LAWRENCE Cherry will bow out as Hampshire’s captain on Sunday, just three months into his second season in the role – having landed his dream job in Dubai.

The 27-year-old – who moved to North Hants as assistant general manager in September 2022 – is moving to one of the Middle East’s leading golf clubs at The Montgomerie GC Dubai.

He handed over the captaincy of the Channel League – which replaced the South East Colts League in 2023 – earlier this month to Hockley’s Luke Hodgetts.

But he was drafted back into captain them one last time as Hampshire began the defence of their South Division title with an 8½-3½win over Sussex, at Waterlooville GC, on Sunday.

Hodgetts had been scheduled to lead the county “reserves,” but the 2022 Selborne Salver winner got into The Berkshire Trophy, one of England’s most historic 72-hole amateur strokeplay events, and made the cut.

Cherry became the youngest-ever captain in Hampshire’s history, when appointed in February 2023, beating the record held by Royal Guernsey’s former England Boys cap David Warr, who held the role for one season in 1980, after moving to the mainland for a year while working as an accountant.

Lawrence became the first Hampshire captain to lift the Daily Telegraph Salver in 11 years after winning the South East League Final against B.B.&O., in October, courtesy of a victory at Sevenoaks’ Wildernesse GC.

He missed the Channel League final against Essex a week later – having captained the county to the title in the last-ever Colts season with a win away to Bedfordshire in 2022 – as Hampshire just missed out on a rare South East double, losing to arch-rivals Essex at Mill Hill GC.

Fittingly, Cherry will travel to Kent for one last time to lead the county first-team at nearby Wrotham Heath GC.

Lawrence said: “The job was advertised by Troon Golf, who manage The Montgomerie – and I was very pleased to come through the application process and be offered the job.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to work at a world-renowned resort, in one of the golfing destinations in the world right now.

“That’s true for anyone who works in golf management but to get this chance to move and work in the United Arab Emirates – before I have even turned 30 – is just too good an opportunity not to take.

“I have loved every minute of my career at both Stoneham – where I grew up as a junior, representing Hampshire at Boys and Colts before becoming part of the management team, and now Men’s level – before moving to North Hants.”

Cherry has been confined to a non-playing role since succeeding North Hants’ Neil Dawson as the 23rd county captain since the position was first created in 1951, and the 11th from Stoneham.

But his matchplay record for the Boys and Colts has been outstanding, and will be missed this season as Hampshire try to go one better in the Channel League.

South East League

DUBAI BOUND: Lawrence Cherry (right) and vice-captain Toby Burden, from Hayling GC, after winning the Daily Telegraph Salver. Picture by ANDREW GRIFFIN / AMG PICTURES

Vice-captain Toby Burden will step up and assume the captain’s badge after Sunday’s league curtain-raiser clash with Kent.

Hayling GC’s former EuroPro Tour player, who regained his amateur status in 2016 after six years as a pro, won the county championship at Aldershot’s Army GC in 2019, and reached three finals in a row up until 2021.

Lawrence added: “It will be very sad to send the boys out for my last foursomes and singles sessions as county captain.

“I know we have a very strong team again on paper again to hand over to Toby, who has been a great help as my vice-captain. I have been able to pick five county champions.

“That team doesn’t include our reigning county champion Ryan Henley, or Stuart Archibald, the English Over 35s champion just two years ago.

“Stuart was an ever-present in the team that won the league title for the first time since 2012 and is another past Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Champion.

“The four finals are memories I will always cherish,” added Cherry, who also led Hampshire to the English Boys Finals in 2015, and played in two South East Colts finals.

The outgoing captain also paid tribute to his colleagues at the Fleet club. He added: “Rob Climas, my general manager, has been incredibly supportive, along with all the staff at North Hants – in the clubhouse and out on the course – who have helped maintain the very high standards we all set ourselves.

“I am proud to have worked at North Hants, which is a first-class members’ club as well as a very popular destination for visitors and golf societies, who are obviously attracted to the club where Olympic Champion and US Open winner Justin Rose grew up.

“I will always look forward to coming back to North Hants, wherever my golf career takes me and hope to see the many friends I have made.

“If some of them can come out to Dubai and visit The Montgomerie, that will be even better,” said Cherry who flies out to Dubai next week.

Stoneham’s past Hampshire captains were: Percy Watford (1951-54); John Rush (1957/8)p; Alan Bradford (1965/6); David Harrison (1970/71); Clive Cole (1972/3); Gordon Murray-Fisher (1987-89); Andy Bow (2007-9); Alan Mew (2010/11); Richard Elmes (2012/13) and Steve Williams (2014/15).

Hampshire captains

Stoneham’s Alan Mew handing over the Hampshire captaincy to clubmate Richard Elmes for the 2012 season. Picture by ANDREW GRIFFIN / AMG PICTURES

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