Extra spice has been added to Hampshire’s league decider next month, after rivals Surrey edged them out for a place in the English County Finals.
Captain Steve Williams’ six-man team came up just short in the south east qualifier, but they will have a chance to exact revenge in a few weeks.
Hampshire host Surrey in their final league match of the season, on Sunday, August 3, in what will be a winner-takes-all encounter.
Williams’ side currently top the standings in the southern division of England Golf’s South Eastern Group and know that a victory at Liphook will ensure the title.
A win for Surrey, though, would hand them the crown and send them through to an October showdown with the northern division winners.
But Hampshire are fired up for the clash, after Surrey squeaked past them at Hankley Common to reach the English County Finals.
“It’s certainly given us added incentive, if we needed it,” said Williams. “It was the first thing we all said, as soon as we realised we had lost to them.”
Surrey’s six-man team posted an overall score of 876 (+24) in the 36-hole qualifier, which was just ahead of Hampshire, on 882 (+30).
With the standard scratch at three-over-par, it was a high-quality display of golf from both sides.
But it was Surrey who advanced from the 11-team event to represent the south east in September’s finals.
“Second’s not a bad result, but we are all very disappointed, because we went there to win,” said Williams.
“We played well on the day, but we probably just didn’t quite hole enough putts.”
Hampshire: Scott Gregory (143), Tom Robson (144), Mark Burgess (146), Martin Young (147), Darren Walkley (150), Gavin O’Neil (152).