The Hampshire Men were in Division 3b of the Aegon Winter County Cup held at David Lloyd Southampton over the weekend of 24th – 26th November 2017.
The team was: George Houghton, Liam Hignett, Jake Norris, Josh Gook, Paul Scullard, Michael Johnson, Edward Percival, Ryan Golesworthy and Harry Wilmott-Stanton.
Division 3 was very tough this year with Dorset, South Wales and Derbyshire, three very strong and experienced counties to play. Our aim was to stay if it was possible.
We have a young and inexperienced team this year with most of our players away in the US, but it is a great opportunity for these players to come to the fore.
Day 1 v Dorset
The team was: George Houghton, Liam Hignett, Jake Norris, Josh Gook, Paul Scullard, Mike Johnson
Doubles: Hignett/Norris, Scullard/Houghton, Johnson/Gook
We got off to a great start going 4 - 1 up in the singles but lost a tight match at no.1 to finish 4 - 2 after singles.
Dorset are a strong doubles county and unfortunately we lost the first two doubles making the match 4 - 4, all on the last match. A great match was finally won by Dorset 11 - 9 in the third after we had a match point, we were devastated but that is County Cup.
Day 2 v South Wales
The team was: George Houghton, Liam Hignett, Jake Norris, Josh Gook, Ed Percival, Mike Johnson
Doubles: Houghton/Golesworthy, Hignett/Norris, Johnson/Percival
They were far too good for us, we were 6 - 0 down after singles in quite a short time! The doubles were a different story with us winning two out of three. So it was all on the last day against Derbyshire to see who stayed.
Day 3 Derbyshire
The team was: George Houghton, Liam Hignett, Jake Norris, Ryan Golesworthy, Paul Scullard, Mike Johnson
Doubles: Houghton/Golesworthy, Hignett/Norris, Johnson/Scullard
Mike got us off to a great start winning a tight match, unfortunately Paul, Ryan and Jake lost tight matches for us to be 3 - 1 down, but Liam and George at numbers 1 and 2 played superbly and won making it 3 - 3 after singles. The doubles was difficult as they are an exceptional doubles county, and we lost 2 out of 3 meaning we lost the match 5 - 4.
We now have a very young side with all of the US players away so it was a good learning curve for them. And we have some foundations to use in the practices and build a new team from.
Julian Godfrey, Men’s County Captain