HAMPSHIRE captain Martin Young had to survive an anxious few hours away from the course as his side set about demolishing Dorset in the county’s first South East Daily Telegraph League match of the season.
The Brokenhurst Manor man had to drop himself from the eight-man team as the match clashed with the christening of his brother’s first child.
So having spent Saturday with the team practising on the notoriously fast greens at Liphook, and after helping with the early morning warm-up, the former England Mid-Amateur champion was clocking up the miles driving back to the New Forest for the service – and then driving back again.
He arrived in time for lunch and after his side had raced into a 3-1 lead in the foursomes.
Despite a mid-order rally in the singles, which saw Hayling’s Toby Burden and Meon Valley’s George Saunders both beaten on the last hole, Hampshire ran out more than comfortable winners by 8.5 to 3.5.
The win owed much to the Blackmoor trio of Colin Roope, Mark Burgess and Ben Lobacz.
Between them, they produced a 100 per cent return on the day – earning five points between them.
Roope, who played twice for Surrey in the English County Finals more than ten years ago, got the chance to make his Hampshire debut after his strong showing in his first season with a new county which earned him both the gross and nett Order of Merits.
Young was relieved to get off to a winning start having seen his side stumble to three defeats out of four in his first league campaign in 2016.
He said: “I definitely prefer playing as captain than watching. It was horrible, I did not enjoy it all. But it was a good performance and I think overall, we have a stronger league squad this year than last.
“George Saunders and Ryan Harmer, who came into the six-man squad for the English County Finals, have undoubtedly added to the squad’s strength, and we have last year’s Hampshire Order of Merit winner Colin Roope available and Toby Burden has committed to playing more for the county this year.”
Even without Corhampton’s British Amateur Champion Scott Gregory and the United States-based quartet of Harry Ellis, Billy McKenzie, Jamie Mist and Steven Anderson, Young will have options for the game against Kent this weekend.