Hampshire crush Staffordshire to win title

Martin Stead
Martin Stead
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Hampshire sealed the British Inter County Championships division one title and promotion to the premier division with an impressive 31-8 victory at home to Staffordshire.

A convincing performance saw them win all four games.

It was a fitting way to finish an excellent season as they wrapped up the title in fine style.

Staffordshire won the opening clash, going 1-0 up in the ladies’ B match.

But that was all they could muster as Havant’s Bridget McGuire levelled and from then on Hampshire were in command.

Joanne Senior, Nikki Stevens, Havant’s Dawn Simmonds and Gosport’s Sue Thompson all struck to win the game 5-1.

The away side also took the early advantage in the men’s second-string match, going 3-1 up with only Graham Chalk able to respond for Hampshire.

Fareham thrower Steve Phipps and Martin Stead, from Portsmouth, made it 3-3.

But Staffordshire regained the lead with the next set as they threatened to take the victory.

Hampshire had other ideas and won three on the trot.

Bedhampton’s James Brooker, Steve Musson and Luke Getty, from Bishop’s Waltham, put them 6-4 up.

Staffordshire took the penultimate set as they strived for a draw.

But Chas Barstow ensured Hampshire won 7-5.

That meant the home side started day two with an impressive 12-6 advantage.

That was soon doubled as they stormed to a 6-0 whitewash in the ladies’ first team match.

It was totally one-sided as Tara Power, Horndean’s Sue Lowther and Gosport ace Pennie Lewis put them well in command.

Portsmouth thrower Jane Monaghan also struck along with Gemma Hayter and Wendy Reinstadtler as Hampshire got on a roll.

Staffordshire also found it tough in the men’s A match.

They won the opener but then were swept aside by the dominant hosts.

Hampshire rattled off 10 legs on the trot before Staffordshire got back on the board again.

Mike Gillet, Nillson Pritchard, Gary Stafford, Portchester’s Paul Winter, Mark Thorne, Andy Mitchell, Bradley Kirk, Mick Street, Danny Pitman and Dennis Murrell all recorded wins for the hosts.

Staffordshire took the final set as a consolation.

Hampshire’s dominance ensured they comfortably took the three bonus points and they finished top, six points clear of second-placed Devon.