A golf club has kicked off its centenary year in style after claiming a first-ever United Kingdom team title.

Lincolnshire’s Stoke Rochford Golf Club’s five-strong ladies’ team of captain Lara Manton, Lesley Perrin, Debra Wright, Pauline Haggerty and Pam Watson were crowned champions at the Kyocera/Annodata UK Golf Club Classic at the Montecastillo Golf Resort.

The achievement eclipsed the Stoke men’s team who reached the finals in 2018 and finished third.

With 378 clubs entering the matchplay knockout competition, Stoke came through seven qualifying rounds to seal their place in Spain, seeing off Elton Furze, Toft, Maxstoke Park, Cleethorpes, Chesterfield and Northants County before winning away in Surrey against Puttenham.

Over in Spain, a close-run semi-final against Cornish club Perranporth  saw Pauline claim a half in her game to tie the match two and-a-half points each and force a play-off.

“I didn’t want to know what was happening in the other matches because it could affect my concentration and focus ,” she said. “Because I didn’t know I needed the half for a play-off, I was able to just play my game.”

Team captain Lara then kept her cool to seal the win at the first extra hole and set up a final showdown with Worthing Golf Club.

Thursday’s final proved no less nail-biting, with Stoke trailing their West Sussex opponents on the back nine when a torrential storm took the players off the course for two hours. “It looked dicey for us,” said SRGC’s 2023 ladies’ section captain Hannah Thorold, part of a group of supporters who made the trip. “If they had stopped the match then we would have lost .”

The break ultimately benefited the Lincolnshire team, although they did go 2-0 down after the resumption, allowing no further margin for error. Lesley sealed her point on the 17th and, having trailed after 12 holes when the rains came, Pauline battled back to win her game on the 17th and level the match.

 “I came out and thought ‘I just have to go for it’ so I just switched on to that mindset,” recalled Pauline who will be the club’s lady captain for the 2024 season.

The deciding match was in the balance going up the last, with Lara leading one-up. The skipper’s tee shot found the trees, but she hit a superb recovery shot which found the green before rolling a putt close to the hole to seal the club’s first national team title.

“We were all one group, arms around each other waiting for Lara to get to the final green ,” said Hannah. “When the hole was conceded, we just collapsed. “It’s just a fantastic achievement.

“It’s not really sunk in for many of us yet.” The victory was achieved with a relatively small ladies’ section of 45 members with 24 playing ladies. “We have a small ladies’ section, so to even get to the final was amazing, but to win it was just mind-blowing.”