Hampshire Colts will try to avenge the men’s team’s defeat in the Daily Telegraph South East Group League final at the hands of Essex tomorrow.
Manager Neil Dawson will go into the under-21 equivalent of the same contest at Hendon fielding arguably the strongest county colts side ever, despite five of his possible starters being ruled out after returning to their scholarships in USA.
For a start, he can call on Corhampton’s Scott Gregory, who reached the final of the English Amateur Championship at Saunton in early August.
And alongside the 20-year-old, who won the Stoneham Trophy two months ago, will be club-mate Adam Reid, who reached the final of the Hampshire Amateur Championship.
Add in the current English Junior Champion of Champions in the shape of North Hants’ Billy Watson and Solent Salver winner Ben Wall, from Hayling, it’s a strong quartet for the four foursomes and eight singles matches in the final.
The manager can also call on the services of 2009 county champion Tom Robson, from Rowlands Castle, as one of his over-age picks.
Robson played in his second English County Finals last year and has a strong record leading off Hampshire in both foursomes and singles.
With North Hants’ left-hander Charlie Manning and Brokenhurst’s talented Isle of Wight-based player Ryan Harmer finally getting to wear the light blue for Hampshire, the group, captained for a second year by Corhampton’s Sam Day, will not be frightened facing Essex – despite the upset last weekend.
With Wall, Robson and Gregory having travelled to The Warren GC, near Chelmsford, the trio will be keener than anyone to gain revenge, while at least a couple of the winning Essex team are likely to play.
Even without Harry Ellis (Meon Valley), Billy Mckenzie (Rowlands Castle) and Jamie Mist (Hayling), the county young guns will be keen to seal the crown.
– ANDREW GRIFFIN