A golf trip of a lifetime awaits amateur Bradley Walker and St Cleres Hall PGA professional David Wood if they can come through the next stage of Europe's biggest pro-am competition, the Lombard Trophy.

Walker took his first big step towards a luxury five-day trip to one of Europe's leading courses. San Lorenzo in Portugal, when he won the club qualifying competition.

He and Wood, the former Welsh amateur international from Rochford, now advance to the regional final on Thursday June 21 where they'll play one round of better ball medal.

The winners of 14 regional finals throughout Britain and Ireland will win an all expenses paid luxury trip to compete at San Lorenzo on October 5-9.

Walker, a manager at an agricultural suppliers, lives in Ashingdon with his wife and two sons. He plays off a handicap of 18.

Apart from golf he also enjoys cricket and is the Rayleigh club captain.

The winning professional in the regional final receives £475 and there are valuable prizes for the top amateurs.

Wood, 38, has been the club pro for four-and-a-half years. He has previously won the Noraleja Open in Madrid and lost the 1988 Welsh PGA Championship to Ian Woosnam.

The Lombard Trophy, sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland, offers an overall professional purse of £63,000. The winning pro in Portugal will receive £5,000.

Now in its seventh year, the Lombard Trophy has an entry this season of more than 100,000 club golfers from all over Britain and Ireland. Last year's winners were the Dorset Club, Sturminster Marshall, represented by their professional Graham Howell and 13-handicapper Paul Fowell.

Hectic times for Thorpe Ladies

Thorpe Hall Ladies bronze team played their first match of the season against their counterparts from Basildon.

All the matches were very close, but Thorpe eventually won 6-1. Thorpe Ladies had a very busy golfing Easter weekend despite the cold weather.

A total of 96 members played in the Argles Trophy with Yvonne and Alex Buzer winning with 32 points from Renate and John Jarvis (31). Wendy and Chris Jones were third, also on 32, but beaten on countback.

The Cripps Invitational saw three pairs tied in the morning foursomes. Tony Aylott and Ian Dye were the winners of the Cripps Trophies with Aylott and David Tintori having the best single Stableford totals in the afternoon.

In awful weather conditions, Three Rivers Ladies won their first bronze match of the season 4-3 at Maldon.

Janis Harding and Lin Rees won their first round Daily Mail Foursomes match against Boyce Hill and will now take on Chelmsford.

Salver to the rescue

Essex golf officials declared themselves relieved when they were at last able to play a scheduled event.

They held the Cheshunt Salver at Toothill with all other competitions, including the Keating Trophy, having to be cancelled due to the weather.

Toothill presented a course which was in remarkable condition considering the elements experienced in the county during the last few months.

The Salver is an inter-county youth championship for under-16 boys between Essex and Hertfordshire. For the fifth year running victory went to Essex 8.5 - 6.5.

At the halfway stage the morning foursomes had given Essex a narrow lead of 3-2 and, during an afternoon which see-sawed from one side to the other, the home side finally managed to clinch the match when Jordan Moss of Rochford won 1 up on the final green.

Moss had a splendid afternoon round which included an eagle three at the par five seventh.

The standard of golf was high throughout the match with seven of the afternoon singles going the full distance.

Rochford Ladies competed for the Centenary Salver with Elaine Tucker (109-31=78) just grabbing victory ahead of Jo Rumsey (83-4=79).

The qualifiers for the AA Thornton - a knock-out competition against men - were: Jo Rumsey, Janice Hazledine, Di Fenn, Rosemarie Gemmell, Mary Horn, Sue Proctor, Beryl Claxton and Lesley Bailey.

Rochford bounce back into action

Rochford Hundred golfers shook off the cobwebs and came out of hibernation over the weekend with their first competition for more than six months.

The qualifier for the top Fourball Betterball competition for the Carr Hodsdon Trophy was held with the best 32 pairs going through to the knock-out stage.

And considering the atrocious wet weather had forced players to be out of action for so long the scoring was red hot.

Last year's winning duo Trevor Brown and Derek Dupre led the way with 44 Stableford points thanks to 11 pars and birdies on the 4th and 16th.

Dave Bolan and Richard Barnbrook and Eric Stanley and Paul Hickson also chalked up 44 points.

Next on 43 came the pairings of Nick Dutnall and Simon Torrey and Dan Bailey and Geoff Coote.

Other qualifiers were: PM Moss and L Daden (42), T Watson and R Napper (42), M Curran and J Hodges (42), HJ Southwood and J Frye (42), S and L Alliston (42), R Campbell-Carr and M Hobbs (41), W Boys and I Harkness (41), W Godfrey and D Philbrick (41), F Klass and P Dolby (41), S Smyth and S Madley (41), R Munro and R Reade (40), M Greenaway and J Birrell (40), A Argent and D Neal (40), A Leggett and F Barnes (40), J Bath and D Webb (40), Den Bailey and K Oldfield (40), A Halls and P Philpot (39), J Willis and B Sanderson (39), P Binns and P Stroud (39), MH Fisher and P Crossingham (39), T Rosen and D Reeves (39), J Ivison and M Hills (39), T and R Buta (39), P Leslie and A Cozens (39), W Rusga and D Wade (39), J Tann and G Coole (38), P Mortimer and J Coates (38).

Oliver wants more after spoon success

Oliver Fisher, a 12-year-old from West Essex, won the "Laddie Lucas Spoon" at Princes Golf Course.

In the previous two years Oliver managed to win the handicap event and last season was placed second in the main competition. This year he won it.

The Laddie Lucas Spoon is a prestigious national competition held annually at the Princes Course in Kent and is named after the famous Battle of Britain pilot who managed to land his damaged aircraft on the course during a wartime dogfight.

Sam Mason, 16, from West Essex, and Tom Hunter, 15 from Ilford, gave outstanding performances in the Faldo Tour event at Woburn. Sam won the under-17s and Tom was second in the under-16s.

On the day following the victory over Hertfordshire, the under-16s were were augmented by the inclusion of the under-18s for their traditional match with Suffolk.

Unfortunately, a good performance by the under-16s was not matched by the 18s and a very strong Suffolk side won 12-6.

The first practise match for the Essex Colts under-21s took place when they met their hosts at Orsett and won 8-4.

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