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Watts retains Suffolk Junior Matchplay title

JUST CHAMPION: Harvey Watts receives his Suffolk Junior Matchplay trophy from county president Colin Firmin
JUST CHAMPION: Harvey Watts receives his Suffolk Junior Matchplay trophy from county president Colin Firmin

Harvey Watts, who plays off two, has continued his purple patch by retaining the Suffolk Junior Matchplay title at Bury St Edmunds.

The Newton Green 17-year-old beat Bungay and Waveney Valley’s Conal Downing as his opponent finally crumbled on the last hole of a closely-fought encounter.

The pair were level going up the last hole, but Downing’s wayward tee shot meant he could not recover to snatch the title from Watts, having to concede the hole.

Earlier in the day, by a similar margin, Watts had beaten Alfie Halil of Flempton in the semi-finals, and the previous day in the first round put out James Iron of Haverhill 8&6, before getting through the quarter-finals with an extra hole play-off win against Max Adams, of Bury St Edmunds.

Watts, who became joint course record holder at his home club a few weeks ago, was in the Newton team which finished sixth out of 30 teams in the recent England junior team championships at Woodhall Spa, and will be young enough to try to win the county title for a third time next year.

n Tibby Mimpriss held her nerve to record a nail-biting singles win fightback and see Newton Green women into the final of the Suffolk Cranworth Trophy.

The 26-handicapper, playing her first season in the competition, stormed back in her last few holes after being three down mid-way through the last match on the course in the semi-final against Gorleston at Fynn Valley.

It had looked like curtains for Newton, with matches level at four each, and Gorleston’s Rosemary Woodhouse leading Mimpriss at the half-way stage of their match.

However, the Newton player fought back strongly and, with three holes left, she was on terms, and then won the 16th and 17th to give her a 2&1 victory.

In the morning foursomes, Newton led 2 – 1, but Gorleston opened the afternoon singles with a win. Victories for Sue Cooper and Sue Thurgate put Newton ahead 4 – 2, but reversals in the next two matches left Mimpriss to deliver the knock-out blow.

Newton now seek to win the trophy for the third time in a decade, the previous two final successes being against Woodbridge, who are again encountered in this year’s final at Diss on September 28.

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