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Matt Lay honoured to be new Rookery Park captain

PUBLISHED: 16:47 19 April 2012

From left to right - Graham Shillings, Matt Lay, and Richard Doddington.

From left to right - Graham Shillings, Matt Lay, and Richard Doddington.

Archant

Matt Lay, Rookery's new captain, is a golfer of real pedigree having been club champion seven times, including three years in a row.

Born in London he moved to Leicester when seven years old and from then, until a move to Lowestoft seven years later, he became addicted to football. Although a highly competent schoolboy footballer, who captained the county team, an experience on arrival in Lowestoft saw a surprise turn to golf.

He caddied for his father in the Rookery Fishing Smack competition, which led him to become a Rookery junior. As a member of a group of highly talented youngsters his competitive instincts fired a determination to do well at his new sport.

It was no surprise when he eventually went on to win a Daily Express national competition and captain the Suffolk youth team. As his length increased he, on one infamous occasion, attempted to carry the high trees which formed the dog-leg on the third hole. Imagine his embarrassment when he had to retrieve the ball from between the legs of the unsuspecting club captain.

As his handicap dropped, he won the Lads n’ Dads with his father Chris. The same family pairing saw him win the Ted Swann, the Best Friends, the Long Salvers and the John Emerson. When a young county golfer, he once had a frantic search to find his trousers before leaving the hotel. He enlisted the help of team and room mate Mark Harvey. The search ended when it was realised the new captain had forgotten to put on his night gear. He was already wearing the ‘missing’ trousers.

The Jubilee Cup, the Fishing Smack and the President’s Cup all eventually found their way into the Lay trophy cabinet. He appeared in the final of the Suffolk open foursomes with John Symon and the final of the Suffolk Match Play championship at Woodbridge.

After captaining the Suffolk ‘B’ team he took over the main county team and led it to its first inter county championship victory for 20 years. As a regular in the Hambro and Stenson teams his finest moment came when he produced a spectacular birdie on the first ‘play-off’ hole to win the Stenson Shield at Thorpeness.

Another strange experience he had with Mark Harvey came when the pair were put up on a farm yard during a golf match. A late night stroll aroused the curiosity of a group of angry pigs who immediately gave chase. Lay saw the incident as an omen and resolved that, whenever he was a member of a team, he would try hard and strive to “bring home the bacon”.

Matt Lay regards it as an honour and a privilege to be made the Rookery captain. The winners of his Drive-in competition were new vice captain, Graham Shillings and Richard Doddington. Despite his vast experience he admits that, like all of his predecessors, he approached the drive-in with some trepidation. He had to walk away and re-group before eventually smashing the ball almost 290 yards down the fairway. He has selected the K&P FC Charity for the disabled and disadvantaged to support for his year in office. His son, Nathan, eight, plays with K&P boys and at Norwich City PDC. Matt Lay would like Rookery to win a trophy this year and he wants the administration of the club’s affairs to be transparent. He feels fortunate to have had such supportive parents as Rookery’s Lyn and Chris and is full of praise for the ‘great support’ he gets from his wife, Sharon. We all wish him well.

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