Suffolk win East Ladies County week title to progress to England County Finals

The winning Suffolk team in East Ladies’ County Week. Back (from left): Lils James, Alice Barlow, Lo

The winning Suffolk team in East Ladies County Week. Back (from left): Lils James, Alice Barlow, Lottie Whyman, Vicki Inglis, Abbie Symonds and Fiona Edmond. Front: Sharon Luckman (vice-captain) Vanessa Bell (captain, with the Doris Abrahams Trophy) and Kevin Lovelock (PGA coach). - Credit: Archant

Suffolk defeated Hertfordshire in their final match in East Ladies’ County Week at Hunstanton to take the title for the first time in its present format.

Now Suffolk go forward to represent the East in the England county finals against five rivals from South, South West, North, Midlands (South) and Midlands (North).

This event will be staged at Felixstowe Ferry between September 18 and 22. Each region takes it in turn to act as hosts. Last year’s final, won by Gloucestershire, was at Waterlooville. Norfolk finished third.

It was a tremendous achievement by team captain Vanessa Bell and her players brought about by brilliant preparation and a great team spirit. There was no sentiment. Suffolk used just eight players and always tried to field the strongest possible formation.

Bell summed up: “I am absolutely thrilled to bits. The team was fantastic, incredibly supportive and, of course, they played well. I am proud and honoured to be their captain.

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“My aim was always to get everyone on the same page and, of course, we all wanted to win.

“As a team event we had to do it together. We certainly did that.

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“I was given a book about different Ryder Cup captains, what they did and how their teams responded.

“What I took from it was that everyone had to be on board. You had to have a passion that the team bought into and an openness so everyone knew where they stood. It worked.”

County loyalty was the key to success. Bell insisted that her players should stay at Hunstanton all week. Norfolk and Essex released their young stars on Thursday and Friday to play in the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters in Kent. It proved costly.

Suffolk Ladies’ president Hermione Scrope, a member at Flempton Golf Club, was supporting the team at Hunstanton all week.

On Saturday she was cheering on The Tin Man in the Group One Diamond Jubilee Sakes at Royal Ascot. She is a member of the Fred Archer Racing-Ormonde partnership.

The Tin Man won and then survived a stewards’ enquiry. It has been a memorable week for Hermione.

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