In cold and windy conditions Colin Harding successfully defended the Michael Williams Hogget at Royal Mid Surrey on May 15 – and in so doing became the first player to lift the trophy four times since it was first played for in 1998 (winner: Mitchell Platts).

In fact, Colin’s latest triumph was his third on the bounce after victories at Walton Heath in 2021 and the Belfry in 2022.  His first win came in 2012 over the Edinburgh course at Wentworth.

A sign of the difficulty presented by a JH Taylor course that played to its full length was the fact that only Colin managed to get to 30 points, a winning total that was made up of two halves of 15. In second place, on 29 points, was Adrian Milledge.

One point further back and in third place was Jeremy Chapman, who displayed all the guiles of course management that led him to victory in 2001. By his own admission, health issues have prevented Jeremy from playing to his previous levels but he is an inspiration to anyone fortunate enough to play with him, as Peter Dixon and Andy Farrell would attest.

Special mention also has to go to Dave Edwards, winner of the Renton Laidlaw Quaich a couple of weeks earlier, who journeyed from the north of Scotland to take part. It would be fair to say that fatigue got the better of Dave on the course, although his magnificent effort and splendid company did not go unappreciated.

Something else that did not go unnoticed was the brazen fox on the 2nd hole that has taken to pinching golf balls. First it decided to make off with the ball of our guest Roddy Williams (a little rude – the fox, not Roddy) and then proceeded to do the same to the captain (extremely rude). The players in question would argue that from that point on their games were shaken off course – which is one way to excuse a couple of average scores.

The hospitality afforded the AGW by the club was second to none. Our thanks go to Royal Mid Surrey for proving such good hosts and to our friend, John Collard, who helped to facilitate the day.

Thanks also go to Roddy, for once again presenting the trophy that is played for in memory of his father. Can anyone release Colin’s grip? We’ll find out a year from now.

2023 Michael Williams Hogget – Royal Mid-Surrey – Scores

30pts: Colin Harding (H’cap 8) *(See below)

29: Adrian Milledge (17)

28: Jeremy Chapman (43)

26: Peter Dixon (17)

25:Andy Farrell (17)

24: Dick Turner (19)

23: Roddy Williams (18)

22: Ian Mullins (20)

13: Dave Edwards (19)

* Colin Harding’s revised handicap for his next AGW event is 6.