Friday, December 28, 2012
Amber Ratcliffe’s achievements at both local and national level lit up a very special year for Norfolk women’s golf.
The 17-year-old from Royal Cromer maintained her impressive progress with a string of notable achievements as players from across the county celebrated the centenary of the Norfolk County Ladies Golf Association.
Amber lived up to her billing as the county’s leading amateur when she beat Jane Sheppard from Weston Park 6&4 in May to win the County Championship for the second year running.
But it was her feats outside the county which really caught the eye. The talented teenager had only just shrugged off a troublesome wrist injury when she won at Sheringham and once fully fit there was no stopping here as she marked herself down as one to watch out for on the national stage.
After featuring successfully for England girls Amber completed a dream full debut when she scored the winning point for her team in the Women’s Home Internationals in Cork, emerging from the competition with an unbeaten record.
She later left many top players in her wake as she finished seventh in the British Open Amateur Strokeplay event at Shandon Park in Northern Ireland and will be aiming to make her mark at an international level next month when she travels half way around the world to represent her country in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival.
Amber wasn’t the only Norfolk player to make an impression outside the county in Centenary Year. County president Nickie Clark won the inaugural England Gold County Presidents Trophy at Woodhall Spa while Royal Norwich colleague Sammy Martin became the first woman to notch a hole in one at the world famous Royal St Georges course in Kent, venue for the 2011 Open Championship.
On top of that County Junior Organiser Carol Delf’s tireless work was recognised with an England Golf Volunteer of the Year award and three of the youngsters she has helped – Amelia Williamson, Amy Taylor and Chloe Roswell – were selected for England junior training in 2013.
At Purdis Heath Norfolk’s county team finished fifth out of six teams in the annual County Week competition, despite playing well to halve their match with eventual champions Essex.
It was a final event in charge for captain Alex Cowie whose decision to stand down has provided an opportunity for her deputy Sue Henderson of Dunston Hall to impress.
Closer to home the centenary was marked by an am-am at Eaton and special competition to which all clubs were invited to enter a team.
Swaffham emerged victorious in the final at Thetford Golf Club while in July there was a chance for everyone connected with Norfolk women’s golf to reflect on 100 eventful years at a lunch at Carrow Road.
Dunston Hall had a good year in the annual county competitions, winning the Gillieson Cup and claiming divisional titles in the Inter Club and Scratch Leagues. Royal Cromer won the top flight of the Inter-Club competition while Barnham Broom were winners of the Carrick Cup.