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Royal County Down
John Woollam and Eric Fiddiam 1935Ernest Whitcombe was Irish Open Champion in 1935 for the second time, tying with his brother Reg then defeating him in the 36-hole play-off.

I was not the only Midland golfer to have a long standing record at Royal County Down. A couple of years earlier Eric Fiddian, the Walker Cup player from Stourbridge, had two holes in one in the Irish Amateur Championship. In the 36-hole final he did the 128-yard 7th in one in the morning round and aced the 205-yard 14th hole in the afternoon. Despite this he was runner-up, losing by 3&2 to Walker Cup teammate, Jack McLean, then at the Hayston club in Glasgow. Eric had also lost in the final of the British Amateur Championship at Muirfield in 1932, but went one better in that year’s English Amateur at Royal St George’s, beating the holder L.G.Crawley on his way to the final, where he defeated A. S. Bradshaw by 1 up. (That was the year I played against Eric in the Amateur v Pro match which preceded the Midland Open).

Three years later he reached the English final again at Hollinwell, losing to John Woollam, a member of my present club - Ellesmere Port (then Hooton). Eric Fiddian played a minor part in Bobby Jones’ Grand Slam story, when they met in the quarter finals of the 1930 Amateur Championship at St Andrews. He went 1-up when Jones found the Swilken Burn at the first, but was never in front again and lost 4&3.

The 1935 English Amateur win was Woollam’s second in the championship - he had won in 1933 at Ganton, where at one hole he found his ball impaled on a thorn bush. He played the shot with the ball rocking in the wind. Amongst the party who welcomed him home to Hooton in triumph was the Club President, Colonel Sir John Shute, M. P. I wonder if he was related to Densmore, the 1933 Open Champion. Woollam also won the Swiss Amateur Championship in 1933 and retained the title in 1934, the year he was also Dutch Amateur Champion. He was capped eight times for England in Home Internationals and once against France, but for some reason he never made the Walker Cup team.

In August that year the new range of Standard saloons was launched – the 8,10&12. The Standard 10 was advertised as ‘Luxury at minimum cost’. The cost was £185, nearly twice the prize money won by Alf Perry at Muirfield. Ernie Els could have bought quite a few ‘Standard’ equivalents with the £700,000 he collected in 2002. As for me, I have never had a car; my mode of transport was a motorbike.