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As the 51st Gauteng Nomads Captain, it is my honour to welcome and host everybody at this 55th Anniversary game, on the newly revamped Firethorn Golf Course. All of us Randpark Nomads are hoping to one day do Golforama duties at an SA Open here at Firethorn. To our current National Chairman, Gary Rodwell and those members of the National Executive present, as well as our Honorary Life members, past National Chairmen, past and current Captain’s and members, visitors and guests, it is a privilege to have you all present at this milestone.

I have received apologies from both Brian Cusins (who is celebrating his 50th wedding anniversary today with Noreen) and Arthur Ferneyhough (who is unable to attend, but did confirm to me on the telephone, that he is proudly wearing his 55 year tie). It is also great to see – one of our Founder members, Andrew Mentis, two of our Honorary Life members, who are still playing every monthly game (Doug Watson and Alec Saunders), our past National Chairmen (Doug, Alec and Glen Dalton) and all the past Gauteng Captain’s, sixteen of whom are playing today. On behalf of Gauteng I would like to thank all the past Captain’s and committees for what they have contributed over the last five decades. A special thanks to our 55th co-ordinator, Spero Marinaki, for all his hard work in putting this event together. Thanks to all our National sponsors, in particular Antonio Rossetti from SAB, for all they contribute during the year, as well as our local sponsors, who continue to donate prizes and funds every month. Without sponsorship for an occasion like this it would not be possible and we have once again been fortunate to receive a substantial contribution from Joe De Klerk (Cellsure) for the suit covers. We were also fortunate to have Saul Van Greunen (Hyundai Cresta) donate funds towards the costs of the day. Last but certainly not least to Bev Du Toit who has done an exceptional amount of work in assisting Spero with all the arrangements for today. I trust that everybody will enjoy the day and join us this evening in celebrating this occasion.

Since my last insert, we sent a contingent of 23 players to the 3rd Swaziland Nationals. This is an exceptionally well organised tournament, played over two rounds at Royal Swazi. As a result of its affordability, proximity, quality of food and venue, condition of the golf course and the best positioned cowboy bar on our calendar, there is no problem getting entries to the tournament. It appears that our biggest problem in future will be deciding on the qualification criteria for entry. Congratulations to Theo Mason and Mervyn Lubbe on another memorable Nationals. It always seems that where a tournament is played at a venue which offers accommodation on the course, the enjoyment and camaraderie is more evident.

Our November game was played at Germiston with a field of 104. The Germiston game is usually played with either the rain falling or evidence of it having rained recently. This year was an exception and Johannesburg is in desperate need of some rain. Under the dry conditions the scores were good which were helped by excellent greens. Thanks to my playing fourball, Gavin Marshall (Vice-Captain), Andrew Souris (on receiving his 10 year tie) and Les Coetzee (who apologised on not being able to stay to receive his 20 year tie). Congratulation to Tyron Zaaiman who had the honour of collecting his 5 year tie and not too long after that the matchbox. Welcome to Grant Hawkins who was inducted that evening.

The 120th National Management Meeting was held in Cape Town on 7 November as part of the Western Province 50th Anniversary. I was unfortunately unable to attend the meeting but did fly in early Sunday morning to play in the game at Milnerton. Thanks to Spero for representing me at the meeting. By all accounts the meeting went well with not much to report back on. The two notable decisions were, to reduce the National Management Meetings to one per year and to scrap the qualification criteria of games played, for SA Nationals. Unfortunately for those who are reading this and have not entered for Knysna, entries have closed. We have 46 entries for our allotted 39 spots. According to the Gauteng members who attended the anniversary dinner it was a well organised and an enjoyable evening. The Milnerton golf course on the Sunday was in superb condition, with very little wind for Cape Town standards. Congratulations to Gavin Scott on a great anniversary.

Finally – as this is also our annual X-mas Cup one is reminded that the year is almost over and all that remains is to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year – travel safe and see a lot of you on the Natal South Coast. If not, see you all at Glenvista on Thursday 21 January 2016.

Graham Bishop