SUSSEX’S county ladies came out on top in their England Golf south region county match at Worthing Golf Club last week.
The event saw teams from Hampshire, Sussex, Middlesex, Surrey and Kent all compete for a place in the national finals at Frilford Heath in September.
The format was three foursomes matches each morning, followed by six singles matches in the afternoon.
Sussex recorded victories over Middlesex, Kent and Hampshire on the opening three days to force a crunch clash with Surrey on the final day of the competition.
They saw off Middlesex in style with a 9-0 win, before a 6-3 success over Kent.
Sussex then completed a tight 5½-3½ success over Hampshire.
That meant they set up a final day meeting with Surrey to decide which county made it through to the national finals.
Playing their strongest and most experienced foursomes partnerships, Sussex led 2½-½ at lunch but knew the battle was on in the singles.
Nail-biting matches ebbed and flowed, as Chelsea Masters and Aileen Greenfield halved their games and then Surrey won the third match.
The tide shifted back Sussex’s way, when Jelina Fernando secured an emphatic 7&5 win, which meant Sussex needed to secure a half from one of the two remaining matches in progress.
West Sussex’s Alice Barnes, the 2014 county champion, had no idea that all spectators’ eyes had turned to her because the result now rested on her.
With nerves of steel, she won her match on the 16th hole, securing the victory 5½-3½ to huge cheers from team mates and supporters.
Sussex ladies’ captain Sue Todd was delighted with the success and said: “I was absolutely thrilled as captain that we managed to get the win.
“In the end, it went down to a tense final day clash with Surrey. They have a very strong side, so it was fantastic to get the victory and reach the finals.
“I went into the week with some confidence in the side after the preparation that we had put in.
“In the winter, we trained at Worthing so we could get used to the surroundings.
“All of the team wanted to do well in what was a home match for us and to get the victory is great.
“The team’s focus was magnificent throughout the week and they deserve so much credit.
“The home team in this event has a day off on Wednesday, which really helped.
“That break directly in the middle of the week allowed us to recharge the batteries and give it a good go against both Hampshire and Surrey.
“We have a bit of everything in the team, with youth and experience.
“I’m thrilled that we managed to reach the national finals. All of the team cannot wait to be a part of that great event now.”
Full Sussex team: Chelsea Masters (Highwoods), Penny Brown (Worthing), Alice Barnes (West Sussex), Paula Carver (Worthing), Chloe Court (Bognor Regis), Jelina Fernando (East Sussex National), Aileen Greenfield (Pyecombe), Sophie Kennard (Dyke), Katherine Russell (Royal Ashdown Forest), Karen Sykes (Worthing).
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