Hat-trick Heroine Hillier Leads Newport To Welsh Title

Newport made it a hat-trick of wins in the Clogau Gold Ladies Team Championship, appropriately equalling the record of Southerndown after beating them in a close fought final.

Welsh Ladies Amateur champion Lauren Hillier sank the winning putt for her team, after taking her match against Wales international Georgia Lewis to extra holes, with a series of tight matches going the way of the Gwent club.

Newport have now contested six of the last seven finals, losing twice to Southerndown as the Vale of Glamorgan club compiled their hat-trick from 2012-2014, with a strong core of players central to that success at the Vale of Llangollen.

The team this year saw the return of Hillier, Jordan Ryan, Emma Miller, Cerys Jenkins and Ffion Vineall, with Jessica Gabriel joining them in reserve. Southerndown’s team was led by Lewis, with Amy Rees, Alaitz Zubikarai, Helen Calvert and Bethan Parker.

It was also the first year of sponsorship from Welsh gold firm Clogau, with a pop up shop of jewellery proving popular, while Ladies European Tour star Amy Boulden was on hand to present the prizes as the company’s ambassador.

“The final was nail-biting,” admitted Newport captain Judith Wenman in her last year in the role.

“Emma won 2 and 1, then Jordan by one hole. Lauren was one down with two to play in the top match, but took it to the extra hole and sank the winning putt for the team at the 19th after getting up and down from a bunker.

“The final was a joy to watch, the standard of golf was outstanding. We had the youngest team by far, they work hard and get on well as a team which also helps to attract good players to the club.

“We have won this three times in a row as Southerndown did before us, but this is the first time we have beaten them in the final after losing to them twice in their run.”

Newport had a comfortable journey to the final with wins over Wenvoe Castle, Pyle and Kenfig, Royal St David’s and Mold, with some dominant performances.

Southerndown beat Wrexham 3-2 in the semi-final, following more comfortable wins over Rhuddlan, Aberdovey and Radyr. Rhuddlan went on to win the Clogau Golf Ladies Team Plate for clubs knocked out in the first round, beating Llanwern in the final.

“It was a fantastic event, very well organised, it was great to be involved and it was fantastic to have Amy there as an ambassador for us,” admitted Andrew Mortimer of Clogau Gold.

“The teams appreciated having her presenting the prizes and they were particularly delighted to be getting jewellery.

“It was a little different with the pop up shop which was well supported by the players and families. We had a couple of nice comments, for instance Langland Bay will be hosting next year and they hope we will be there.

“It was a good experience for us, it was the two best teams in the final and it was nip and tuck all the way.”

Golf Union of Wales championships manager David Wilson added, “Congratulations to Newport on another really strong performance and claiming the title three years in a row takes some doing.

“Thanks must also go to the Vale of Llangollen who put on a superb event, the course was in great condition but also tested the players while allowing for some great play.

“Thanks to Clogau Gold who proved to be an extremely popular sponsor, not just through the shop opened on site for the championships but also the prizes and having Amy there on the Sunday. It all helped to lift this year’s event.

“Finally thanks to all the clubs who took part. With the Plate being brought in last year it means that every club gets at least two matches, while Rhuddlan were able to claim that title after facing Southerndown in their opener.”

Next year’s Welsh Ladies Team Championships will be held at Langland Bay near Swansea.

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