LES Mielles Golf Club have secured the Hampshire County Sevens crown for the first time, following a 4.5 – 2.5 victory over New Forest GC in the final.
Hosted by Lee-on-the Solent GC, the Islanders required a play-off against Waterlooville GC in the morning to edge into the afternoon final and, after a hard-fought day of golf, sealed the prestigious crown in style.
In doing so, they became just the fourth Channel Island club to hoist the trophy since its inception in 1966, following in the footsteps of Royal Jersey, La Moye and Guernsey’s La Grande Mare.
In what has been a tumultuous period for the club, with widespread disdain regarding the condition of their course, the victory highlighted the togetherness of their membership and a steely resolve to battle through the hardships.
In the absence of regular playing captain Matt Cooper and club captain Arno Chilvers, the reins were taken up by Allan Lawson, who won both his semi and final matches, anchoring his team on both occasions.
He said: ‘We are all really delighted. The County Sevens is a massive tournament and to come out on top out of all the clubs in Hampshire is a brilliant achievement.
‘It hasn’t been an easy time over the last four years for golfers involved with Les Mielles, given the issues we have faced with the condition of the course.
‘But the club as a whole has been incredibly successful of late. The ladies and seniors won their respective crowns in Jersey and for the men’s to cap the year off with a County Sevens crown was the icing on the cake.
‘I think it shows how together the club is. Everyone has shown a lot of resilience in the face of adversity.
‘There is a lot of time and effort that goes into successes like these, and we ultimately reaped the reward for that.’
Along with captain Cooper, Bobby Sterling and Richard Wilson were both unavailable for selection on finals day, after playing a key role in Les Mielles earlier rounds.
Dale Clark and Dan Brannan also played a part against Royal Jersey and St Pierre Park respectively.
The westerners defeated La Moye away from home to win the Jersey title, before a victory against visiting Sarnian side St Pierre Park in the Channel Island final.
The final proved a competitive affair, with five of the seven duels all heading to or beyond the 17th hole.
While the opening match between Les Mielles Peter Roscouet and Jackson Ainley headed for extra holes, Islander Harry Singleton secured the first point in the match behind, with a final-hole victory over New Forest’s Andy Hales.
Roscouet duly added the second point with victory on the 19th hole.
Les Mielles needed just two more points from the remaining five matches to seal the win, but the mainland club pegged them back as Peter Dixon fell two-down to Steve Holland.
However, stand-in captain Lawson controlled the bottom match from start to finish to win 4&3 over Gavin Lockley, leaving the Jersey club one point from history.
Gavin Shergold fell to New Forest teenager Karl Udy 3&2, but James O’Hara defeated Jason Hallam 2&1 for the magic fourth point.
With the result in the bag, Stephen Inman and Richard Holland shook hands on the 17th hole, with their match being called a half.