Leighton Speake joy for Rookery Park duo

PUBLISHED: 10:22 29 October 2010

Les Whall at Rookery Park GC

Les Whall at Rookery Park GC


THE Stevens' Eclectic always marks the end of the Rookery summer season.

Played over two rounds it always produces a low overall score. The biggest problem with the competition is that those who had a terrible first round often see no point in playing in the second.

To combat this a special prize was once given for the best second round, which was known as the Stevens Medal, but this was discontinued.

The Eclectic Trophy was presented by one of East Anglia’s most renowned golfing families. Roy Stevens was one of the club’s longest ever drivers of a ball and the trophy presented in his memory attracts a large field annually.

The Wally Stevens Mixed Knock-Out is played for yearly. This year young Sam Jaggard came close to yet another victory when he finished second in the Eclectic to Kevin Utton’s 63 net.

In the Leighton Speake, Les Whall, pictured, and Rob Cook staged a spectacular finish to win on a countback. As they faced the last two holes they agreed between them that they needed two birdies to stand a chance.

Whall, after a long drive and six iron, holed a 25ft putt for the first birdie and on the final hole Cook went one better.

A long drive, a superb three wood and a 20ft putt produced an eagle and a count-back victory over John Marjoram and a fully recovered David Porter. Both pairs scored 45 points. Cook played the course in 76 shots.

Les Whall played golf in his teens, but only through green fees at Southwold and the old Pakefield course. He packed up playing when 23 years old and did not start again until he joined Rookery in 1996.

An initial handicap of 22 soon fell to 11 as he won the Lowestoft Challenge Cup and the Irish Cup twice, with Tony Atkinson and Mike Jarvis. Fortunately, as he now runs his own gas fittings and repair company, he can arrange golf matches to fit his own work schedules. Members were saddened to learn of the death of Billy Gibbs, a Rookery and Pakefield legend.

Members will have their own memories of Billy but he will probably be best remembered for once arriving at the ninth teebox all square with one to play.

His opponent, a young Rookery lion, hit a super shot to within inches of the pin for a certain birdie.

“That’s what you can do when you are young and fit,” he boasted.

An aging Gibbs stepped up and knocked a magnificent iron shot straight into the hole for an eagle and a victory.

“And that, young man, is what you can do when you are old and experienced,” he beamed.

Billy Gibbs will long be remembered by all who knew him and condolences are sent to his family.

David Batley

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