Hampshire captain Colin Roope has no regrets after painful defeat in County Championship qualifier on Kent's Ashford course

Colin Roope has no regrets after watching his Hampshire troops finish fifth in the County Championship’s south east qualifier at Ashford.

Thursday, 18th July 2019, 12:48 pm
Updated Friday, 19th July 2019, 12:38 am
Lee-on-the-Solent’s George Saunders. Picture: Andrew Griffin/AMG Pictures

The county trailed home fifth – 17 shots behind the victorious Kent outfit, who celebrated their first win since the late 1980s.

Roope was part of the Hampshire team who clinched the English title for the first time in 21 years in 2017.

He admitted picking a six-man squad for Saturday’s battle in Kent was his hardest task since taking the reins at the beginning of last season.

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But despite the disappointing result, Roope – who continues to nurse a shoulder injury – did not regret his selection decisions or the tactics employed.

The captain said: ‘I don’t regret any choices I had to make over selection or the way in which we prepared.

‘The game plan we selected for the course was the right one.

‘We prepared well and got there nice and early, having played a practice round in the build-up.

‘We restricted Friday’s practice to just nine holes to save energy.

‘George Saunders played with Liam Burns, who has won Kent's county championship twice, and they were hitting the same shots.

‘So it wasn’t the tactics that were wrong.

‘Sometimes it just isn’t your day and we did not play well enough in the first round.’

Hampshire were 17 shots adrift of hosts Kent after the first 18 holes.

And that deficit proved too much to bridge over the second round.

Roope added: ‘We produced a 12-shot swing in the afternoon but we were too far back.

‘Hats off to Kent, they played very well – but having home advantage in a strong 11-county division has to count for something.

‘I had no complaints about the course. It was a good test of ball-striking. You had to hit every kind of shot.

‘Kent obviously spent plenty of time there getting to know the course. They executed well on the day, whereas we didn’t.

‘You need four of your players to be firing on all cylinders to win the south east qualifier.

‘Sadly we only really had two who played to what I know they are capable of. That’s golf unfortunately.’