Hampshire Golf captain Colin Roope will look to his 2 Shanklin & Sandown college players to help the county side maintain their 100% South Division record when they face Sussex at North Hants on Sunday.
The Blackmoor man has called up the Isle of Wight’s Conor Richards after the Miami-based Barry University star returned from the States at the end of May, having helped his college to the NCAA Div II finals in his first year after switching from Leander in South Carolina.
He returned home too late to feature in the excellent 8-4 against Kent at Redlibbets but Roope is delighted to have the former Hampshire Boys Champion back as Hampshire are without 3 key players this weekend, including England internationals Billy McKenzie and Darren Wright, both from Rowlands Castle.
Stirling University’s Jordan Sundborg was available for the Dorset match earlier in the month, and the British Universities and College’s Order of Merit winner in 2019, and has been in good form, reaching the quarter-finals of the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship earlier this month, only losing to Roope.
The 2017 county champion – the first Isle of Wight winner since 1939 – is likely to be paired with the player who ended his chance of going back-to-back in the championships last summer.
Last year Sundborg and Richards were sent out at the top of the afternoon order against Sussex, but found themselves up against the hosts top 2 players in Tom Thurlow, who would go on to win the English Amateur, and US college graduate David Wicks, a Scottish international and were soundly beaten. Despite that blow, Roope’s men rallied to take the remaining 6 games to win 81/2-31/2.
Hampshire will start favourites but having won 2 matches so convincingly, even a defeat will still leave them the chance to win the South Division, although they would have to win when they travel to Surrey in August.
Team: Martin Young (Brokenhurst Manor), Toby Burden (Hayling), George Saunders (Lee-on-Solent) Conor Richards, Jordan Sundborg (Shanklin & Sandown), Alex Talbot, Owen Grimes (Stoneham), Matt Wilcox (North Hants).
Report by Andrew Griffin