Hampshire make it two out of two with impressive win at Kent – talented group show no need for fear over absence of Billy McKenzie
Hampshire made it two wins out of two in the South East League south division and made it six league matches unbeaten after an 8-4 win over Kent.
Any fears Hampshire would miss Billy McKenzie, while Rowlands Castle’s England squad player was playing in the French Amateur Strokeplay, were quickly dismissed as Colin Roope’s men whitewashed the hosts in the morning foursomes on Sunday, writes Andrew Griffin.
Former captain Martin Young and Rowlands’ England Strokeplay champion at both men’s and junior level winner Darren Wright combined to snuff out the dangerous pairing of former England Boys cap Tom Sherreard, who finished 19th at the 2008 Open at Royal Birkdale, and two-time Kent Champion Liam Burns.
While they were closing out their match when two up after 17, Stoneham’s reigning Hampshire Amateur Champion Owen Grimes and Jordan Sundborg, from Shanklin & Sandown romped to a 5&4 win over Josh Bristow and Jamie Guppy.
Mid-Amateur veteran Ed Richardson was another former England international playing on his home course for Kent – Redlibbets, close to Brands Hatch motor racing circuit.
But the Stoneham pairing of Ryan Moody and Alex Talbot were four up with three to play to make sure Roope’s appetite for lunch was not spoiled by any late fightbacks.
That left Botley-based George Saunders to help Rowlands’ Tom Robson win on the last against Mason Essam and Ben Quinney.
Roope was delighted to win the morning session 4-0. He said: ‘We arrived at Redlibbets on Saturday and even though we only played 12 holes, Alex Talbot and Ryan Moody had played a round there on Friday, so we knew what to expect.
‘It was a tight, fiddly course and with the wind on Sunday, we knew it was not going to yield a lot of birdies. So we played for par and let them make the mistakes – and our strategy worked perfectly.’
Kent had the upper hand in five of eight singles games after lunch.
Saunders was paired with Richardson, the 2012 Hong Amateur Champion, in the third match out.
Last year’s West of England Amateur Champion did very well to beat the son of former England cricketer Peter Richardson, 2&1.
That ensured the winning match point after Wright closed out the top match with a two-hole win when Sherreard lost his drive on the last, and Young had got to four up on Quinney in match five with three to play to make it 6-2 to Hampshire.
Although Sundborg and Grimes had both been beaten 3&2 by Burns and Guppy respectively, Talbot held out to win by one against Panting.
Club-mate Moody was last man out and even though Bristow’s win by the same margin ensured Kent had halved the session, Roope’s side’s second win in a month sets up next month’s home clash with Sussex.