One of the most prestigious events in Southwold Golf Club’s diary is the annual match against Royal Norwich for the “Southwold Cleek”, a trophy with an intriguing history.

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This silver-headed club, inscribed “Southwold Golf Club 1898” was purchased in 1987 from auction in Chester by Lt Col A K Brown, a member of the Royal Norwich Golf Club.

He died without success in tracing the history of the cleek and his widow Mrs Marianne Brown gave the club to Dennis Cottier, secretary of the Royal Norwich, for safe-keeping.

Learning of this in 1991, Southwold Club captain Roy Child and Hon Sec Doug Randall unearthed from club records a minute dated 21st January 1898 which recorded that the “Cleek” was presented to Southwold Golf Club “by Mr Brooke Taylor, to be played for each year at Whitsuntide”.

This information was passed to Dennis Cottier and Mrs Brown, and meetings followed between officials of the two clubs.

That led to agreement that an annual match would be played for the “Cleek” between Southwold and Royal Norwich – at the express wish of Mrs Brown, who also requested that this historic club should be on permanent display at its original home, Southwold Golf Club.

Teams for the first match, played in July 1992, were selected from a range of club members on each side, rather than just top players, in recognition of the friendly nature intended for this event.

That approach has been maintained ever since and has made the Cleek match a particularly enjoyable annual fixture.

Lenny Doy captained the Southwold team in the first match, and it was fitting that he was able to lead the team again for the 20th anniversary match on June 16 at Southwold. Another who played in ’92, Peter Hurr, had also withstood the ravages of time well to play again this year.

At the very convivial clubhouse dinner that followed the on-course activity it was clear that continuation of this annual fixture is highly valued by both clubs.

The result is unimportant, but the general consensus was that Southwold’s home advantage may just have tipped the balance their way this year.

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