Hampshire's final hopes hang in the balance after 100 per cent South East League start is ended by Sussex on South Downs

Hampshire's hopes of reaching the final of the South East League for the first time in three years have been dealt a major blow following defeat to rivals Sussex.

Monday, 5th July 2021, 10:40 am
Hampshire golf captain Neil Dawson. Picture: Andrew Griffin/AMG Pictures

Team captain Neil Dawson saw his side's 100 per cent record in the competition ended as they were defeated 5 1/2- 2 1/2 at The Dyke on the Sussex Downs.

Hampshire's loss means they must now beat Surrey in their final south division fixture next month whilst also hoping they can pip their opponents, Sussex and Kent on match points difference - depending on results in the other matches, writes Andrew Griffin.

Captain Dawson conceded: ‘It was a deflating defeat - there is no disguising that.

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‘The first five matches all went to at least the 17th green, but we only picked up one-and-a-half points in

those games.

‘I was delighted Joe Buenfeld got a win on his debut – his point made it 2-1 – but Sam Parsons was robbed

by Joe Sullivan, who is at college with Jo Hacker in Florida.

‘He rolled in some 200 feet of putts in one round, including a 50-footer for a bogey four on the 17th after

he lost his ball off the tee.

‘Sam missed the green and two-putted for his four and then watched Joe hole a 15-footer for a half on

the last.’

The pressure was on Lee-on-the-Solent Golf Club's former west of England amateur champion George Saunders, who needed to beat Sussex's Lewis Gurr to keep the match alive.

However, he came up short, losing 2 and 1, to hand the victory to Hampshire's opponents.

Dawson added: ‘Jo Hacker was three down early on in his debut, but played very well before losing 3 and 2.

‘Hayling’s Toby Burden did his usual job in the anchor role, winning 4 and 3 but it was too little too late

for us.

‘Colin Roope couldn’t hole anything inside 10 feet having played well tee to green, and lost 4 and 3 – but he

will have a big role to play when we face his old county on his home course in just over a month.

‘The weather was not great with rain during the afternoon, but I would have fancied us to have turned

that score if we had played foursomes as normal in the morning.

‘If we had won the game, reaching the final was in our own hands against Surrey.

‘Now we will have to see where the table stands if we can win that last game.’