Lucky number seven brings senior success
It was lucky number seven for Hampshire Seniors as they finally got their hands on the South Eastern Group League title.
That’s after being second-best six previous times in the competition’s 15-year finals history.
Hampshire beat Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire 7-3 in the final at Hadley Wood, in North London – ironically a reverse of the scoreline when the two teams met in the 2009 final.
That year, they drafted in Formula One legend Nigel Mansell, who played off scratch for La Moye, in Jersey, flying to the final in Bedfordshire on his own private jet.
Mansell went on to lose his match to Adrian Donkersley, but this time Hampshire were able to leave BB&O in the slipstream thanks to an amateur golfing legend from the Channel Islands.
County seniors manager Alan Drayton was able to wheel out one of the biggest guns from Hampshire’s successes over the past 30 years in the shape of Walker Cup player Bobby Eggo.
The man from Guernsey’s L’Ancresse contested two English Amateur Finals carrying the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands flags in the 1980s.
Former county captain Richard Elmes went out first but lost 3&2 to David Niven.
Royal Jersey’s Trevor Gray put his team’s first point in the bank, winning the fourth game out 4&3 against retired bank manager Donkersley.
Eggo was then able to call upon all of his experience to win his captain a point against Malcolm Reid, who took him to the last.
Hampshire’s current England Seniors international Alan Mew from Stoneham beat Tim Whittaker by the same one-hole margin and La Moye’s Bob Wickings went four up on the 15th to see off Cliff Pearce.
But Basingstoke’s Osar O’Herlihy lost on the last to Bob Lander, leaving Hampshire 4-2 up.
Andover’s Peter Scott moved his team closer to the outright victory by beating Ashley Brewer 3&2 and it was left to Sandford Spring’s Gerry Penfold to claim the crucial sixth point and seal a memorable win with a 2&1 victory over Phil Sewell.
Brokenhurst Manor’s Wayne Phillips and Stoneham’s Jamie Pinchon were left to walk in and share the spoils in their games against Ian Oaks and George Wilson, respectively, to make it 7-3 – and a day to savour.
Hampshire, meanwhile, had to settle for third place when they competed in the Southern Counties Senior Foursomes final at Haverhill, picking up four points – four behind champions Essex.