Fingers crossed for Suffolk County

GOLF: Twice running, in 2000 and 2001, Suffolk's county team has failed by a meagre half point to win the Norfolk Bowl and move to the second phase of the English County Championship.

GOLF

TWICE running, in 2000 and 2001, Suffolk's county team has failed by a meagre half point to win the Norfolk Bowl and move to the second phase of the English County Championship.

Hoping it will be a case of third time lucky, the team, sponsored by ReadytoBook.com, this week travels to South Beds Golf Club on the northern edge of Luton.

Tomorrow the players face their familiar opponents, Bedfordshire, the combined team of Cambs & Hunts on Wednesday and Norfolk on Thursday's final day.

This schedule is a repeat of last year's when Norfolk produced a strong performance at Felixstowe to finish at the head of affairs.

If Suffolk needed an incentive, it might be that the second phase of the Championship will be held at Woodbridge in late June, and, apart from the sheer delight of winning, the team would dearly like the opportunity to play on home soil. There is a good chance of success.

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Sue Birrell, absent last year in the cause of her daughter's exams, strengthens the side considerably, and Lil James (Rookery Park) is a newcomer who seems to have a good temperament and a strong all-round game.

Emma Jukes, a year older and more experienced, plays in her second County week and the rest, Champion, Alex Boatman, Amanda Hockley, Sharon Luckman, Hannah Rees and Liz Steadman, are seasoned performers, determined and with the will and the know-how to win.

The crucial point, of course, is not how good Suffolk's team is, but how strong their opponents are this year.

Although Bedfordshire have propped up the results list more times than oft, they are always capable of putting up stern resistance and have been known to catch their opposition by surprise.

For the rest, Cambs & Hunts and Norfolk always provide a stern test and only one thing is certain: whichever county wins, they will have earned their success.

SUFFOLK'S Seniors beat Norfolk Seniors by three matches to one at Rookery Park on Wednesday, redressing the balance of last year's result.

It was Suffolk's second victory of the season in the friendly, four-ball-better-ball matches played among the counties of the Eastern region.

The players are enjoying the keenly fought but stress-free matches, meeting people they have encountered for years during the English County Championship.

Results (Suffolk names first):

Hazel Dodsworth/Jillian Jacobs lost to Judy McKinnono/Betty Cooper 6/4;

Marie Yapp/Mary Pacy beat Gill Henson-Andrews/ Margaret Macrae 2up; Diane Glasswell/Judi Walker beat Jenny Tyler/ Brenda Sadd 4/3; Pippa Beak/Julie Latimer-Jones beat Betty Rossi/ Gillian Ley 7/6