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Chris Boughton’s golf column: Bury Golf Club in Hambro Cup first round derby

WINNERS: Bury St Edmunds GC are reigning Hambro Cup champions and face a home derby with Flempton to kick start their 2018 defence of the tournament
WINNERS: Bury St Edmunds GC are reigning Hambro Cup champions and face a home derby with Flempton to kick start their 2018 defence of the tournament

The draw has been made for the 2018Suffolk County Golf Union team knockout competitions with round one of the Hambro and Tolly Cups scheduled for Sunday, April 29.

Bury St Edmunds Golf Club, winners of the Hambro Cup for the past two years, have a local derby in the first round when they entertain Flempton at home. Last year they also started off with a local home match when they narrowly beat The Suffolk by four holes.

This year should be another close local encounter. Although Bury will be the favourites as reigning champions, Flempton will have Alfie Halil the 2017 Suffolk Champion to boost their team.

The Suffolk have a first-round bye this time and will have home advantage in a tough match against Ipswich (Purdis Heath) in round two on June 17.

Stowmarket also have home advantage against Diss in their first-round match.

The Hambro Cup is for players with handicaps under 10.

Bury GC will also enjoy home advantage in their first round Tolly Cup (10-18hcp) match against Aldeburgh Artisans on April 29.

Bury were runners-up in the Tolly in 2017 with a run of convincing wins before losing to Ufford Park in the final at Rookery Park. They will be hoping for another good run and should be strong contenders again this year.

Flempton have a very challenging encounter at Felixstowe in their first-round match whilst the Suffolk have a bye.

Stowmarket host Brett Vale.

There is another local derby in the first round of the Stenson Shield (played off scratch) with Stowmarket travelling to The Suffolk on Saturday, May 26.

The winners will host Bury in round two on Saturday, June 23.

Flempton and Bury both have first-round byes. Bury were runners-up in 2017 and were only beaten in a playoff, by Aldeburgh, in the Stenson final.

Suffolk County Seniors

The draw has also been published for the Suffolk County Seniors’ Inter-club four ball better ball handicap competitions for 2018.

The Parks and Beaumont Trophies are held annually and are open to all clubs affiliated to the Suffolk Golf Union.

Players must be amateurs and a minimum of 55 years of age with at least two players in each team, aged 65 years of age or over on the day of the competition

The matches consist of four pairs playing over 18 holes with the aggregate of holes, up and down, used to decide the winning team.

The maximum handicap for the Parks Trophy is 12 and the Beaumont a handicap range of 13 to 20.

The stroke allowance is 90 per cent of the difference taken from the player with the lowest handicap.

In the Parks Trophy first round this year, Stowmarket are at home to Halesworth and Bury will host Bungay & Waveney Valley.

Flempton have a first-round bye and the Suffolk have not entered a team.

Stowmarket made it to the quarter-finals last year and Bury were knocked out in the semis by the eventual winners Ipswich.

The matches will be played week commencing May 21.

In the Beaumont Trophy first round it will be a repeat of last year’s final with Bury taking on Brett Vale. Bury won by eight holes at a neutral venue (Stowmarket) in 2017 and will enjoy home advantage this year (exact dates for the first round to be arranged for week commencing May 14).

All our local clubs have home advantage in the first round, with The Suffolk hosting Halesworth, Stowmarket entertaining Southwold and Flempton against Cretingham.

West of the county teams fared well in this competition last year with the Suffolk and Stow reaching the quarter-finals as well as Bury winning the trophy.

Suffolk Winter Alliance

The 2017 Christmas Suffolk Winter Alliance meeting was held at Ufford Park with a chilly start followed by clear skies and sunshine.

The course was reported to be in fine condition for the competing 85 golfers with surprisingly quick greens.

The Professional prize was won by Stuart Robertson from the host club with a score of 83.

The main fourball betterball competition was won by the Haverhill pairing of Ryan and James Hastie with 40 points.

Sam Forgan still leads the way in the Professionals’ Order of Merit table with 20 points followed by fellow Stowmarket golfer Alex Davey. Dean Fairweather lies third.

Forgan also leads the main Order of Merit with 208 points followed by Richard Bland (Stoke-by-Nayland) and James Hastie (Haverhill) who both have 198.

Last year’s champion Ian Benson (Stoke-by-Nayland) is not far behind in fourth place on 196.

The next meeting is a Pro-Am at Bungay and Waveney Golf Club this Sunday (January 7).

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