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No Olds Barred in Top Pairs' Final Tilt

Muckhart's Neil Hill
Daily Mail
19 Oct 2009

EXPERIENCE has come to the fore in this year's Daily Mail Foursomes, with eight of the 64 players who will contest finals week over the next two days having reached the same stage in previous years.

Bacup's Dorothy Beaumont, 65, made it to the semi-finals as long ago 1979 while Steve Sidney, 45, from the Queens Park club in Bournemouth, lifted the men's trophy in 1997. Others have more recent experience of the showpiece, with Muckhart's Neil Hill and Chris Cole and Beacon Park's Ian Donaldson having reached the last 16 just 12 months ago.

Ruth Burnet and Catherine Kyle are back to represent Aberdeen Ladies again two years after making it to finals week the last time it was staged at the Marriott Forest of Arden, while Durham City's Louise Richardson reached the last 16 in 1998. Experience, of course, comes in different guises, and Louise, 38, can call on 12 years representing Durham as well as winning the county championship in 2006.

However, that pales against the achievements of six-times Devon Ladies Champion and 2007 South of England Champion Jo Shorrocks, 45, who has represented Devon and Wiltshire as well as England at junior international level. She forms a formidable partnership with Sally Huffam, who played for Wiltshire from 2000 to 2003. The Hamptworth pair can already boast the Wiltshire county foursomes title.

But when it comes to experience of life, then nobody tops Taymouth Castle's Ann Duncan, who has made finals week at the age of 72. The 16 men's and women's pairs who have made it this far from an original entry of thousands gathered at the Marriott Forest of Arden for a practice round yesterday before the real action begins today.

The rounds of 16 and quarter-finals are played at the West Midlands course today before the semi-finals and finals tomorrow.

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