|News report from the Yorkshire Championship|
Aaaahhhh, Yorkshire! God's own county. Land of cricket, rhubarb, flat caps and (today at least) quite a few proper Yorkshire puddings. Maybe it was the heat, beating down ceaselessly onto the anvil of the KP Club, but there was a palpable torpor amongst some of the early teeing Trilby Tourians here.
The KP boasts one of the most modern and impressive club houses in the UK and many players appeared more interested in returning to relax with a drink on the terrace than competing for a winning round.
Despite the energising presence of Mr William Hunt at the first tee players seemed determined to not break into a sweat as they ambled through the front 9, soon, however, a mixture of the searing sun and a lack of foresight (most players foolishly eschewed sun cream) meant that many were getting hot under the collar, hat and trouser leg.
The KP's course winds lazily across the Yorkshire Wolds; gently falling and rising holes present speedy greens and deceptively tricky, wispily-grassed rough. A few fall foul of the partially hidden stream that runs across the fairway on the 2nd and though the long, uphill slog of the 605-yard-par-5 4th rewards with a grand view across Yorkshire it also kick starts the onset of more than one sunburnt neck.
On the 15th fairway the club has built a number of inhabited chalet-type lodges which have outdoor hot tubs. As tempers rise with the temperature there is the unusual sight of hot tub revellers ducking underwater to avoid being clobbered by wildly miss-hit tee shots.
As players finish on the 18th and rise back up to the clubhouse they look wearier and redder than they did as they set out. Many over-par the last as they see dozens of their fellow competitors already enjoying hospitality at the clubhouse and the idea of a long drink and a rub of after-sun overshadows their desire to make the play-offs. Play, though, has been very tight and there is a 7-man one-shot qualifier to decide on the final 4. The play off itself goes all the way to the final shot, with the winner known only to those present until TV transmission day.
It's been an unusual day for the Trilby Tour as the heat, for once, held usual animosities at bay, but all agree that it's also been one of the most hard-fought, sun-stroked and simply enjoyable days anyone can recall. As they say round here, 'There's many a mickle makes a muckle' – no, we don't know what they're on about either.