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Colts get through to SE Final with nothing to spare

Left to right: Sam Parsons, Josh Smeed, Sam Lemon, Tom Vaughan, Chris Hayward, Lawrence Cherry, Nat Riddett (Colts Captain), Callum Watson and Ollie Wilson.

Hampshire's Colts team have won the SE Group League (South) despite losing their final match against Kent at West Kent GC.

Three-one up after the morning Foursomes and Hampshire appeared to be cruising to victory. However the Kent team rallied and won six of the eight singles matches to take victory.

This meant that Surrey, Kent and Hampshire had all won one match. The League would now be decided on matchpoints and thanks to Tom Vaughan's last hole birdie Hampshire finished at the top of the League table.

Colts Manager Nat Riddett said 'It could not have been closer, Tom's birdie to halve his match made all the difference'.

The SE Group Final will be played at Weybrook Park in October.

Andrew Griffin previews Sunday’s Colts League match against Kent.

HAMPSHIRE Colts will try to make up for a disappointing week for the county’s teams when they try to book their place in the South East League Final on Sunday.

Manager Nat Riddett takes his side to West Kent Golf Club knowing a draw will be enough to book his place in October’s final.

The Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands side lead the South Division after a convincing 7.5 to 4.5 win over Surrey, at Sherfield Oaks, last month.

And after Surrey beat Kent by the same score in the other fixture, avoiding defeat will be enough to take Hampshire to the final for the seventh time since 2010 – the best record in the South Division.

But Riddett, who took over running the team at the start of the season, will be sending out his team with a view to winning to maintain their 100 per cent record.

And after Hampshire’s men’s team could only finish fifth in the South East at Ashford GC last weekend – as hosts Kent reached the English County Finals for the first time since 1988 – it would be a fillip if the Colts can seal their place in the final as they would have home advantage at Weybrook Park in October.

The Shanklin & Sandown member, who works at the club as a greenkeeper, has been forced to ring the changes for the trip to Kent for his second match in charge.

It clashes with the Walton Heath Trophy, one of the top amateur events in the South which has claimed five of Riddett’s squad.

Bishopswood’s Tom Vaughan, who reached the semi-finals of the County Championship in June, is brought into the team, having been unavailable to face Surrey.

Vaughan has been a member of two of those Hampshire Colts teams to reach a final in the previous three years.

Liphook’s Sam Lemon, the Hampshire U21 champion in 2016 at Hayling, is given the nod again, having been a late withdrawal through injury for the first match of the 2019 campaign.

Stoneham’s left-hander Callum Watson, who stepped up at short notice, keeps his place alongside clubmate Lawrence Cherry, the former Hampshire Boys captain and Blackmoor’s Sam Parsons.

Chris Hayward, from Osborne, who made his Colts debut against Surrey, is joined in the team by clubmate Ollie Wilson.

The other newcomer is Hayling’s Josh Smeed, who played against the county colts in a friendly against at his club back in April, which Riddett used to test his foursomes partnerships.

Nat, who admitted he would spend his first season charge learning the ropes having never played for a Hampshire representative side, said: “It’s always going  disappointing when you can’t pick your best team.

“But I understand why the guys who are going to Walton Heath want to play in a top championship at one of the country’s leading courses.

“I still have a team of excited players who are keen to show their worth to the county. It shows the depth of players U25 I have got to choose from.

“Sam Parsons has played for the first team this season.”

“We have an excellent chance to win the league and progress to the final after Surrey beat Kent.”

• Check Hampshire Golf’s Facebook page for news of the match on Sunday.

There are four foursomes matches in the morning followed by eight singles in the afternoon.

Hampshire fightback at Sherfield Oaks

Hampshire defeated Surrey at Sherfield Oaks to get their 2019 SE Counties League season off to a winning start.

Click here for the Match Report.

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