the boys seemed to merge into a six ball, playing both a longest drive and closest to pin competition on the 7th and 8th holes respectively? It has to be said that the highlight of the first round of golf was the birdie scored on the 10th by your very own JO. It was because of that sublime bit of golf that your JO decided that, out of fairness, it would be better for Ray Simm to play on behalf of Caldy for the rest of the week!
After social golf, we were joined by the cohort from Royal Liverpool and the team from Ljunghusen for a BBQ. It has to be said that Pickled Walnut did the club proud and everyone had a great time sitting out on the patio enjoying some great food, wine (adults only) and great company!
Day 1 of the competition saw all six teams converge on Royal Liverpool for a 10am start. At this point, Tom Parker-Thompson joined the rest of his teammates from last year’s exchange and the Caldy team was expanded to include Aidan Simpson. Aidan very kindly agreed to step in, since last year’s Junior Captain, Emily Fearns-Nicol was travelling back from Uganda! I know, I know, our Caldy Juniors get around! The format of the day was better ball and the English Juniors triumphed, 5 and 1. After the golf was done, the McBurney family from Royal Liverpool very kindly hosted a BBQ, where not only did the competitors bond over some fine BBQ food, but they also bonded on the tennis court. The McBurney’s have a fantastic grass tennis court at the bottom of their garden, which was the scene of some “interesting” tennis shots!
After a sumptuous breakfast, which included pancakes cooked by your very own JO, the band of intrepid golfers, who now included our past Junior Captain Emily Fearns-Nicol travelled to do battle at Royal Birkdale; the host of The Open in 2017. The format was greensomes and the English team won by 4.5 to 1.5. After the golf, the Juniors were treated to a formal meal where they all got “suited and booted”. The word on the street was that the fillet steak was to die for, but, of course, not as nice as the pancakes they were swerved in the morning at chez Walker !
Day 3 brought the competing golfers to the Field of Dreams aka Caldy. After playing both Hoylake and Birkdale, I think that everyone thought that the Field of Dreams would be an easier prospect to play around. Unfortunately for all concerned , the wind had something to say about that! Let us just say that the green keepers would have loved this cohort, not least because they did not spend too much time on the fairways! The format was better ball with the English team sneaking the result, 3.5 to 2.5. After the match, the Juniors and our guests from Sweden, Hoylake and Birkdale were treated to a fine meal by Pickled Walnut and prizes were awarded for the two nearest to pin competitions and the longest drive competition that we ran for the Junior competitors that day. Obviously, in the spirit of good sportsmanship and just downright good manners, the Caldy Juniors “decided” not to win any of these side competitions! A big thank you to our Captain and Lady Captain for attending the event and also a big thank you to Ray Simm for giving a speech on behalf of the club to our visiting guests.
Day 4 was supposed to be a rest day! Well, I think that someone needs to look up the definition of that word! As Caldy were only offering one day of golf, we were tasked with keeping the Juniors entertained, and entertained they were! The day started with lunch at Pizza Express. Much to your JO’s astonishment everyone had pre-ordered their food as requested and the lunch went smoothly. After lunch, we walked down to TeamSport’s go-karting facility in Liverpool, where the intrepid golfers tried their hand at racing in a go-kart that was capable of doing 40mph! With the exception of your JO, everyone raced like champions! Your JO on the other hand, came third in his first race and 13th in his last! He got slower!!! After the go-karting, the Juniors were allowed some free time to explore Liverpool whilst the adults enjoyed a pint or two discussing where it all went wrong on the track! Finally, we all met up at Death Row Diner on Hope Street for a very “healthy meal” which was spiritually uplifting. Your JO’s dish was called, “I believe in Jesus”, go figure! All in all, I think we did the club proud in arranging a great day out in Liverpool!
Day 5 saw everyone back on the golf course; although it is fair to say that a number of the Juniors who were old enough to stay out in Liverpool were a bit tired and emotional! It must have been the go-karting! On day 5, they were all off to Royal Birkdale again. Today’s format was better ball and the English team snuck it, 4 and 2. That night, on returning home, Ray and Wendy Simm kindly hosted a meal for the adults from Royal Liverpool, Falsterbo and Ljunghsen and your JO opted to take the golfers from Hoylake and Caldy out to Hickory’s. As the golfers only got back from Birkdale at 8:30pm, it was another late night!
Day 6, the last day of competition, saw everyone converge on Hoylake for one last battle. This time the format was singles! A very close affair indeed with the English winning 7.5 to 4.5. After the golf, we were all treated to a fantastic meal at Hoylake where the winners of the Pinnington Pot was announced. The winners were indeed the English team who won 24.5 to 11.5. The Pinnington Pot was accepted on behalf of the English teams by Hoylake’s Junior Captain, Matthew (Matty) Walsh who, it has to be said, gave an excellent acceptance speech!
As I am sure you will all appreciate, it really was a full on week and on behalf of the Junior Section, I would like to thank the club wholeheartedly for supporting this event. I would also like to thank Mark Kershaw at Pickled Walnut for his inspired menu choices and I would also like to thank Jo and Neil Johnston for looking after Hugo from Falsterbo, and Ray and Wendy Simm for looking after Falsterbo’s accompanying adult, Niklas. I would particularly like to thank Ray for playing golf with our guests over the week and moreover, pretending he liked junk food!