HAMPSHIRE, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands put themselves back in with a chance of retaining their South Division title with a crushing win over Sussex in the Daily Telegraph South Eastern Group League match at Blackmoor.
Even without a couple of first-choice players including Billy McKenzie, captain Steve Williams was still able to recall former English Amateur Champion Harry Ellis (Meon Valley).
Ellis claimed an early point playing alongside Billy Watson (North Hants) as the hosts took the morning foursomes with a whitewash.
Tom Robson (Rowlands Castle) and Darren Walkley (Hayling) teamed up to seal a 4&2 win, while Petersfield’s Ben Lobacz – a late injury replacement for Haydn Reay – combined with Mark Burgess for a 5&3 win.
Corhampton pair Scott Gregory and Sam Day then controlled their 3&1 win.
The county were never going to let that sort of lead slip in the singles.
Robson was in dominant mood as he sent Matt Greenfield packing courtesy of a dog licence – 7&6 – in the top match and even though David Tulley took Walkey to the last green, the county champion notched a one-hole win to give the home side the side the match.
Lobacz put a nightmare year behind him by beating Nathan Longley 4&3.
Ellis, who has been out of the limelight while in the States for most of this year, but finished sixth in the recent Swiss Amateur Championship, was held for a half by Jack Floydd.
But his foursomes partner Watson ripped into Josh Glossop to win 6&5.
Corhampton’s Sam Day maintained his unbeaten record so far this season and made it six wins out of six by beating Richard Fung-on.
Even a surprise 3&2 defeat for Scott Gregory in the last match out could not spoil Hampshire’s day as they claimed a 10-5-1.5 scoreline.
With news of Surrey’s shock defeat at Dorset, it sets things up for a showdown at Burhill, next month.
Victory for Hampshire over their western neighbours would leave Kent having to travel to Surrey at the end of August needing a win to book their place in the South Eastern Group final.
– ANDREW GRIFFIN