Hampshire captain has to bench himself but Wright & Co will be aiming to shine against Channel Islands
Hampshire captain Colin Roope has left himself out of the county’s final warm-up game before the South East League season gets under way in less than three weeks.
A shoulder injury sustained during the Selborne Salver on his home course has forced Blackmoor’s Roope, who led Hampshire to the final in his first season as captain, to leave himself out of the team to face the Channel Islands this weekend, writes Andrew Griffin.
He has looked to maximise the impact of his pre-season get-togethers by holding the match at Brokenhurst Manor, where Hampshire will play their curtain-raiser in the South Division against Dorset, on May 12.
Colin, who took over from Brokenhurst Manor’s Martin Young after the former English Mid-Amateur Champion led Hampshire to their first English County Championship in 21 years in 2017, had little choice over his first selection quandary of the season.
Roope said: ‘My shoulder is not good. I do not feel I can justify picking myself for our last warm-up game. Apart from injury I have not played anywhere near as much as I would like, and all those I have selected have been strong in pre-season in one way or another.
‘We lost narrowly to a very good Hampshire PGA team earlier in April, at Arlesford, so this weekend’s game against the Channel Island cannot be underestimated.
‘I have been really pleased with Martin Young and Darren Wright, in particular, with a top 10 each in the Salver and Hog respectively.’
Roope can call on last year’s Spanish Amateur Champion Billy McKenzie and Tom Robson, a veteran of four county championship finals, including last year’s at Liphook.
The Rowlands Castle pair are joined by club-mate Wright, a former English Strokeplay Champion at men’s and junior level. The Brabazon and Carris Trophy winner showed his class by shooting a superb 64 at North Hants in the Hog, in his first competitive weekend of golf since regaining his amateur status, finishing tied fourth.
Along with Young and Hayling’s Toby Burden, who also returned to the county set up after several years in the pro ranks, they will form the backbone of the eight-man team in the warm-up and against Dorset – barring injury.
Hampshire will play four foursomes matches on Saturday afternoon, with the eight singles matches being played on Sunday morning.