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Hampshire golfers denied in bid for England rule
9:50pm Sunday 29th September 2013 in Sport
Lancashire were crowned English County Champions for the third time in six years as they dealt Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands a knockout blow with a 6.5-2.5 win in today’s title decider.
Captain Richard Elmes from Stoneham Golf Club was dreaming of doing what clubmates and predecessors Andy Bow and Alan Bow had failed to do in 2007, 2008 and 2010 – win the English County Championship for only the second time for Hampshire in only 80 years.
But from a fighting chance at the turn when his side were up in two matches, level in two and down in two, it was the Red Rose of Lancashire that bloomed as the Hampshire Rose wilted in the white hot heat of amateur golf’s top team championship.
Elmes restored the England junior international Harry Ellis to the top of the order but despite three birdies in a row from the 13th, Haydn McCullen took the point for Lancashire with a 3&2 win.
With the first point on board for the light blues from Rowlands Castle’s Tom Robson, who beat Sean Towndrow 4&2 in match three, it was still mathematically possible that Hampshire could be crowned champions.
But Stoneham’s Elliott Groves lost 3&2 to Paul Howard, who was peppering the flags with his approach play.
And it was nearly all over a few minutes later as clubmate Ryan Henley collapsed in his match with Mark Young. A 5&3 defeat was not what Elmes was counting on from the current Hampshire Amateur Champion.
Lancashire needed just one more point to win the match and then a further point to beat Devon on match difference. Brokenhurst Manor’s Martin Young in his fifth appearance in the English County Finals – a county record he holds with Henley – could not find his swing sufficiently to see off Ciaran Dohterty in the second match out, and eventually halved the final hole to lose by one. Lancashire’s fate rested on the final match with just a half required. But having holed a 20-footer for a birdie two at the 10th, Royal Jersey’s Gavin O’Neill was staring dormie in the face by the 15th and halved the next to lose 3&2.
The morning foursomes were halved after Robson and Groves let a one-hole advantage at the last slip when John Carroll rolled in an eight-footer for birdie on the par five.
Hampshire lost to Leicestershire 5.5-3.5 on Saturday, following their 6-3 win over Devon on the first day, and finished last on points difference.
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