Hampshire Roope rewards of home bankers

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Hampshire cashed in after captain Colin Roope played his double joker on the Isle of Wight as they thrashed Kent 10.5-1.5 at Shanklin & Sandown.

After playing his get-out-jail card with the winning point against Dorset earlier this month, Roope is eyeing the county’s first South East League title since 2012.

And having two of the top college golfers on either side of the Atlantic available to play on their home course against Kent proved the top trump in Roope’s hand.

The Hampshire captain sent Lander University’s conference player-of-the-year Conor Richards out at the top of the singles order after the hosts had handed out a rare 4-0 whitewash in the morning foursomes.

And the 2015 Hampshire junior champion produced an imperious 29 over the front nine on his home course against Liam Burns as he wrapped up a 5&4 win.

Richards had earlier helped Meon Valley’s George Saunders to a 4&2 win over the visitors’ Dan Jones and Charlie Hickling in the final foursomes match of the morning.

And after Spanish Amateur champion Billy McKenzie and his Rowlands Castle’s club-mate Tom Robson had both been held for halves by Dan Brown and Max Jordan, respectively, it was Young who wrapped up the points with a 6&5 win over Jones.

The Rowlands pair had kicked off the foursomes with a one-hole win over Burns and Brown.

Hampshire, who clinched a first England County Championship for 21 years under Young in 2017, were living up to their billing holders.

And none of the players left out on the course were in the mood to let their unbeaten record on the day slip.

Shanklin’s Jordan Sundborg, who has helped Stirling University claim the Scottish, British and European college championships in 2018, kept his match with Josh Bristow all square on the front nine.

The reigining Hampshire champion claimed the 10th and retained that lead over the final two holes to seal his second full point of the day, having teamed up with Young to beat Bristow and Jamie Guppy by one in the foursomes.

Saunders was three up at the turn against Guppy, who was swimming against the tide before the West of England amateur champion won by four on the 15th.

Roope held out for a 2&1 win in the battle of the over-35s against Danny Curtis – having won his foursomes match 3&1 agianst Curtis and Jordan.

That left his playing partner Jason Stokes, who was one down after 15, to claim the 16th and 17th to edge in front, only to hit a loose drive on the last which lost the Jersey ace the hole and earned Charlie Hickling a half.

The triumph over Kent was Hampshire’s biggest win in more than a decade and avenged the 10-2 defeat at North Hants two years ago.