Sale’s Rawthore bids for senior glory

A NEW English senior women’s champion will be crowned tomorrow with four players staking their claim to hold the title for the first time. 

The semi-finalists are Cath Rawthore (Sale) who plays Devon’s Jo Shorrocks (Bigbury); and Hertfordshire’s Jackie Foster (Bishop’s Stortford) who takes on Yorkshire’s Karen Jobling (Richmond).

Rawthore is hoping to add this title to her previous wins in the British seniors and the English senior strokeplay championships, but the other three are all seeking a first major win. 

They each made their way through two rounds of match play in glorious sunshine, which contrasted with the heavy rain of the stroke play qualifying session. 

The first round provided its share of upsets, with defending champion Helen Lowe (Scraptoft) losing to Kent’s Angela Jones (Chart Hills) on the 17th; while top seed Katherine Russell of Royal Ashdown Forest in Sussex was beaten on the last by Yorkshire’s Julie Wheeldon (Wakefield). 

Meanwhile, Caroline Berry (Bromborough) also moved into the last eight when she triumphed in the clash of the former champions, beating fellow Cheshire player Sue Dye (Delamere Forest); and Aileen Greenfield (Pycombe, Sussex) – the runner up in last year’s English senior stroke play – prevailed over Lancashire’s Helen Braddock (Bolton Old Links). Rawthore defeated another past British senior champion, Felicity Christine (Woking), while Shorrocks knocked out Debbie Warren (King’s Norton).

In the quarter finals, Shorrocks was first to claim her semi-final place, beating Wheeldon, one of the morning’s giant-killers, by 6/4. Shorrocks (image © Leaderboard Photography) was in charge from the start and reached the turn at five up. 

Rawthore soon followed her into the last four, beating another giant killer, Jones, by 5/4. “I holed some important putts at the right time,” she said. 

This will be her second semi-final and her game plan is simple: “I’m going to try and find every fairway!”

Next through was Foster, who had had five consecutive birdies in her 6/5 first round win over Jersey’s Jenny Deeley. Her quarter final with former champion Berry was much closer and she eventually edged home 1up. The lead swung to and fro, but Foster crucially won the 17th with a great up and down from behind the green to get that one-hole advantage. 

“I played with Caroline in the stroke play qualifying and I know she’s a good player and that it would be tough,” said Foster, who reached last year’s quarter finals on her debut. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.” 

Yorkshire’s Jobling completed the semi-final line-up with her 3/2 win over Greenfield. Earlier, she’d had a 2 up win over Carol Houghton (The Nottinghamshire) in the first round.

“I was a little bit tentative this morning and I played much better in the afternoon, with a good front nine which gave me a solid start. I’m absolutely thrilled to be in the semi-finals and I just need to keep playing as I have been. Who knows what will happen tomorrow!”

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