Garnett on Golf: Darling takes over as president at Suffolk Golf Union
Bill Darling of Stowmarket took over as the new president of the Suffolk Golf Union at the annual meeting held at Bury St Edmunds in conjunction with the President's Day better ball event.
He succeeds Colin Firmin and will serve two years when he will follow the fortunes of Joe Cardy’s Suffolk first team.
Colin Firmin, in the role of Past President, will have the same duties with Ben Sayers’ county second team.
Martin Youngs, a former Suffolk captain, has been named to take over as president in two years time.
Firmin said: “After a rather lean few years it is comforting to report that 2018 saw a vast improvement in performance following changes in the approach to coaching, support from our sponsors, Woodward Markwell, basing training at Hintlesham and playing most first team home matches there and at Diss for the second team. We are very grateful to those clubs for their support.
“For 2019 we start with a very strong squad of around 20 players including, for the first time, three juniors. With a majority of scratch or better players representing the county expectations are high under new captain Joe Cardy.
“Our Under 16 team had a great year, winning the Tom Finn Trophy, the Bob Bagshaw Trophy and the Northern Division of the England Golf SE Group League (against Norfolk and Essex). They were less fortunate in the final in Sussex against strong Hampshire and Hertfordshire teams.
“Suffolk junior champion, George Fricker, achieved a creditable third in the Boys’ Champion of Champions event at Woodhall Spa. Tyler Weaver won a place on the British Junior Golf Tour in Jakarta and Habebul Islam was selected for the England Boys’ squad for the Home Internationals.
The President’s Day better ball Stableford competition was won by Angela Leigh and Rhys Nightingale of West Suffolk Golf Centre with 43 Stableford points. Conditions were ideal.
The David Houston Salver for the junior order of merit was presented to Jack Butcher (Gorleston). The Dick Berendt Salver for the men’s order of merit went to Jed Seeley (Newton Green) and the Rees-Quinney Trophy for the player who collected most points in the Anglian League and Eastern Counties Foursomes was won by Calvin Sherwood (Rookery Park).
The Winstanley Trophy was awarded to James Biggs of Diss who became the first player, since the SGU was formed in 1924, to make a clean sweep of the Suffolk men’s trophies. He won the Macleod Cup for the Amateur Foursomes (with Chris Bartrum), the Todd Challenge up for the Amateur Championship, the President’s Mashie for the Amateur Matchplay and the Faraday Cup for the Open Championship.
Biggs was unable to attend President’s Day. The trophy will be presented later.
Biggs, Monty Scowsill of Aldeburgh and Jed Seeley of Newton Green are all playing in the Berkhamsted Trophy which starts on Thursday.
Others, whom Suffolk meet in the Anglian League, are Warren Bates and Dominic Clemons (Norfolk), Michael Farr and Charlie Salter (Northants), Coby Cartwright and George Raitt (Leicestershire), Ed Dimambro (Cambs) and Hugo Kedzlie (Lincs).
Biggs, thanks to his 11th place finish in the Italian Amateur Championship, has overtaken Habebul Islam in the World Amateur rankings. Biggs was up 541 places to be ranked 860. Habebul, who missed the cut, dropped 113 places to 983. Scowsill, thanks to final rounds of 72 and 69 at Acaya, was up 433 places to 1400.
Habebul’s next scheduled event is the French Junior Championship at Golf des Aisses on the Val de Loire starting on April 18 when he will meet most of the leading European juniors including several from England.
Simon Dainty swept the board in the final Felixstowe Ferry Winter Fourball event of the season. His round of seven under par 65 won the professional prize by five shots from the experienced Paul Maddy (Gog Magog).
Dainty and his two-handicap partner Sam Kinnane won the better ball with 45 Stableford points. They finished one point ahead of three rival pairs.
The other professional scores were: 72: Will Percival (Orsett), Louis Atkinson (Stock Brook). 73: Miles Collins (Stoke by Nayland). 80: Philip Wesley (Langdon Hills). No return: Andy Pestell (Chelmsford), Cai James (Colchester).
Selected four ball scores
45pts: Sam Kinnane and Simon Dainty.
44: Andrew Franklin and Keith Newnham, Joe Tatam and James Creighton, Louis Atkinson and Philip Rose.
43: Alan Connell and Sean Dolton.
41: Will Percival and Donald Vidgeon, Ian Carter and Paul Lankester.
40: Miles and Gerald Collins.
39: Alan and Paul Maddy.
38: Chris Ginn and Rod Powney.
35: John Blackmore and Cai James.
34: Jeff Waterson and Graham Vandervord.
30: Roger Cordy and Peter Miller.
Suffolk Seniors warm up for the new season, when they hope to regain the EADT Anglian League Shield, with a friendly against Kent at Ipswich Golf Club on Thursday.
The team is Stephen Whymark, Adrian Studd and Steve Mann (all Woodbridge), Roger Taylor and Nigel Robson (both Aldeburgh), Paul Buckle (Stowmarket), Steve Crosby (Gorleston), Steven Duffety (Bury St Edmunds and Graham Shillings (Halesworth).
Team captain Kevin Brooks (Hintlesham) has named himself as reserve.