Stearn trophy is heading to Stoke

STEARN GOLFING FINALSTOKE by Nayland took all three points to win the Stearn Trophy against Ipswich at Woodbridge. It is 10 years since Stoke's name last appeared on the trophy and their success was a major consolation for the club's defeat in the final of the Cranworth Trophy.

STEARN GOLFING FINAL

STOKE by Nayland took all three points to win the Stearn Trophy against Ipswich at Woodbridge. It is 10 years since Stoke's name last appeared on the trophy and their success was a major consolation for the club's defeat in the final of the Cranworth Trophy.

As with the Haskell, the format of the Stearn Trophy is foursomes play over 36 holes, but with three pairs instead of one and for players with handicaps between 12 and 20.

Stoke by Nayland and Ipswich were well-matched with very little between them in handicaps.


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Stoke's first pair, Laura Lowe and Catriona Chaplin, had an adventurous first 18 holes. They went four down early on, climbed rapidly back to square and then made it to two up, but were hauled back to all square at 18 by determined play from their Ipswich opponents, Valerie Mallett and Vanessa Law.

Perhaps, after so much effort, it was understandable that the standard of golf flagged a little in the second round, but the match was still closely fought and the teams were all square after 15. Sixteen went Stoke's way and they polished off the match at 17 with a one-over-par five.

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The Ipswich vice-captain, Vivien Parker, and Rosalie Skinner had a great battle with Pamela Randle and Di Hitchcock. The latter were ahead by a meagre one hole at lunchtime. Ipswich eventually found themselves two up with two to play and must have felt confident. However, they lost 17 and their hearts must have been beating a little faster when Di Hitchcock stepped up with a chance to draw level at the 36th by way of a four-footer. The ball wriggled in the hole and dropped.

The players shook hands, unaware that they had to play to a conclusion. Down the 37th then. Stoke's ball lay beyond the pin in three, leaving them an uphill putt. Ipswich had found the greenside bunker in two. The bunker proved decisive and inescapable and Stoke pocketed a second point in dramatic fashion.

Playing at No. 3 for Stoke, Mel Went and Sandra Hodge seemed to be having a walk in the park, finding themselves five up at lunch and moving to six up not long afterwards.

But their Ipswich opponents, Hilary Bray and Veronica Warner, were not to be defeated that easily. Steadily they worked their way back until Stoke were only two up going down the 35th. Once again, as so often, the 17th caused trouble, but this time for the challengers.

Ipswich got themselves into all sorts of bother and Stoke ran out the winners by three and one.

Results

Stoke by Nayland 3, Ipswich 0 (Stoke names first): Laura Lowe & Catriona Chaplin bt Valerie Mallett & Vaness Law 2 & 1; Pamela Randle & Di Hitchcock bt Rosalie Skinner & Vivien Parker at the 37th; Mel Went & Sandra Hodge bt Hilary Bray & Veronica Warner 3 & 1.

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