Gloucestershire will defend their title next week when the English women’s county championship is played at Felixstowe Ferry, Suffolk.
They won for the first time last year, on their sixth consecutive appearance at County Finals. Now, the South West side again face the challenge of teams from the other five England Golf women’s regions, including the host county of Suffolk, representing the East.
The other title contenders are Buckinghamshire from Midlands South, Hampshire from the South, Nottinghamshire from Midlands North and Yorkshire from the North.
The title of English women’s county champions is one of the most sought-after and the five-day round robin tournament is always a great show of passion and fine golf. It takes place from Monday to Friday, 18-22 September.
Suffolk and Buckinghamshire are seeking their first title; Nottinghamshire won for the first time in 2015; Hampshire have won four times, most recently in 2014; and Yorkshire have been champions 12 times, most recently in 2013.
Players include Suffolk’s Fiona Edmond, who was an England and GB&I international 25 years ago, before illness, six children and work put a stop to her golf. She returned to the game about three years ago, won the English senior women’s title at her first attempt in May and has just helped England win the silver medal at the European senior women’s team championship.
Yorkshire’s Rochelle Morris and Hampshire’s Kerry Smith have both played in the Curtis Cup, while Olivia Winning (Yorkshire) is another international and the two-time winner of the Scottish open stroke play championship.
Buckinghamshire’s Thalia Kirby and Daisy Kennedy were in the successful England U16 girls’ team which recently took on Switzerland. Thalia was also runner-up in the English U16 girls’ championship.
Gloucestershire have seven members of last year’s winning side in the nine-strong team for their title defence. Nottinghamshire, meanwhile, return with five of the players involved in their successful 2015 team, including two members of the England Golf staff – Women and Girls’ Participation Manager Lauren Spray and Nottinghamshire Club Support Officer Emily Cheshire.
Buckinghamshire – Deeya Aggarwal, Georgina Bowers, Victoria Bryan, Julia Gallagher, Denise Goodacre, Daisy Kennedy, Thalia Kirby, Alice Kozlowski, Chloe Li and Susanna Mitterer. Captain Sue Ashworth.
Gloucestershire – Grace Connelly, Alex Giles, Alison Kelly, Ebonie Lewis, Caley McGinty, Claudia Ovens, Sam Round, Alex Saunders and Ffion Tynan. Captain Andra Knight.
Hampshire – Louise Caplen, Raffi Dyer, Sammi Keen, Flora Keites, Georgie Mundy, Adrian Mylrea, Aimee Paterson, Kerry Smith and Kelly Travers. Captain Kay Walshe.
Nottinghamshire – Emma Anderson, Rachel Boulton, Emily Cheshire, Caron Harrison, Carol Houghton, Emma Howie, Libby Kilbride, Kristina Lazarevic, Glenys Priestley, Lauren Spray and Carol Wild. Captain Helen Maber.
Suffolk – Alice Barlow, Vanessa Bell, Fiona Edmond, Victoria Inglis, Lils James, Sharon Luckman, Amanda Norman, Abbie Symonds, Lottie Whyman, Joanne Woodwood. Captain Vanessa Bell.
Yorkshire – Mia Eales-Smith, Megan Garland, Charlotte Heath, Hannah Holden, Megan Lockett, Rochelle Morris, Nicola Slater, Olivia Winning and Melissa Wood. Captain Fran Dickson.
Order of play:
Monday 18 September
Match 1 Nottinghamshire v Buckinghamshire
Match 2Gloucestershire v Suffolk
Match 3Hampshire v Yorkshire
Tuesday 19 September
Match 1 Gloucestershire v Hampshire
Match 2Buckinghamshire v Suffolk
Match 3Yorkshire v Nottinghamshire
Wednesday 20 September
Match 1Suffolk v Yorkshire
Match 2Nottinghamshire v Hampshire
Match 3Gloucestershire v Buckinghamshire
Thursday 21 September
Match 1 Nottinghamshire v Gloucestershire
Match 2Buckinghamshire v Yorkshire
Match 3Hampshire v Suffolk
Friday 22 September
Match 1 Hampshire v Buckinghamshire
Match 2Yorkshire v Gloucestershire
Match 3 Suffolk v Nottinghamshire
Click here for the results
Image: Gloucestershire’s victory celebrations (copyright Leaderboard Photography)