Roope ready for Kent battle after good recent showings boost Hampshire team

Rowlands Castle's Tom Robson is back in the Hampshire team. Picture: Andrew Griffin
Rowlands Castle's Tom Robson is back in the Hampshire team. Picture: Andrew Griffin
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Hampshire will look to resist Kent’s determination to erase the memory of last year’s golfing rout on the Isle of Wight when they travel to Sevenoaks this weekend for their second South East League match of the season.

Fresh from their 10 ½ to 1 ½ win over Dorset at Brokenhurst Manor two weeks ago, captain Colin Roope has made three changes to his eight-man team, writes Andrew Griffin.

The Blackmoor member has recalled Rowlands Castle’s Tom Robson, who missed the opening game after a minor op, in place of club-mate Billy McKenzie.

Last year’s Spanish Amateur Champion will be competing in the French Amateur Strokeplay.

Such is the quality of the players available to Roope that Hayling’s Toby Burden and Blackmoor’s Sam Parsons – who lost that solitary point in the foursomes – make way for returning US college student George Saunders and Stoneham’s Alex Talbot, who missed the season opener.

Saunders is currently ranked the third best player in the NJCAA junior college rankings, and helped Texas Midland reach the National Finals where they finished second last week.

Roope said: ‘I was delighted with the result against Dorset, especially because of the work we put into the preparation.

‘After the Channel Islands match at Brokenhurst a fortnight earlier, we got the head greenkeeper to set up some tees and pin positions that played to our strengths.

‘Kent will be a much tougher proposition, and they will be very keen to get revenge for a year ago after we won 10 ½ to 1 ½.

Roope hopes the return of Robson, Talbot and Saunders will strengthen his side despite the loss of McKenzie.

The skipper added: ‘We have lost three times in a row to Kent away from home.

‘Again we will look to prepare properly – we will spend Saturday practising at Redlibbets with our coach Simon Andrews, working on our course management for Sunday’s singles and foursomes, which worked well at Brok. I think the level of detail we have gone into in our preparation has been reflected in results.

‘With Talbot and Owen Grimes both breaking the course record at Hockley in the Delhi Cup, at the weekend – and George’s form in the States – I am as confident as I can be without getting carried away.

‘We won’t underestimate Kent for a second.’

Hampshire: Martin Young (Brokenhurst Manor), Darren Wright, Tom Robson (both Rowlands Castle), Jordan Sundborg (Shanklin & Sandown), George Saunders (Lee-on-the-Solent), Alex Talbot, Ryan Moody and Owen Grimes (all Stoneham). Travelling reserve Toby Burden (Hayling).