Suffolk clinched the East Ladies’ golf title and that victory owed a lot to the loyalty of several members of the ladies team. Fiona Edmond chose to support Suffolk despite having the option of play at the English Senior Ladies’ Open Strokeplay Championship at Harpenden while Lottie Whyman, who is currently undefeated, didn’t even think about playing anywhere else and she was the star player for Suffolk and came away with eight wins and one-half in a foursomes match.
The odds were in favour of Norfolk on Thursday morning and were already on top of the table with matches against the weaker counties, Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire, remaining. Because of this, they allowed their champion and runner-up, Amelia Williamson and Amy Taylor, to leave the squad and participated in the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters. Both ended up not making the cut in Kent but it was in the match between Norfolk and Bedfordshire where a major upset was waiting.
Suffolk, having breezed past Cambridgeshire, were now in the top position but still needed to with their last match against Hertfordshire to secure the title. However, it was far from plain sailing and the strong winds didn’t help. After the foursomes, Suffolk were leading 2-1 but Barlow’s loss in the top singles and Edmond’s in match 3 ensured that it would be a nervy finish. Whyman remained as cool as ever and didn’t put a foot wrong, leaving it to the captain, Vanessa Bell, and the vice-captain, Sharon Luckman, to capture the needed points. It was an easy win for Bell and as Luckman sunk a birdie putt on the fifteenth, the celebrations were ready to begin for the Suffolk players. The results took the pressure off of Abbie Symonds who easily won the half against Hertfordshire captain, Kelly Hutcherson.
Next year’s event will be held at Woodbridge where Suffolk will have to defend their title. The finals will start on September 18th at Felixstowe Ferry where five teams which will be chosen to represent the Midlands, South West, North and South will come to Suffolk. It has been 26 years since the last English Ladies’ county finals were held in Suffolk. That was at the Ipswich Golf Club where Glamorgan emerged victorious. The finals have been held at many top courses since 1953 and Felixstowe Ferry will be following in the footsteps of Hillside, Hunstanton, Lindrick etc.