Garnett on Golf: Plenty of competition for spots in Suffolk squad next year

Chris Fleming, the former Cornwall county player from Perranporth, who is now at Ipswich Golf Club.

Chris Fleming, the former Cornwall county player from Perranporth, who is now at Ipswich Golf Club. Photograph: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Suffolk men’s winter training squad includes the players who disappointed in the Eastern Counties Foursomes and Anglian League. They are joined at Hintlesham by new faces who add to the competition for first and second team places.

Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club at the time of the England Ladies’ County Championship finals. Picture: C

Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club at the time of the England Ladies County Championship finals. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

Sam Debenham (Hintlesham), Suffolk Open champion in 2016, looks set to return to county golf after a lengthy absence. Also returning is Josh Cottrell (Ipswich) who hopes to reclaim his first team place after an absence.

Chris Fleming, who played for Cornwall before moving to East Anglia, could be a strong challenger. A member at Perranporth, he was runner-up in the Cornwall amateur championship in 2016 and a county first team player. He did not play in Cornwall this year.

Nineteen-year-old Adam Sheldrake (Felixstowe Ferry) is in the squad for the first time. He played as a junior at the Kloof Country Club near Durban and his handicap was plus one. CONGU do not accept handicaps from South African or the United States.

Sheldrake will miss the first training session on January 7 because he will be on a family holiday. He may well then play some events in South Africa before the season starts in England.

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Players currently at university in Great Britain (Monty Scowsill at Exeter and Jack Forgan at Stirling) and Gregor Tait, who attends the Seton Hall University in New Jersey, will all be challenging for places next year.

County captain Jack Cardy (Hintlesham) hopes that a fresh approach to preparing for the season will reap dividends. There will be extra emphasis on foursomes play.

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Paul Waring (Felixstowe Ferry) will be a key player for Suffolk while James Biggs, the amateur champion from Diss, had some good results this year.

The Suffolk training squad is: Chris Bartrum, James Biggs, Sam Byford, Jack Cardy, Josh Cottrell, Sam Debenham, Josh Driver, Chris Duffy, Chris Fleming, Jack Forgan, Jasper Johnson, Nathan Overton, Josh Robertson, Ben Sayers, Monty Scowsill, Adam Sheldrake, Calvin Sherwood, Gregor Tait, James Tyler and Paul Waring.

Juniors, including reigning Suffolk Open champion Alfie Halil (Flempton) and Suffolk match play Louis Martin (Haverhill) will be very much in line for selection although they do their winter training with the top junior squad under SGU head coach Keith Preston at Aldeburgh. Suffolk will keep an open mind over county selection which depend on current form at the time.

Habebul Islam (Ipswich), who plays off plus one, is not currently involved in Suffolk coaching although he is preparing for the coming season with regular work in the gym and practice at Felixstowe Ferry and Ipswich.

He will be entering many national events in 2018 with high hopes of doing well in the Carris Trophy. He plans to play in the Boys’ Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush in August having had experience in the same event at Nairn this year.

Even though he may not be involved with the Anglian League, it is good for Suffolk to have a talented young representative at so many important events flying the flag for the county.

- Felixstowe Ferry Golf Club is on the short list for the England Golf Championship venue of the year award following the impressive way they hosted the English Ladies’ County finals in September.

They are in competition with Goswick Golf Club in Northumberland who staged the English Senior men’s county championships and Manchester Golf Club who hosted the Reid Trophy (England boys’ open under 14).

The presentations will be made at the awards dinner on February 22 at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.

Lily May Humphreys of Stoke by Nayland is in the running for the Performance of the Year after winning the British Girls’, English Women’s and European Young Masters titles.

Her short game coach is Roly Hitchcock at Stoke by Nayland and she is in line for a place in the Curtis Cup.

She will be up against Tommy Fleetwood (European Tour), Alfie Plant, who won the European Amateur Championship and won the silver medal as leading amateur who made the cut in the Open Championship, and the England women’s team which won the European title for the second successive year.

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