Golf Sport

COWES SEEK SECOND SEVENS TITLE AT STONEHAM

The winning Old Thorns team

Cowes will attempt to claim the County Sevens for a second time when they travel across the Solent to Southampton’s Stoneham Golf Club this weekend.

The 2003 winners have reached the finals 6 times since the 1990s but their only victory came 13 years ago.

Captain Ian Graham will take a 9-man squad for a practice round on Saturday before selecting his 7-man team to face Oak Park in the semi-finals on Sunday morning.

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Oak Park have already knocked out Rowlands Castle, the most successful club in the Hampshire Inter-Club Knockout competition’s 61-year history – having won the Sevens 5 times – to reach the last 4 thanks to a resounding 7-0 win. They also beat North Hants, the home club of Justin Rose as a junior, in the third round on the road to Stoneham.

The host club for this year’s final have never won the competition and have suffered heartbreak losing out at the finals in the past 2 years.

So when they were drawn at home against Cowes in the quarter-finals, the club with more category one players than any other Hampshire club were confident of making the finals for a third year in a row.

But they were beaten in the final game which went to the 21st hole before Cowes shattered Stoneham’s dreams.

The winners of the morning semi between Cowes and Oak Park, who play on the Hampshire-Surrey border, near Farnham, will play the winners of La Grand Mare, last year’s beaten finalists from Jersey, and Meon Valley G&CC.

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La Grande Mare also reached the final in 2012 and knocked out Blackmoor to reach the last 4.

Graham’s men won at Freshwater in the first round before knocking out Shanklin & Sandown. Victory over Osborne set up a home clash against the 2011 champions Basingstoke.

The losers of the morning semis will compete in the third and fourth place play-off while the winners contest the afternoon final.

The Cowes squad (handicap in brackets) is: Paul Young (8); Liam Whittock (9); Richard Shore (9); Ian Ralph (10); Tim Entwhistle (13); Paul Venables (13) and Pete England (13).

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