Royal Cromer welcomes old friends from Barnet Rugby Club

6:00 AM September 29, 2022

A special relationship between Royal Cromer Golf Club and a north London rugby club celebrates a special anniversary this weekend. 

Barnet Rugby Football Club Golf Society will be in north Norfolk for the 75th anniversary of a relationship that began with a chance ‘holiday’ meeting in 1947 between Peter Salmon from Barnet and a Royal Cromer member, Jack Rounce, who was the owner of East Coast Motors. His son George is still a member. 

The first match was played in 1948 and it is doubtful any golf club has had such a long relationship with a golf society as this one – with just a break for World War Two. The pandemic meant 2021 was the only match cancelled. 

The striking claret and blue blazers worn by members of the society came about when one of their members, a tailor by trade, was given quite a large bolt of cloth which was made into blazers. Many current society members still wear their original blazers from the 60s and they became so popular more material had to be obtained to meet the demand.  

In recent years the Royal Cromer organiser, Alan Malin, was presented with a blazer in thanks for his efforts in maintaining the continuance of the event. 

The prize – the Cromer Bell, currently held by the hosts

– Credit: Barnet RFC Golf Society

The week consists of a small advanced guard who arrive on Thursday (September 29) to meet members of the host club for dinner and a few drinks. The following day’s play is for the Friday Cup, which used to be played at Sheringham, but is currently played at Swaffham Golf Club.  

Then on the Saturday (October 1) is the main match when Royal Cromer face Barnet, with various trophies for the best pairs from each team and the Cromer Bell – currently held by the hosts – for the winning team. Post-match is a dinner at Royal Cromer, which has been the case since the 50th anniversary. 

Before that the dinner was held in various local hotels where Barnet were staying. This includes the Hotel de Paris where the cost in 1972 was £12 per night for bed and breakfast. Barnet currently stay at The Roman Camp Inn where they occupy all the guest rooms for the weekend. 

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of a special relationship

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of a special relationship

– Credit: Barnet RFC Golf Society

At dinner, Royal Cromer members are invited to take part in Barnet’s Sunday competition, The Bolton Pot, where they will partner a member of the opposing team. There is the not-insignificant ongoing penalty throughout the weekend of guzzlers. Should a player not get his drive past the ladies tee he has to buy a double for all four players in his match. One player on reaching the bar asked the barman for 32 gin and tonics – apparently he had such a bad game, he lost 10 and 8 without getting his putter out. 

In those days the player who had the most guzzlers in the match was made to wear an enormous Swiss Cow Bell around his neck whilst eating dinner. 

Over the years Barnet have shown their appreciation by presenting the host club with many gifts. In 1981, the Royal Cromer coat of arms which adorns the South front of the clubhouse; in 1987 a bench seat on the 13th tee; in 1997 a weather monitor; in 2007 a flag pole and in 2017 a water fountain and bottle filler.

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