Roope: Hampshire contributed to own downfall in draw with Sussex

Hampshire captain Colin Roope  Picture: Andrew Griffin
Hampshire captain Colin Roope Picture: Andrew Griffin
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Captain Colin Roope admitted to being a little shell-shocked after watching his men come within an inch of suffering their first defeat in the South East League in seven attempts.

Roope has been able to concentrate on watching his players, having been left with an embarrassment of riches to choose from since he was injured back in April.
He was standing by the eighth hole as the players approached the turn on Sunday afternoon with Hampshire down in all but two of the eight singles.
And even though five games went to the 18th, the fact that Sussex grabbed 5.5 points to force the unlikeliest of draws made the post-round inquest as hard as anything he has faced since succeeding Martin Young at the start of last season.
Roope, from Blackmoor GC, said: ‘I can’t think of a county match in the 15 years I have been playing for Surrey and Hampshire where a team has come back quite like that – certainly not away from home.
‘Teams can turn 3-1 around no problem – but to have just a half to show from the foursomes? 
‘I think we contributed to our own downfall by being careless in the singles, but fair play to Sussex for not giving up.
‘The story of our season is we have been very strong in the foursomes – helped by the preparation we did in April and May, working on our pairings.
‘Even though were without Billy McKenzie, Darren Wright and Tom Robson, all four pairings had played before.
‘Matt Wilcox and Martin Young were formidable in foursomes two years ago.
‘Given they have won the Justin Rose Mid Amateur Trophy twice each in four years there, and the fact Matt’s a member at North Hants, it made sense to reunite them – Matt was
unavailable to play a lot last season.
‘Unfortunately, just as happened in the Kent match, the opposition had little to lose after lunch and came out all guns blazing.
‘We let them get up early and from there, once the momentum goes against you, it can be hard to regain it.
‘Against Kent we rode it out, but we just could not find that extra half we needed to get over the line this time.’