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Essex golfers win Australian Spoons national final
16th September 2011

Essex golfers Gilly Cullen and Brenda Lord won the national final of the Australian Spoons competition at Thorndon Park Golf Club in their home county.

"It is just fantastic, we are absolutely stunned by this," said Gilly, who has been playing golf for just two years. Brenda added: "This is the first time we've ever done anything like this - I usually come second!"

They scored 30 points to beat five other pairs who reached the final of the English Women's Golf Association competition for club golfers with handicaps 21-36. The runners-up on 25 points were Pat Hewitt and Jean Dawson of  Willesley Park, Leicestershire. All the finalists came through club and regional qualifying rounds.

Gilly, who plays off 36, and Brenda, a 25-handicapper, are members at Clacton-on-Sea but had only played Thorndon Park once before the competition practice round. Their verdict on the course, which was also hosting the English Counties' Championship and was set up to present a real challenge, was: "It's absolutely beautiful."

They were accompanied on their back nine by their ladies' captain and other members from their club and they hope their achievement will inspire other women to play golf and enter the competition. Brenda said: "It would be great if  this encourages other ladies of our age to play. I say get out there!"

She is already responsible for encouraging Gilly to take up the game, so she could get involved in golfing holidays. "I used to go, but I went shopping while they all played golf," Gilly remembered.

The players included an Australian, Helen O'Laughlin from Teignmouth in Devon, who had a toy koala bear tucked into her golf bag!

The six pairs were the overnight guests of EWGA and were entertained to dinner the evening before the final and afterwards to tea with the President, Ann Irvin. Gilly remarked: "Even if we had come last we would have had a whale of a time. It's been a wonderful couple of days and I don't want it to finish."

The finalists each represented one of EWGA's regions. They were:

East: Gilly Cullen and Brenda Lord of Clacton-on-Sea, Essex

Midlands North: Pat Hewitt and Jean Dawson of  Willesley Park, Leicestershire

Midlands South: Judith Jones and Margaret Priddey of Cocks Moors Woods, Worcestershire & Herefordshire

South: Barbara O'Boyle and Fiona Hockless of Roehampton, Surrey

South West: Helen O'Loughlin and Gillian Hepburn of Teignmouth, Devon

North: Angela Blackhall and Joan Shutt from Morpeth, Northumberland


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