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The Liverpool & District Captains Competition 1923 - 1938

The first recorded meeting of the Committee took place at 40 Union Street, Liverpool (the office of W B Stoddart) on 2 July 1923 and was chaired by W B Stoddart with attendance by W R Davies (Woolton), H S Hayco (Huyton) and Captain Nutton (Hon Secretary of Woolton) as Honorary Secretary. The Society had now established an official title “Liverpool and District Captains’ & Ex-Captains’ Competition” with a Committee to manage its affairs. It was decided to hold an 18 hole medal competition at Hoylake on the last Saturday in September 1923 or the first Wednesday in October for a prize presented by W B Stoddart. A formal invitation (reproduced below) was sent to Royal Liverpool, Bromborough, West Lancashire, Ormskirk, Formby, Huyton, Birkdale, Woolton, Leasowe, Hesketh, Wallasey, Heswall, Southport & Ainsdale, Prenton and Freshfield, (otherwise known as Banking & Insurance).

Invitation to 1923 CompetitionThe major change from previous years was that Hon Treasurers and Secretaries were also invited to participate in the competition and ex-Captains were to be restricted to two from each club. This latter restriction must have been greeted with some dismay because the manuscript note shows a change of heart and allowed any ex-Captain to take part. The dress code was also subject to some debate  and would continue to do so for several years. The newspaper cutting of the event played on 3 October 1923 reported the proceedings:

“The weather was exceedingly unfavourable, heavy rain falling all day with a cold wind which considerably curtailed the number of players. The winner was J P Carr (Leasowe) with a net 84 (85-1) after a tie with R J Robinson (Prenton)."            

The scores were a reflection of the weather and only two players managed to break gross 90. Dinner at 7.30 in morning dress appears to have been a very civilised affair. A Committee meeting in the clubhouse followed the match and was attended by W B Stoddart (Royal Liverpool), Sir Robert Connell (West Lancs), R Fitzgerald (Formby), C W Worsley (Ormskirk), W R Davies (Woolton), D Myers (Prenton), H S Hayco (Huyton) and Captain Nutton (Honorary Secretary). They decided to play the 1924 competition at Hesketh some time in May and also agreed to remove the restriction as regards ex-Captains and invite them all, in addition to the club Captains, Hon Treasurers and Secretaries. They set up an advisory Committee comprising the Captains of Royal Liverpool, West Lancs, Formby, Wallasey, Woolton plus the Captain of the club over whose course the competition was being played. It was also decided that partners be balloted for and every competitor should pay his own expenses.

The Committee meeting at Hesketh on 6 February 1924 was attended by F W Carter (Hesketh) in the chair, J P Brocklebank (Royal Liverpool) W J H Renison (Wallasey) and E Walton (Secretary of Hesketh). They decided that the dress for the dinner following the meeting on 21 May 1924 should be either red coats, evening dress or dinner jackets. J P Carr (Leasowe) once more tied for the lead, this time with W J H Renison (Wallasey), and again won the play-off. In those days play-offs took place usually on the same course, but at a later date. At a meeting following the dinner on 21 May 1924 H S Hayco, an ex-Captain of Huyton, offered a challenge cup and replica to be played for in future competitions. The trophy that he presented was a silver cigar box which is still presented to the annual competition winner.

The Committee meeting on 27 April 1925 was held at Cunard Building with W E Mounsey (Royal Liverpool) in the chair plus H H Edgecombe (Formby), W Taylor (Wallasey) and G V Stavert (Secretary of Wallasey). It was resolved that West Derby be added to the list of clubs to which invitations are issued. It was also resolved that there would be no replica for the trophy presented by the ex-Captain of Huyton, H S Hayco and that the trophy be held for one year by the winner’s club. The first winner of the Hayco Trophy at Wallasey was G Dudley West of Leasowe with a net 73 (80-7).

The Committee Meeting on 17 June 1926 was at the West Lancs clubhouse following the annual competition. J E B Little (West Lancs Captain) was in the chair plus W E Mounsey (Royal Liverpool), Burton Hacking (Formby), L A P Warner (Wallasey), Sir Arnold Rushton (Woolton), F Stanley Morris (West Lancs Hon Treasurer) and R Fairclough (Secretary of West Lancs). The competition winner was N Silcock (Huyton) with a net 77 (86-9). The Committee regretted that the application for membership from Childwall Golf Club could not be entertained because it did not see its way to increase the numbers.

On 22 June 1927 the competition was held at Formby Golf Club and the Hayco Trophy was again won by N Silcock of Huyton with a net 76 (84-8).

The 1928 competition was held at Prenton on 21 June and the winner was M F Drinkwater (Leasowe), with a net 70 (81-11). Only 40 cards were taken out and 34 sat down to dinner, which prompted the suggestion that additional copies of the notices for future competitions be sent to the clubs to remind past Captains of the event. If this suggestion was taken up it did not appear to have been heeded because there were only 33 playing at Birkdale on 20 June 1929. J P Carr (Leasowe) was again tied in first place, this time with N S Wood (Captain of Birkdale) with net scores of 76. It was decided to engrave both names on the Hayco Trophy.

A year later on 11 June 1930 there were only 24 cards taken out at Leasowe resulting in a win for the host club Captain, Parkin S Booth, with a net 73 (86-13). At the meeting which followed the competition it was decided that the Society should have a permanent Honorary Secretary and that the Secretary of the club on whose course the competition was being played should act as his assistant. Mr J F Clegg, an ex-Captain of Woolton, was unanimously elected as the first permanent Honorary Secretary of the Society.

Dwindling numbers appear to have softened the hearts of the Committee because on 2 May 1931 at Royal Liverpool Golf Club they resolved to allow Childwall and Grange Park to play in future competitions. This did not result in a dramatic impact on the numbers but there was a small increase that year when 29 cards were taken out at Freshfield on 10 June. The winner was J A Scholefield (Birkdale) with a net 79 playing off scratch.

The numbers improved once more when 46 cards were taken out on 8 June 1932 at Ormskirk. R S Knapman (Huyton) won the Hayco Trophy with a net 71 (82-11) and at the meeting in the clubhouse prior to the dinner Wigan Golf Club was granted permission to play in future competitions.

The numbers were down again on 14 June 1933 with 35 playing at Hesketh. The scores were also lower with F C Marsh (West Lancs) producing a net 68 (77-9) to win the trophy.

The Society returned to Woolton on 6 June 1934 where 36 cards were taken out and 33 sat down to dinner. An application from Hillside Golf Club was approved for future competitions. A H Neale (Prenton) won the trophy with a net 72 (86-14) and two members had their knuckles rapped for turning up to play after the stipulated starting time of 3.30. It was agreed that future events would have a 4 o’clock deadline to fit in with dinner at 7.00pm. In those days a three hour round was thought to be long enough - how times have changed! With the barman calling “last orders” at ten o’clock there was every incentive to get around the course quickly if a golfer expected his normal quota of liquid refreshment, so perhaps we should go back to shorter drinking hours if we wish to speed up play!

West Derby hosted its first competition on 5 June 1935 with 40 competitors. S J Marsden (Wigan) and T V Williams (West Derby) tied for first place with scores of 74 net. It was decided that each of the clubs should hold the trophy for six months and in a play-off for the first prize in the following week Marsden won with a net 77 (80-3). It is interesting to note that the Hayco trophy was regarded as a club trophy rather than personal property. Another decision taken at the West Derby meeting was to allow Mr H S Hayco to participate in future competitions despite the fact that he had left the Huyton club to reside in the South of England. This principle set the precedent that has allowed past-Captains to continue their involvement in the Society after having parted company with the club they had captained.

There was another tie the following year on 10 June 1936 when 41 competitors took part at Prenton. F C Marsh (West Lancs) and A H Neale (Prenton) both scored net 71 and in the subsequent play-off Neale won first prize with a net 72 (81-9).

On 9 June 1937 Bromborough hosted the competition which was won by W Lees Evans of the home club with a net 72 (82-10). There is no record of the numbers attending but there must have been concerns because it was agreed that a strenuous effort should be made next year to persuade those who could not play to attend the dinner.

There was once more a local winner at Southport & Ainsdale on 15 June 1938 when H S Collinge (Hillside) won with a net 74 (78-4). The 37 members dining that night took an important decision to hold a formal dinner in the winter time. The plans were drawn up at a meeting of the Advisory Committee held in the Exchange Hotel on 29 December 1938. The Derby Room of the Adelphi Hotel was booked for Monday 23 January 1939 with tickets priced at one guinea (exclusive of wine). Application forms were sent out to all Captains, ex-Captains, Treasurers and Secretaries of the 20 Clubs associated with the Society and guest invitations were sent to the Presidents of the English, Lancashire and Cheshire Golf Unions. It had been intended to ask Lord Derby to Preside at this dinner but as he was “generally abroad in January” Lord Leverhulme consented to take the Chair.

The Advisory Committee also agreed that “To place this association on a firmer basis there would be submitted at the dinner a special resolution advocating the formation of an organisation with certain rules in the Merseyside District somewhat on the lines of the London Golf Captains Society”.

This was to lead to the formation of the Society in its present form.

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