HAMPSHIRE booked their place in the English County Finals with a third successive win in the South East Qualifier at Sheringham, on the north Norfolk coast.
Martin Young’s team have contested the English County Championship in six of the last ten years and will head to Trevose, in North Cornwall, in late September, desperate to end their hoodoo of not having picked up the trophy once in that time.
Hampshire hope it will be seventh time lucky and will be bidding to record just their second victory in the competition’s 90-year history, after they emerged triumphant back in 1996 at Woodhall Spa, in Lincolnshire, in a team that contained a young Justin Rose.
They claimed the South East silverware without their leading two players – Harry Ellis and Scott Gregory, the current and past Amateur Champions – who flew out of Heathrow with England to the European Amateur Team Championships, at Austria’s Diamond Country Club, a regular venue on the European Tour.
Young has played in a total of seven English County Finals between 2002 and 2016 and his experience at the helm proved invaluable in the build-up as they looked for a repeat of the game plan which had seen Hampshire emerge at the top of the pile when the qualifier was last held at Sheringham back in 2008.
So far, Somerset and Staffordshire have claimed the South West and Midlands titles respectively, with last year’s English County Champions Yorkshire defending their Northern Counties title at Seascale on August 9.