COUNTY captain Martin Young went with youth last year in his quest to end Hampshire’s hoodoo at the English County Finals.

But they were beaten by all conquering Yorkshire, who won a record 21st title.

So this year, the Brokenhurst player who will appear in what is a record-breaking eighth appearance wearing Hampshire’s light blue in the finals, has picked four players who qualify as Mid Amateurs, including himself.

The 47-year-old – won won his third Hampshire Amateur Championship at Hayling in 2016 – had been holding back from naming his side in case Walker Cup star Scott Gregory decided to postpone turning pro for a couple of more weeks.

Gregory admitted last week after accepting an 11th hour invite to play in last week’s Portugal Masters that his decision to turn pro was influenced by how he came back from two down with two to play against Norman Xiong to pinch a draw.

If he had lost he would have been tempted to turn out one last time for Hampshire at the spectacular Trevose, perched on a Cornish headline overlooking the North Atlantic.

Instead, he will be teeing it up in this week’s Challenge Tour event in Spain but will be pulling for his team-mates to perform better than when was in the team that lost to Lancashire at Wychwood Park, Crewe, in 2015.

Now Young hopes his “golden oldies” – including the current British Mid Amateur Champion Matt Wilcox, from North Hants – can break that run stretching back to their one and only victory in 1996 at Woodhall Spa.

They have failed to win in their last seven appearances in the finals since 2002, when Young was part of the team that lost to Yorkshire at La Moye, in Jersey.

And on three occasions it was Lancashire who denied Hampshire a dream win – the good news is that this week neither Yorkshire or Lancashire will be heading down the M5 to Trevose’s spectacular links after Northumberland caused a shock by winning the Northern Counties Qualifier last month.

His seven-man squad are all in good nick – the Rowlands Castle pair of Tom Robson and Billy McKenzie blew away the field in the County Foursomes, shooting a sensational 63 at Corhampton just over a week ago in the final Hampshire Golf Union strokeplay event of the season.

Colin Roope is no stranger to the English County Finals having appeared for Surrey in successive finals in 2005 and 2006 – when future Ryder Cup player Chris Wood was in the Gloucestershire team and Yorkshire fielded European Tour player Chris Hanson.

The burly Blackmoor member has carried on the good form of 2016 – his first season playing in Hampshire after switching counties when he claimed both the gross and nett Order of Merits – and after donning county colours in all four of Hampshire’s four South East League matches he picked up the Courage Trophy and Mid Amateur Championship at Army GC at the beginning of September.

He is likely to team-up with fellow Blackmoor man Mark Burgess – who at 6ft 7ins towers above most opponents – set to appear in his third English County Finals, having been given the seventh slot at Minchinhampton four years ago.

And after his fine win in his own club’s scratch open in late August – one of the leading Order of Merit events – Burgess is retained from the team that lost the Sunday showdown at Sandwell Park 12 months ago. Last year he won two-and-a-half points from his five matches.

Roope and Burgess – who lost their only foursomes match together against Sussex back in July – showed their strong partnership by taking the Mid Amateur prize at the County Foursomes, for the best over 35s score after finishing in second spot some six shots behind Robson and McKenzie.

Wilcox is enjoying a rebirth at the highest level of the amateur game at the ripe old age of 43 – in his mid 20s he moved from his native Bedfordshire to Wentworth and turned pro in 1998 with the intention of having a crack at the big time.

But having fallen out of love with golf, he hung up his clubs and concentrated on his specialist lead roofing business – which has seen him work at Highclere Castle, while it was used as a film set for ITV’s Downton Abbey.

He started playing again after becoming a father late in life and qualified for the knockout at the Hampshire Amateur Championship at Hockley in 2014, before concentrating on mid-amateur events.

After his win in the British back in May at Woodhall Spa, the headquarters of England Golf and one of the toughest parkland tracks in the country, Young called him into the squad for the league trip to Sussex.

He kept his place in the team that lost to Surrey at Hindhead in August, which killed any lingering hope of making next month’s South East League Final.

But having experienced the pressures of trying to win a European Tour card at the qualifying school in 2000 and made his European Tour debut in that summer’s Saint Omer Open in Northern France, he has found his appetite and is hungry for success against Somerset, Staffordshire and Northumberland.

Having made the cut in the 2001 South African Open, which earned him €3,000, he is more than happy to play without financial reward and looks set to partner the county captain at least in the opening match.

The final member of the team is Shanklin and Sandown’s Ryan Harmer, who edges out clubmate Jordan Sundborg, who is now back in Scotland having started the second year of his golf scholarship at Stirling University.

Hampshire English County Finals squad (Trevose GC Sept 29-Oct 1): M Young (capt Brokenhurst Manor); C Roope, M Burgess (Blackmoor); T Robson B McKenzie (Rowlands Castle); M Wilcox (North Hants); R Harmer (Shanklin & Sandown)