Tony Garnett gives his take the forthcoming Stenson Shield semi finals at Halesworth Golf Club
Ipswich can, on paper at any rate, field the strongest Stenson Shield team in Saturday’s semi-finals. That, however, does not guarantee victory over Woodbridge at Halesworth where the fast greens will suit the most accomplished putters.
Ipswich team captain Peter Brady is away so the duty falls to Andy Savage who has done well in this role in the past. Their squad includes Paul Barnard whose family were the former owners of Halesworth. They may also call on Shaun Gordon, the former champion at North Berwick who plays off plus two.
Ipswich knocked out holders Diss in the first round and then beat Hintlesham and Thorpeness. All these ties were at Purdis Heath.
It has been a different story for Woodbridge, who were drawn away at Bungay and then at Rushmere where they won 7-5. It could have been different if Rushmere’s champion, Kevin Eagle, had not been forced to miss the tie after being bitten by a dog. Woodbridge will need their county players, Nathan Overton, Robert Salter, Jasper Johnson and Monty Scowsill to be at their best.
Felixstowe Ferry will miss Mark Fosker, Toby Spink and Billy MacLeod for their tie against Haverhill at Stowmarket. Team captain Nigel Fosker can still field an experienced team with Paul Waring and Rhodri Harston as key players. Felixstowe sailed through home ties against Gorleston and Bury St Edmunds.
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Haverhill have Chris Vince and Lewis Whiting as their stars, supported by solid club players, most of whom have guided their club into the final of the Hambro Cup where they will meet Newton Green at Bury St Edmunds on August 30.
Team captain Liam Merritt won the handicap prize at the Suffolk Open. They beat the competitive Newton Green narrowly and then survived a trip to Waldringfield. They are battle-hardened.
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