County pride will be on the line this week when teams from Hampshire, Northumberland, Somerset and Staffordshire meet in the finals of a national championship.
The four teams will go head to head in the English Men’s County Championship from Friday September 29 to Sunday 1 October, battling it out over three days of match play at Trevose, on the Cornwall coast.
The action will unfold on the Championship Course, which is ranked as one of the top links in the British Isles, and it’s guaranteed that the wind will play its part in the outcome of this fiercely contested tournament.
The teams include some of England’s finest players. Somerset’s team includes French open winner Josh Hilleard, boy international Tom Plumb and Dutch Junior Open winner Tom Sloman.
Among the Staffordshire representatives are Welsh open champion Gian-Marco Petrozzi and fellow international Jack Gaunt, together with Ollie Read, who tied for the English Boys’ County Champion of Champions, only to lose out in a play-off.
Hampshire, which includes the Channel Islands and the Isle of Wight, will bring a line-up which features Matt Wilcox, the British mid-amateur champion and Martin Young, a past winner of the English mid-amateur title.
Northumberland are already in the golfing headlines thanks to the win of the City of Newcastle Golf Club in the English Champion Club tournament. County champion Phil Ridden helped in that triumph and will be back in action this weekend.
Northumberland, Hampshire and Staffordshire have all won this title before, but not recently. Hampshire’s sole victory was in 1996, Staffordshire won six times between 1938 and 1975, and Northumberland had a purple patch of four wins in the early 1960s. Somerset are targeting their first win.
The championship starts on Friday when Hampshire play Somerset in match one; and Staffordshire play Northumberland in match two. On Saturday the match one winners play the match two losers; and the match two winners play the match one losers. On Sunday the round robin will be completed.
Hampshire: Mark Burgess, Ryan Harmer, Billy McKenzie, Tom Robson, Colin Roope, Matt Wilcox and Martin Young.
Northumberland: Sean Heads, Matthew McClean, Andrew Minnikin, Craig Penny, Phil Ridden, Daniel Shevill and Sandy Twynholm.
Somerset: Jamie Clare, Josh Hilleard, Thomas Plumb, Will Poole, Tom Sloman, Matt Turner and Philip White.
Staffordshire: Ryan Brooks, Jack Gaunt, Tom Hewitt, Lewis Pearce, Gian-Marco Petrozzi, Ollie Read and Jake Walley