Suffolk make a winning start in league

SUFFOLK opened their Anglian League programme with a victory over Cambridgeshire by seven-and-a-half matches to four-and-a-half in wet conditions at Saffron Walden.

By Tony Garnett

SUFFOLK opened their Anglian League programme with a victory over Cambridgeshire by seven-and-a-half matches to four-and-a-half in wet conditions at Saffron Walden.

Trailing after the foursomes, Suffolk bounced back to win six of the eight singles, which was a comprehensive turnaround.

The fact that Jamie Abbott of Fynn Valley, a member of the England A squad, lost 4 & 3 to the veteran Lee Yearn can be explained by the fact that Yearn was six under par at the time of his victory. Abbott was playing well but could not match a player in such blistering form.

Brad Wilkins of Fynn Valley and Michael Swan of Stoke by Nayland teamed up to beat Cambridgeshire captain Jody Greenall and James Mynott in the foursomes. Both Wilkins and Swan also enjoyed singles successes.

Chris Smith (Fynn Valley) and James Reiss (Aldeburgh) halved their foursomes match but they, too, won their singles with Smith battling back from three down to win on the last green. Reiss can feel happy with his one-and-a-half points on his county debut,

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County champion Alex Holmes of Gorleston made a slow start to his singles but his birdies on the 16th and 17th were matched by his opponent.



At Saffron Walden (Cambridgeshire names first).

Foursomes: L Yearn & S Jarvis bt J Abbott & L Brace 4 & 3. J Greenall & J Mynott lost to B Wilkins & M Swan 3 & 2. E Conduit & A Pike halved with C Smith & J Reiss. S Phillips & B Kerr bt W Wright & A Holmes 3 & 2.

Singles: Mynott lost to Wilkins 3 & 2, Yearn bt Abbott 4 & 3, Jarvis lost to Swan 3 & 2, Pike lost to Reiss 3 & 2, Phillips lost to L Brace 4 & 2, Kerr bt Holmes 2 & 1, Greenall lost to Wright 3 & 2, Conduit lost to Smith one down.

The Suffolk second team shared the honours with Cambridgeshire over the Constable course at Stoke by Nayland. also in rainy conditions.

Teenager Alastair Hall of Bungay partnered Scott Brace to Suffolk's only win in the foursomes. Then he scored a 5 & 3 victory over Andy McAllister to complete an encouraging debut.

Scott Brace also won his singles on the last green after a keen tussle with Ollie Bance.

Kevin Eagle of Rushmere and Rhodri Harston of Felixstowe Ferry halved the top foursomes with Craig Russell, a former Scottish schoolboy who was plus four in his heyday, and Nick Moore. Eagle then beat Moore 3 and 2 in the singles but Harston lost at the top of the order.

The final match on course saw Andy Collett of Bury St Edmunds three down with six to play against David Milburn. Collett battled back, finding the green with his drive on the par-four 16th. In the end Milburn needed an excellent up-and-down on the last green for a half to avoid defeat.


SUFFOLK 2nd 6 CAMBS 2nd 6

At Stoke by Nayland (Constable course). Suffolk names first.

Foursomes: K Eagle & R Harston halved with C Russell & N Moore. S Brace & A Hall bt S Malone & D Milburn 3 & 1. A Collett & H Dobson lost to O Bance & A McAllister 4 & 3. O Pearl & D Housman lost to J Edwards & E Fletcher 6 & 4.

Singles: Harston lost to Malone 3 & 2, Eagle bt Moore 3 & 2, S Brace bt Bance one up, Hall bt McAllister 5 & 3, Pearl bt Edwards one up, Housman lost to Fletcher 4 and 2, Dobson lost to Russell 4 & 3, Collett halved with Milburn.

Suffolk have not considered any of the six players taking part in the 60th Brabazon Trophy at Forest of Arden this week for the Eastern Counties Foursomes at Seacroft on Saturday and Sunday.

Jamie Moul of Stoke by Nayland, still leading the Royal & Ancient world rankings, and Jamie Abbott (Fynn Valley) who finished in the top 20 last year, are among the 75 players not required to pre-qualify.

Tomorrow's qualifying round at Forest of Arden sees Bradley Wilkins (Fynn Valley) tee off at 7.50am. Liam Brace has an 8.50 start. On Thursday Scott Brace starts at 8.40, Dale Whitnell (Five Lakes) at 9.0, Michael Swan (Stoke by Nayland) at 11.30 together with Alex Holmes (Gorleston).

There are 240 players hoping to qualify. The leading 32 plus ties go through each day.

The main competition starts on Friday with Moul having an early 7.50 start and Abbott able to have a lie-in with a 12.10 start. On Saturday Abbott tees off at 7.50 and Moul will be due on the tee at 12.20.

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