Hosts Suffolk were celebrating today after they pulled off a fairytale win on the second day of Women’s County Finals at Felixstowe Ferry.
In the day’s other matches, Gloucestershire’s teenagers pulled out the stops in the singles, beating Hampshire 5.5-3.5 for their second win; while Yorkshire continued to dominate their games, beat Nottinghamshire 8.5-0.5.
Suffolk’s 5-4 win over Buckinghamshire – secured with a 17th hole birdie from Amanda Norman – was a huge turnaround. Yesterday, they lost 8-1, this morning they trailed 2-1 after the foursomes.
But this afternoon they hit top form as they settled into the event, where they’re making their first appearance for 22 years. County champion Alice Barlow got the ball rolling with four birdies and a 9/7 win. Lottie Whyman soon followed with a 6/4 win, helped by four consecutive birdies from the seventh. Then Abbie Symonds took them to within touching distance with her 5/4 win.
Meanwhile, Deeya Aggarwal and Georgina Bowers put points on the board for Buckinghamshire. The teams were tied with four points apiece and the players in the final game were all square after 15, but Amanda Norman won the 16th with a par and the 17th with a birdie to start Suffolk’s celebrations (pictured top).
“It was nerve-wracking,” said Norman, who was tempted out of a five-year retirement from county golf to play on her home course. “It’s a great feeling and I’m really pleased we have managed to get a win under our belt.”
Team captain Vanessa Bell added: “It is so exciting, we’re thrilled to get a win on the board and it’s the confidence boost we need.” The win moves them up to third in the table, behind Yorkshire and Gloucestershire, the defending champions.
Gloucestershire took two points from the foursomes and then clinched their win over Hampshire with three big wins from young players.
Alex Giles, 17 and Caley McGinty, 16, each notched up 7/5 wins and were soon followed by 14-year-old Ffion Tynan, who took the team safely over the line with her 5/4 win. The result was further improved when Claudia Ovens, 19, squeezed a half out of her game.
Team captain Andra Knight commented: “We are delighted to have got our win. Hampshire came at us very strongly and the golf in the top match was amazing, really top class.”
That game went Hampshire’s way when former Curtis Cup player Kerry Smith won on the last to secure her second point of the day.
Yorkshire, who are seeking their 13th win at County Finals, continued their impressive progress through the championship.
They did concede a half point in the morning foursomes, when Rachel Boulton and Libby Kilbride found a chink in the Yorkshire armour. The Nottinghamshire pair were one down playing the last but, thanks to Kilbride’s mastery of the slopes on a daunting putt, they won the hole with a par.
Yorkshire coach Steve Robinson fine-tuned his team’s putting with a lunchtime session and they returned to the course to dominate the singles.
Olivia Winning and Charlotte Heath both produced comfortable 4/3 wins, but elsewhere the team was proving how good they are at finishing off.
Megan Lockett won the top game on the 18th, in a match where she birdied four out of five holes and her opponent Lauren Spray had three in five holes.
Megan Garland got ahead early on with a birdie on the 7th and an eagle on the 8th, where she holed a putt the full length of the green. After 15 she was dormy three up, but her opponent Rachel Boulton took her to the last to earn her point.
Melissa Wood won her game 3/1 while Hannah Holden fought back from one down after 15 to win on the 18th.
Team captain Fran Dickson said: “It was tight this morning and they had to improve their chipping and putting. But they had a lots of practice at lunchtime and they fought very hard this afternoon when they needed to.”
Tomorrow’s order of play:
Match 1 Suffolk v Yorkshire
Match 2 Nottinghamshire v Hampshire
Match 3 Gloucestershire v Buckinghamshire
Images copyright Leaderboard Photography