Heacham’s Warren is an early starter

Heacham Manor's Warren Bates is only 11 years old but he is already staking a claim to a place in the county's record books — as the youngest-ever player in the Myhill Trophy.

Bates, who plays off 16, made his debut in the prestigious Norfolk men's foursomes knockout in the last round, when Heacham Manor scored an away win over Fakenham.

He'll be back in the side in the next round of the highly competitive competition on July 17 when Heacham are at home to Great Yarmouth and Caister.

His coach, club professional Ray Stocker remarked: 'We have spoken to as many people as we can think of and no-one can recall anyone younger playing in the competition.'

Bates' interest in golf began when his father got him some clubs and took him to play pitch and putt in Hunstanton.

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A family friend spotted the seven-year-old swinging in the garden and suggested that he join Stocker's junior lessons.

Since then he's made steady progress and his handicap is heading down towards 15. He was the Norfolk U12 champion last year and was runner-up this season, missing out by just one shot. He's also a member of the Norfolk U14 boys' squad and has twice been rewarded for his efforts with scholarships at his club.

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He's also made his first appearance in a PGA East region pro-am, playing in Stocker's team, and has a place in next month's Ian Poulter junior invitational at Woburn.

Stocker expects the youngster to go on improving and said: 'He is very laid back on the golf course and nothing rattles him. I have coached a lot of good players and, at his age, I've never seen anyone keep as calm on the golf course. This is something which I am sure will help his successes in the future.'

Do you know anyone who played in the Myhill Trophy at a younger age? Contact Lyndsey Hewison: lyndsey.hewison@ntlworld.com

• Costessey Park's youngsters completed a good fightback to beat Sheringham by five holes and reach the semi-finals of the junior interclub knockout for the KK Smith Trophy.

Taylor Davis won the last four holes to finish three up, Dan Springall was three down after 13 but finished all square, Meanwhile Jake Metcalfe and Aiden Tanner both managed one-up wins, despite both putting their ball in the ruin while playing the last hole on their home course.

They now travel to meet the holders Middleton Hall who, playing at home, beat Sprowston Manor 12 up. In the other half of the draw Thetford are at home to Barnham Broom. In their quarter finals, Thetford, at home, beat Royal Cromer by 14 holes while Barnham Broom had a one-up away win over Hunstanton.

• The Link Seniors Open at The Norfolk attracted competitors from five of the clubs which make up The Link, with the host club joined by teams of seven pairs from Barnham Broom, Bawburgh, Costessey Park and Richmond Park.

In a closely-fought contest The Norfolk were the eventual team winners with their five best pairs accumulating a score of 191 points, runners up were Bawburgh with 189 points. The best pair were Les Varney and Tom Holyoak, also of The Norfolk, scoring 42 points with runners-up A Morton and J Hamment of Bawburgh with 41 points.

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