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Suffolk County Team 2017
Left to right:  Fiona Edmond, Lils James, Lottie Whyman, Fiona Stokes, Kevin Lovelock (coach), 
Miss Hermione Scrope (President), Vanessa Bell (Captain), Sharon Luckman, Abbie Symonds,
Vicki Inglis, Alice Barlow (Champion).


County Match Week Day 5:  Suffolk wins the place in the County Finals…


Eureka! When Archimedes plunged into his bath and discovered that the ‘tide came in’, it couldn't have been more exciting than today!   Suffolk beat Hertfordshire by 5.5 to 3.5 on the final day of County Match Week, securing the coveted place for the East Region in the English County Championship finals to be played at Felixstowe in September.

It wasn’t easy and, for some of the time, Suffolk’s supporters looked on anxiously as Hertfordshire put up some stern resistance. On Day Five of a gruelling week, the sun rose but didn’t shine much and a stiff breeze blew in from the sea, whipping up white horses off shore. An odd wet flurry swept over the golf course as Suffolk and Hertfordshire began the day’s proceedings at 8.30am .

The foursomes resulted in a valuable 2-1 scoreline for Suffolk. Fiona Edmond and Lottie Whyman won their match 5/3, closely followed by Alice Barlow and Sharon Luckman who notched up a 3/1 victory. Abbie Symonds and Vanessa Bell found Kelly Hutcherson and Esther Strous in imperious, par scoring mode. Hertfordshire won by 4/3.

As the wind blew harder and singles took to the fairways, Alice worked hard against Bronagh O’Keefe to no avail. She went down by 2/1. Lottie Whyman beat Esther Strous, tabling her eighth win of the week, a pretty amazing achievement; the ninth match she played during the week resulted in a half completing a superb, unbeaten record. Always courteous and charming and that’s before one sees her swing a golf club, her superb form was inspiring. Fiona Edmond suffered a rare defeat at the hands of Anna Collis (5/3). Vanessa Bell played a Captain’s game, beating Millie Pratten by 3/2.

At this point and from a distance of about 400 yards, there was another cameo performance which will remain in the mind. Suddenly on the 131-yard sixteenth hole, a gaggle of distance-shrunk figures wearing white shirts erupted from the tee and rushed in a straggling but purposeful line down to the green, swamping their team-mate with glee recognisable even from a distance. The outcome of the week was no longer in doubt. Sharon Luckman who had been three up on the tee, had matched the birdie of her opponent, sinking a six-foot putt for a half and the win that gave Suffolk its place in the County Championship Finals. What a moment!

Then, finally, Abbie Symonds repeated her centre stage performance of yesterday. As the Tail End Charlie playing Kelly Hutcherson, the Hertfordshire Number One, Abbie was still alive on eighteen but one hole adrift. Kelly pulled her approach shot into a gully near the back of the green. Abbie chipped up and managed to stop the ball on the green but some distance from the hole. Three shots each. Kelly putted her ball from the gully and it rolled and rolled and rolled, right off the green beyond the pin. From there she took three more to get down while Abbie needed just the two, winning the hole and wresting a half point for Suffolk from the encounter. Fantastic!  Suffolk 5.5, Hertfordshire 3.5.

It was a jubilant Suffolk Captain, Vanessa Bell, who said: ‘I’m excited beyond words (to make the County Finals) and the team has been positively brilliant. Everybody who supported us has just made the week. Thank you!’

Results (Suffolk names first):
: Fiona Edmond & Lottie Whyman bt Anna Collis & Nicola Callander 5/3; Alice Barlow & Sharon Luckman bt Holly Hunter & Micaela Du Plessis 3/1; Abbie Symonds & Vanessa Bell lost to Kelly Hutcherson & Esther Strous 4/3.
Singles: Barlow lost to Bronagh O’Keefe 2/1; Whyman bt Strous 3/1; Edmond lost to Collis 5/3; Bell bt Alison Leake 5/3; Luckman bt Millie Pratten 3/2; Symonds halved with Hutcherson.
Final Result: Suffolk 5/5, Hertfordshire 3/5.

In the other matches:  Norfolk bt Cambs & Hunts 5/5 - 3.5.  Essex bt Bedfordshire 5.5 - 3.5

Julie Latimer-Jones 


County Match Week Day 4:  Suffolk on a charge...


Today was a day with a difference.  Play had hardly begun when the God Thor provoked a klaxon blast and all the matches were suspended for half an hour while he shuffled his very dark clouds to the South.  Perhaps it was a signal!  For the first time this week, the Suffolk team all played well at the same time, wresting eight-and-a-half points from the nine on offer in their match against Cambs & Hunts who must have felt that they were in a war of attrition.  

Of the three morning foursomes, two full points plus a half point went to Suffolk.   Ella Mason and Tabitha Brain held Fiona Edmond and Lottie Whyman to a draw and secured the only entry on the Cambs & Hunts side of the board.

After lunch as the singles got under way, the Suffolk team swung into action.  Alice Barlow took just thirteen holes to secure her point against Tabitha Brain.  Tabitha was playing well enough and was only three over par when Alice, who was three under, got home.  Lottie Whyman strolled to an eight and six win against Lesley Gilchrist and Vanessa Bell, playing the anchor role which she seems to have relished in the last couple of days, only required eleven holes to run out the 8/7 winner against Paula Ewing.  Fiona Edmond produced a few wayward shots but she is such a fine and determined player that she got ahead and stayed there, finishing on fifteen against Laura Todd.  

That left Sharon Luckman and Abbie Symonds to settle their matches.  Sharon was three up with three to go, needing therefore just a halved hole to claim the win. She took all three, losing sixteen to a par and seventeen courtesy of an amazing second shot from Laura Tuttle which finished a scant two inches from the hole.  There was no mistake at eighteen, however.  Sharon struck two perfect shots to the green, then watched as Laura, unfortunately for her, shuttled back and forth across the green and had to concede hole and match in the end.  Playing behind, Abbie Symonds held onto her nerve to produce a second shot down eighteen that landed dead centre of the fairway, a high, accurate approach to five feet from the pin and smoothly sank the putt to take the last point from Sarah Peeke-Vout.  It was a wonderful climax to a most satisfactory day for the Suffolk team.  Now it is possible that they could win the coveted place available in the County Finals which will be played at Felixstowe in September.  They would dearly love to do that because playing at home in such a prestigious event would be something else.  They have to beat Hertfordshire first though and Norfolk and Bedfordshire could have something to say about it.  Exciting times! Play begins at 8.30 and 2.16. 

Julie Latimer-Jones


Suffolk v Cambs & Hunts (Suffolk names first)...
Fiona Edmond & Lottie Whyman halved with Ella Mason & Tabitha Brain;  Vanessa Belll & Vicki Inglis bt Marcella Tuttle & Sarah Greenall 2/1; Lils James & Abbie Symonds bt Sarah Peeke-Vout & Lesley Gilchrist 2/1.
Alice Barlow bt Rabitha Brain 6/5;  Whyman bt Gilchrist 8/6;  Edmond bt Laura Todd 4/3;  Luckman bt Laura Tuttle 2up;  Symonds bt Peeke-Vout 1 up; Bell bt Paula Ewing 8/7.
Final Score:  Suffolk 8.5, Cambs & Hunts 0.5.

Other matches:
Bedfordshire bt Norfolk 5 - 4;  Essex bt Hertfordshire 5 - 4.


County Match Week Day 3:  Suffolk halved with Norfolk

Today was the day for Suffolk to take on their nearest neighbour, Norfolk, in a Derby match that always has a particular, if unspoken, significance.  Both teams are inevitably keen to win.  Last year and again this time, Norfolk have set sail in search of the place in the National County Finals and, until they met Suffolk, they were doing fine, having won two matches to date. Seemingly, it looked as though they might win today’s encounter as well, but the Suffolk players gritted their teeth and came through to force a draw.

Norfolk won two of the foursomes to Suffolk’s one and must have felt reasonably confident going into the afternoon singles.  Vanessa Bell, Suffolk’s Captain, put out Lottie Whyman in the top spot of the six strong team. She was playing Amelia Williamson, Norfolk’s young Champion and Junior international golfer of prodigious talent. Lottie was Suffolk Champion two years ago and plays a serene and powerful game which proved, in the end, just too much for the youngster to handle.   The quality of golf was typified by the par five 15th hole which was halved with eagles.  Lottie finished two up to add a point for Suffolk.

Alice Barlow, Suffolk’s Champion, was pleased with her golf, saying she played much better this afternoon against Amy Taylor.   Three up after nine, she pressed on, running out the winner on seventeen.   Norfolk 2, Suffolk 2 at this point.   Fiona Edmond described her opponent, Jasmine Campbell as a good, solid player, but they finished their match all square for a half point each.  Overall score now favouring Suffolk by one point.  

Lils James and Imogen Leeder tussled it out but, despite playing some impressive shots, Lils found herself four down after nine.  She holed several terrific putts on the back nine and almost made an ace but then ran out of holes and luck, when Imogen halved sixteen for a par and won the match 3/2, levelling the match score. Sharon Luckman versus Tiffany Mills was a good, tight match with Sharon 1 up after nine.  However, on the back nine, the pace of play slowed and, whilst it was the same for both players, Mills dealt with it the better.   Despite a wonderful shot from Sharon to the 131-yard 16th which landed on the right edge of the green but then dipped left to finish near the pin, it was all too late.   Mills won by 3/2.  

This point for Norfolk put them within touching distance of their third win in as many days, but Suffolk’s Captain, Vanessa Bell, playing anchor to her team, settled down against the ever-efficient Tracey Williamson.  Arriving on the sixteenth tee three up with three to go, she lost that hole when her first putt came up short but, summoning up  all her determination to win the match, she hit two beautiful shots to the seventeenth green while Tracey struggled with the rough and finally conceded the hole.   Vanessa ran out the winner by three and one to square the overall match.  

So Norfolk remain in the top spot, but it’s all very close and there’s still a lot to play for over the next two days.  Tomorrow, Suffolk will play Cambs & Hunts who have been having rather a torrid time of it but nothing will be taken for granted.   Norfolk take on Bedfordshire who are playing pretty well.  So will there be surprises?  This has been a day of high summer at Hunstanton.  For the most part a quiet day by the sea with everyone conserving their energies to combat the heat of the sun and hydration, as much of an art as the skills of the golf game much helped by the unflagging effort and effort of the County President, Hermione Scrope, on the buggy loaded with water and energy drinks.  Tomorrow threatens a different challenge with storms and rain.  Whatever next!

Julie Latimer-Jones

Foursomes (Suffolk names first )
Sharon Luckman & Alice Barlow lost to Amelia & Tracey Williamson 3/2;  Vanessa Bell & Vicki Inglis lost to Jo Herd & Jasmine Campbell 6/5;  Fiona Edmond & Lottie Whyman bt Jo Ashmore & Ellie Brown 6/5.
Whyman bt Amelia Williamson; Barlow bt Amy Taylor 2/1;  Edmond halved with Campbell;  Lils James lost to Imogen Leeder 3/2;  Luckman lost to Tiffany Mills 3/2;  Bell bt Tracey Williamson 2up.

Final Result:  Suffolk 4.5, Norfolk 4.5

In the other matches:  Essex bt Cambs & Hunts 8 matches to 1;  Bedfordshire bt Herts 6 matches to 3.

County Match Week Day 2:  Suffolk beat Bedfordshire 5.5 to 3.5


Suffolk narrowly beat Bedfordshire on the second day of County Match Week at Hunstanton.   Once again the Suffolk team did well in the morning foursomes, taking two of the three points on offer in closely fought matches.  This result put them in a good position going out in the singles after lunch.   They fashioned the three wins they needed to take the overall match point and, anchoring the side, Sharon Luckman added a half against Bethany Healey to put some icing on the cake.  

The other two matches finished with exactly the same result:  Norfolk beat Essex and Hertfordshire beat Cambs & Hunts.  It's hard to remember a time when all the day's results were the same.    So, things are very close at the moment and, if it carries on in the same vein, there could be a nail-biting finish at the end of the week to decide which team will go through to the County Finals from the East Region.  

Tomorrow, Suffolk takes on Norfolk, Cambs & Hunts play Essex and Bedfordshire face Hertfordshire.  

Results (Suffolk names first).  
Foursomes: Lottie Whyman & Fiona Edmond bt Annabel Pitts & Sophie Hillier 1 up;  Alice Barlow & Sharon Luckman bt Sally Shayler & Bethany Healey 1 up; Vanessa Bell & Lils James lost to Bridie Quinn & Gill Westgate 3/1.
Singles:  Barlow bt Georgia Startocski 4/3;  Whyman bt Steph Scott 4/3;  Edmond bt Dawn French 2/1;  Bell lost to Pitts 4/2;  Abbie Symonds lost to Shayler 4/3;  Luckman halved with Healey.  
Final Result:  Suffolk 5.5, Bedfordshire 3.5.  Tomorrow Suffolk will play Norfolk.  Start times 9.18 and 2.16.

Julie Latimer-Jones 


County Match Week Day 1:  Suffolk halved with Essex, 4.5 each.


Captain, Vanessa Bell, says:  “We had a good start to the week completing the three morning foursomes matches two-one up.  This afternoon proved to be a little trickier. The wind had picked up and happily gave some respite to the heat we have been experiencing.   Vicky Inglis (Captain for the day and therefore allowed to give advice since Vanessa was playing) and our President, Hermione Scrope, have been brilliant in keeping everyone hydrated out on the course.  Fiona Stokes (Junior County player) caddied for Fiona Edmond this morning and really enjoyed being involved."

It is interesting that the team was disappointed with a halved match overall but it is a sign of how much they have improved and what they expect of themselves.  Not that long ago a half against Essex would have been a really good result. 

Singles Details:  Champion Alice Barlow halved the top match against Sophie Madden.  On the plus side, Lottie Whyman and Abbie Symonds both captured their points.  Vanessa said she had a bad afternoon with the putter and was unhappy to lose her match againt Bella Jay (2/1).  Fiona Edmond, having been three up with four to play, unfortunately lost to Megan Henry (1 down) while Sharon Luckman was pleased to make it to sixteen against Lily Humphreys.  

Results (Suffolk names first)
Foursomes:  Fiona Edmond & Lottie Whyman bt Lily Humphreys & Harriet Lynch 1 up; Alice Barlow & Sharon Luckman lost to Bella Jay & Katy Yates 1 down; Vanessa Bell & Lils James bt Sophie Madden & Ashley Croft 1 up.
Singles:  Barlow halved with Madden;  Whyman bt Faye Trigg 4/3;  Edmond lost to Megan Henry 1 down;  Bell lost to Bella Jay 2/1;  Abbie Symonds bt Yates 3/2;  Luckman lost to Humphreys 3/2.  
Final Result:  Suffolk 4.5, Essex 4.5.

Norfolk beat Hertfordshire 5 matches to 4.