The 2014 County Team:  (Back Row left to right)  Lottie Whyman, 
Vanessa Bell, Mrs Ann Graves (President), Sharon Luckman, 
Abbie Symmonds.  (Front row left to right) Lils James, 
Sarah Saggers (Acting Captain), Blaize Esmond, Eloise Aldous
 and Sarah Howe.   Alice Barlow unfortunately was not available when
 the photograph was taken, but she was also a valued member of the team.
At the time of the County Championships Suffolk looked forward to County Match Week with twelve players on the team list and high hopes of coming away with a pretty successful record.   The demands of five days of 36-hole golf are great and a dozen players would allow the captain to rotate them, bringing fresh legs to the course with comparative ease.  In the event, Sarah Saggers stepped out of the playing line-up and into the Captain’s role while Laura Lowe recovered from an operation, Vicki Inglis dropped out being unable to take time off work and Lily Kent was only able to play on the first day because a work opportunity came up and she needed to take advantage of it.   In consequence, respite time was limited with eight players needed on the playing sheet every day and, no matter your age or fitness, it’s difficult to keep producing your best game under those circumstances.
Suffolk had two rookies in the team in Abbie Symmonds and Lottie Whyman.   Both grasped their chance with both hands and with evident enjoyment.   Two other juniors who made their debut last year, Eloise Aldous and Alice Barlow seemed entirely comfortable, while Sarah Howe and Blaize Esmond returned to the fray after a gap year and looked as if they’d never been away.   Vanessa Bell, Sharon Luckman and Lils James played quite exceptional golf and notched up many match points between them.  No one could complain about the commitment of any of them and the team spirit was great to see.
Hertfordshire, the eventual winners of the East’s representative place in the County Finals won all five matches over the week. Even the mighty Essex had no answer to their immaculate golf.   Essex played themselves into second place with four match wins;  Norfolk, who included a couple of early teenagers in their team, won three times and Suffolk finished in fourth place with two wins, ahead of Bedfordshire and the hosts Cambs & Hunts.
The Gogs Wandlebury course is rolling, wide and well presented with some punishing rough alongside.   Its half way house is great, situated as it is about a mile from the Clubhouse.   Manned all week by friendly ladies dispensing tea, coffee and luscious cakes, it might well have been named ‘The Welcome Break’.
Along with a huge thank you to everyone who caddied at The Gogs or came to support, Sarah Saggers asks you all to note the dates for County Match Week 2015 in your diary:  22-26 June at Chigwell, Essex.   Just as at the closing of The OIympic Games, we call on all Suffolk golfers to join us there!
Julie Latimer-Jones

For reports and results for the 5 days of County Match Week, click here