Hampshire golfers slump to South East Colts League final defeat on home soil

Hampshire Colts, who lost the South East League Colts Final 9-3 against Essex at Weybridge Park GC. From left - Sam Lemon (Liphook) Nat Riddett (Shanklin & Sandown, manager), Chris Hayward (Osborne), Jordan Stokes (La Moye), Owen Grimes (Stoneham), Josh Smeed (Hayling), Lewis Scott (Lee-on-the-Solent), Sam Parsons (Blackmoor), Tom Vaughan (Bishopswood), Alan Drayton (Hampshire Golf president, Stoneham).
Hampshire Colts, who lost the South East League Colts Final 9-3 against Essex at Weybridge Park GC. From left - Sam Lemon (Liphook) Nat Riddett (Shanklin & Sandown, manager), Chris Hayward (Osborne), Jordan Stokes (La Moye), Owen Grimes (Stoneham), Josh Smeed (Hayling), Lewis Scott (Lee-on-the-Solent), Sam Parsons (Blackmoor), Tom Vaughan (Bishopswood), Alan Drayton (Hampshire Golf president, Stoneham).
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Hampshire could not make home advantage count as Essex became the first team to win the South East Colts League Final three years in a row for over half a century.

The defending champions arrived at Weybridge Park in Basingstoke a day earlier than the hosts and were able to get a full day’s practice in.

And their familiarity with the course paid off as they won 9-3 after the organisers were forced to switch the format.

The six singles were played in the morning, because of fears heavy rain could curtail play by the afternoon.

With a 6-2 advantage going into the four foursomes, Hampshire had to win all four just to force a tie – the result when the two teams met four years ago at Rowlands Castle.

The heavens had also opened on Saturday when the hosts arrived, forcing colts manager Nat Riddett’s team to take shelter after just nine holes.

‘Playing the foursomes first allows you to play your way into the match. Even if you lose them 4-0 you can still turn it around.’ said Riddett. “But losing the singles heavily meant the match was effectively over at lunch.”

Blackmoor’s Sam Parsons was sent out first but both the Hampshire first-team squad member and former county U21 Champion Sam Lemon, from Liphook, lost their singles – as did Hayling’s Josh Smead.

Parsons ended his Colts career with a one-hole win in the first foursomes, playing with debutant Lewis Scott, from Lee-on-the-Solent GC.

They had been three-up against Kish Velani and Jordan Slater but lost the 15th and 16th – before hanging on to win by one.

The victory was some consolation for Scott, who lost 5&4 to North of Ireland Amateur Champion Arron Edwards-Hill in the singles.

But Essex claimed the winning point after Jersey’s Jason Stokes and Osborne’s Chris Hayward were beaten 4&3 in the second match.

Smead and Lemon were soundly beaten in the bottom match before last year’s county champion Owen Grimes, from Stoneham, lost on the last playing with Bishopswood’s Tom

Vaughan.

It meant six of the 12 matches had been decided on the last two holes, but only one had gone the way of the hosts, making the 9-3 scoreline a little harsh on Riddett’s side.