Libel case golfer denies snobbery

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AN AMATEUR golfer being sued after accusing another player of cheating insisted yesterday that he was not a snob who had made the allegations because his opponent was from a 'lower class'.

Reginald Dove, 50, of Southwell, Nottinghamshire, told a jury at Nottingham County Court that he did not care what social class John Buckingham, 57, a former coalworker, came from.

Mr Buckingham is suing Mr Dove and Graham Rusk, a fellow member, for libel after they claimed he moved his ball and dropped a ball down his trouser-leg during a competition in 1990.

Mr Buckingham began legal proceedings against the two men after the committee at his former club, Sherwood Forest, near Worksop, Nottinghamshire, cleared him of cheating.

Mr Dove told the hearing yesterday: 'I had played with Mr Buckingham at least 50 times and they were enjoyable and competitive rounds.'

Asked by his counsel, Richard Hartley QC, if he considered Mr Buckingham part of the 'riff-raff' at Sherwood, he said: 'I have never used those words about anybody.'

He also denied he made the allegations because he was jealous that Mr Buckingham carded a better score at the 1990 Sherwood Open.

Mr Dove said he was not aware of Mr Rusk's complaints against Mr Buckingham when he put his own allegations in writing at the pounds 426-a-year club.

He denied he and Mr Rusk, 33, colluded to hound Mr Buckingham, of Elmton, Derbyshire, out of Sherwood.

'I would say I was prepared to stand alone, to stand up and be counted. I knew of no other allegations against Mr Buckingham when I handed my letter in.'

The case was adjourned until today.