Blackmoor’s new county champion Sam Parsons was recalled for his first South East League match since 2021, and helped Hampshire crush Sussex 10-2 at Brokenhurst Manor.

Newly-appointed county captain Toby Burden, from Hayling, recalled Parsons after his victory in the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship.

He paired him with Rowlands Castle’s Tom Robson, also returning after a year out of the side. Having lost 3&2 to Watts and Tim Hollis in the foursomes, they were both determined to put a point on the board after lunch.

Luckily for Burden, they were the only pair not to pick up a point in the alternate-shot format and he was able to enjoy his lunch with his side leading 3-1.

Hampshire also made a fast start to the afternoon singles with the top half of the leaderboard quickly turning blue.

Robson, who normally heads the singles line-up, went out in an unaccustomed anchor role, but always had holes in hand after winning three out of four from the sixth, and had two putts for a par on the 16th to win 3&2 against Nick Ward.

Parsons – who made his league debut in the 2018 South East final when Essex earned a half in his match to take the Daily Telegraph Salver – won the 18th with a par in the penultimate game.

Sussex’s Sam Russell went for broke on the short par-four after finding the rough off the tee and missing the green with his wedge, which gave Parsons close out a two-hole win in the last match left out on the course after Robson’s victory.

Parsons made an excellent recovery on the 15th, after tangling with a tree close to the green to keep the pressure on Russell.

He admitted claiming his first Sloane-Stanley Challenge Cup – thanks to his 3&1 win over team-mate Ryan Henley in front of a lot of Blackmoor members on his home course last month – was finally beginning to sink in.

After claiming his point, Parsons, who took time away from the county side in 2022 before rebuilding his game last season, said: “It really was an unbelievable win.

“I am not really an emotional person, particularly out on the golf course, but having my partner and son there when I lifted the cup was really something special.

“Settling down and starting a family has definitely improved my outlook on golf.

“All those reports and posts online and on social media – and the photos in the paper – I am sure will make them even more special memories for all three of us when Milo is old enough to understand.

“Hopefully by then I will be caddying for Milo and he will be making headlines of his own.”

Liphook’s George Saunders, who picked up one-and-a-half points in the 7-5 win over Kent in late May, picked up maximum points against Sussex.

He partnered Jersey’s 2021 county champion to a 4&2 win in the first foursomes out against Joe Sykes and Harry Malin, the visitors’ strongest pairing on paper, before ensuring at least a draw with the sixth point, beating Josh Hayes 3&2, having gone three-up three times in the game.

With Hampshire in such a strong position with the last four games entering the back nine, Burden knew a big winning margin could mean a draw against Surrey in the final match might be enough to book their place in the final.

In their last four matches at Brokenhurst Manor, Hampshire have won by at least six points – their best haul was in 2019 when they beat Dorset – a game Parsons won his singles match in by 6&5.

Hampshire make the short journey up the A3 to Hindhead Golf Club to face Surrey in early August, looking to avenge a defeat there in 2017 which denied Hampshire the chance of a rare South East double having also qualified for the English county finals that summer.

Burden’s attention now switches to this month’s South East qualifier at Sussex’s Devil’s Dyke Golf Club, a hilly downland course near Brighton, when picking six players from a burgeoning squad will be his first big test as Hampshire captain.

By Andrew Griffin