Hampshire’s Colts manager has turned to the Isle of Wight’s exciting quartet of talented golfers in the county’s bid to retain the South Eastern Group U21 League title against an Essex side out for revenge, at Rowlands Castle today (Sunday).
Neil Dawson – whose team beat the North Division champions at Hendon a year ago – has seen the heart of the team that won the South Division qualifier at Waterlooville in June, ripped out with the likes of Berkshire Trophy winner Billy McKenzie and fellow US college golfers Steven Anderson, Joe Ellis and Sam De’ath all having returned across the Atlantic for the autumn term.
And with Corhampton’s Scott Gregory having received a call-up to represent England in the Spirit International in Texas, which starts on Monday, Dawson has been forced to ring the changes.
So to fill his eight-man side, he has decided to pick four members of the Hampshire U18 team that reached this summer’s English Boys Finals, including Jordan Sundborg (featured image), who reached the quarter-finals of the British Boys, in August, and the reigning county junior champion Conor Richards (pictured above) – both members at Shanklin & Sandown Golf Club.
The pair – who represented their club at the English Champion Club tournament at Brancepth Castle in Durham last month after winning the Hampshire Team title at the county championship in June – are joined by fellow Isle of Wight player, Josh Oddy (pictured right), who played for England U16s last year and is still a member of the England U16 squad.
The fourth member from the Island is Freshwater’s Ryan Harmer (pictured left), who represented the Isle of Wight at the Island Games in Jersey this summer.
Dawson will not fall into the trap of underestimating Essex, despite the home advantage, which worked in their favour when Hampshire lost the men’s South East Final against them at The Warren.
The Essex men’s team lost the South East final against Kent at Broadstone in Dorset last Sunday – the champions having ended Hampshire’s hopes of regaining the Daily Telegraph title by beating Surrey in their final South Division match just over a month ago.
The Hampshire U21 manager revealed:
“Essex have also lost three of their Colts team who are studying in America, but we know they are desperate to beat us after last year. They have booked in for an extra practice round on Friday to get to know the course better.
“But I have great belief in our players even if some of them are a little inexperienced at Colts level – but they have just played together in an English Boys Final and can all play.”
The two teams will play four foursomes matches in the morning followed by the eight singles after lunch. Entry is free and spectators are welcome.