Rowlands Castle rewrote the Hampshire Sevens record books with a convincing 6-1 victory over Royal Jersey in Sunday’s final at Barton-on-Sea, writes Andrew Griffin.
Having first triumphed in 1971, they confirmed their place as the most successful club in the competition’s history with a sixth crown.
The tie was in the balance when Phil Hodgson played the final hole in the bottom match, though.
He had no idea how two of his team-mates were faring on the first extra hole – having finished their matches all square on the picturesque par three overlooking the Needles in the Solent.
Hodgson, who has now helped Rowlands Castle win the Hampshire Inter-Club Knockout Championship four times since 2001, was up against Paul Le Chevalier and took a one-hole lead down 18.
He missed the green long only for the Jersey man to tug his shot on the 103-yard hole into the trap on the right.
Le Chevalier produced a stunning bunker shot to around 18 inches – having had to take a drop from the massive puddle left after a morning downpour.
Hodgson’s chip came up 12-feet short giving the Channel Islanders hope of escaping with a fourth Sevens title of their own.
But he sensationally rammed home the putt to send the watching Rowlands Castle players into raptures.
The victory owed everything to the experience of Hodgson and veteran Glynn Catterall, who saw off Hampshire Seniors player Phill Evans with a comfortable 5&3 scoreline.
Rowlands Castle’s own county senior, Simon Ostram, had seen off one-handicapper Sam Crenan.
His son Mark Ostram was the first of the club’s player to be beaten – losing 3&2 to former US college player Sam Vautier.
The match was poised at 3-1 after captain James Hawley, who played in the 1992 final for Portsmouth, beat Matt Hague 2&1.
But Paul Whiteaway was all square against Jersey’s Chris Huelin and Jamie Turnball lost the last two holes to Hugo Jacques to find himself heading down the 19th.
Either player could have claimed the winning point for Rowlands but Hodgson nipped in first.
The scoreline was made to look a lot more comfortable as Whiteaway and Turnball claimed their points at the first extra hole – unaware of the drama that had unfolded on 18.
Boscombe, Army and Hockley have each won the Sevens four times.