BRAMSHOTT Hill proved it’s quality not quantity that counts as one of the minnows of Hampshire Golf came out on top with their first County Sevens title since 1981.

And the club based at the Dibden Golf Centre on the edge of the New Forest, survived a tense day to see off firstly Waterlooville in the semi-finals before beating Les Ormes, from Jersey, 5-2, at Royal Winchester GC.

Bramshott are most famous for producing Richard Bland, who would win two Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championships and six Hampshire Opens in a row – three before he turned pro – in the 1990s.

Captain Stuart Davison said: “It’s an amazing win. We only have something like 110 male members. The nerves were really strong in the semi-final, maybe not so much after lunch – the final was a better result, even if it looked quite close at one point.”

Davison was certainly starting to feel the pressure as his game against Nathan Maguire finished all-square in the third match, with Les Ormes having won the first two.

Two-handicapper Jordan Pidgley and Ian Binge (11) were beaten 3&1 and 2&1 respectively by the Channel Islanders’ Simon Ashworth and Jon Dauny.

Although Bramshott had healthy leads in the bottom two matches, the middle three were very close, so Davison felt the need to lead from the front.

He said: “We were two-down. I saw that as the start of the turning-point so going down the 19th I really wanted to win my point to start our fight-back.”

The value of that win could not be understated as Davison was giving five shots to his opponent. He had led by three-holes after seven, before losing the eighth, 11th and 12th.

Bramshott Hill County Sevens winners 2022

The Bramshott Hill team that won the County Sevens (front row) with their caddies at Royal Winchester GC, having beaten Les Ormes 5-2. Picture by ANDREW GRIFFIN / AMG PICTURES

Despite going back in front on the tricky 14th, he lost the next and then fell behind for the first time when Maguire took the penultimate hole – forcing Davison to win the last to force sudden-death, before emerging the victor at the first extra-hole.

It was still quite close when Les Ormes’ captain David Freeman was beaten 5&4 by four-handicapper Alan Williams in the anchor match.

That made it 2-2, and made light of the nine shots Williams was conceding on his handicap. Moments later Matt Bennett, who was also off four, put Bramshott in front for the first time, beating Les Ormes’ Harvey Philpott, despite giving him three shots.

Matt won by two on the 17th leaving the two Craigs out on the course for the Hythe-based club. Ten-handicapper Craig Sly was taken to the last by the doughty Peter Horsfall, playing off nine.

But he held out for a one-hole win after winning the 17th and 18th having trailed by one with two to play. That proved the significant result, giving Bramshott an unassailable four points, and just their second County Sevens win in the club’s history.

Just one hole back, Bramshott’s Craig Whittington was shaking hands with Les Ormes’ nine-handicapper Luke Sullivan after closing out a 2&1 win that was a lot more comfortable in reality, having been four-up after four.

Wins for Sullivan at the ninth and 15th were not enough to derail Whittingham in the final match left out on the course.

Whittington had been the hero in the morning, holding his nerve to beat Waterlooville’s four-handicapper Gary Kimber at the 19th to book Bramshott’s final place thanks to a 41/2-21/2 win.

Stuart Davison County Sevens

Bramshott Hill club captain Stuart Davison employed different selection tactics to put a winning County Sevens team together. Picture by ANDREW GRIFFIN / AMG PICTURES

Davison, who picked up maximum points at finals day, explained how a change in tactics had helped mould a successful Sevens team for the first time in many years.

He said: “In the past, the club tended to go with just the lowest handicappers we had – and we rarely made it past the first round while I have been at the club.

“Jordan Pidgley and Alan Williams had to give up 16 shots between them in the final as our two lowest handicappers. But winning the Sevens is about getting the right blend of players and personalities.

“I have had experience running teams in other sports including pool and darts. I know it is about getting a tight team, who play and socialise together, and have that spirit which counts when things get tough.

“So I have brought in some higher handicappers who do well in matchplay,” added Stuart, who enjoyed a 5&3 win against Waterlooville’s best player Bill Parker in the semi-final before lunch.

“Alan is a member at Stoneham too, but can’t get in their team. We were told they have never won the competition in its 57-year history.

“That’s two wins for us now,” he beamed. “After I won my game, I was able to stand up on the clubhouse balcony and watch my team get those key points over the line.

“It’s the best experience I have had in golf, and all those other sports too, definitely.”

Bramshott’s run to the final four began with wins over South Winchester (6-1), Wickham Park (6-1), Bramshaw (4-3) before beating Wellow 5-2 at home to reach the last four. •FINAL RESULTS

WATERLOOVILLE – who had been chasing their third Sevens victory, and their first since 1998 – prevailed in the third and fourth-place play-off beating Petersfield 4-3.

In the other semi-final, Petersfield, who had never won the Hampshire Inter-Club Knockout, lost 5-2 to Les Ormes. The Jersey team were playing in just their second finals day, and dreaming of landing the Sevens title for the first time – and just the sixth time for the island.

Craig Sly Bramshott Hill Sevens

Craig Sly claimed the winning fourth point for Bramshott Hill against Les Ormes to seal their first win in the Hampshire Sevens since 1981. Picture by ANDREW GRIFFIN / AMG PICTURES

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