Hampshire skipper eager to see if county stars can make mark during big weekend
Hampshire captain Colin Roope is keen to see what shape his players’ game is in as the county’s leading amateurs head to Blackmoor for this weekend’s Selborne Salver.
And after the country’s best players tackle the East Hampshire heathland course, on Saturday, the action switches to the Hampshire Hog on Sunday, writes Andrew Griffin.
Roope’s county squad have been playing friendlies amongst themselves over the past few weeks, and had an outing against the Hampshire PGA at Alresford, which they narrowly lost at the weekend.
But with the country’s first major 72-hole tournament getting under way in the shape of the Hampshire Salver for the best total in the two events, Roope is keen to see how his troops perform under the gun – with only a match against the Channel Islanders at the end of this month before he has to pick his team for May’s opening Daily Telegraph League match of the season against Dorset.
The skipper said: ‘When you think Mark Burgess was the last Hampshire winner of the Selborne in 2009 – and is still the only Blackmoor member to win it in 40 odd years – you would have to think why has there not been another home-grown winner.
‘In that period we have had the likes of Darren Wright, Neil Raymond, Scott Gregory and Harry Ellis represent their country and win either the Brabazon or British Amateur – two of the three biggest titles in the UK.
‘So it is not that we have not had the players, but when you see that Matt Fitzpatrick and Andy Sullivan have ended up playing in the Ryder Cup within five years of winning at Blackmoor, you see the pedigree of the winners.’
Since then Wiltshire’s Jordan Smith has won both the Hog and Salver before ending up as a winner on the European Tour, and two years ago, former Hampshire junior Jack Singh-Brar – who played in the 2017 Walker Cup alongside former county team-mates Gregory and Ellis – took the trophy under the colours of Dorset’s Remedy Oak.