STONEHAM’S former county champion Owen Grimes was the hero of the hour getting his captain over the line against Dorset for a first win of the new South East League campaign, at Broadstone.

Grimes, who won the Hampshire, Isle of Wight and Channel Islands Amateur Championship three years ago, won the 15th – thanks to a birdie at the par three – and the 16th after his opponent found a ditch of the tee – to go two-up, writes Andrew Griffin.

And after splitting the fairway on 17th he was left with a wedge from 135 yards, knowing that even if he lost the last two holes, it would only tie the match at 4-4, while halving the hole would give Hampshire a narrow victory.

Captain Neil Dawson – who was finally able to send out a team in a competitive fixture 17 months after taking the reins from Blackmoor’s Colin Roope – was delighted with the discipline display by Grimes under the gun.

Dawson praised the talented former Romsey GC junior’s growing maturity to bounce back, having eagled the first before going two-down after a couple of bogeys on the front nine.

Dawson said: “I told the guys in the bottom matches I needed at least one of them to turn it around, and spent a lot of time walking the back nine with Owen.

“I told him not to go near the back of the green on the 17th, as I knew a half meant we could not lose the match.

“It was a fantastic wedge from to 10-feet and two-putt to win his game and get us the victory.”

The left-hander was left in the penultimate match after Dawson sent out his big guns in the top half of the draw.

Brokenhurst Manor’s Martin Young and Tom Robson picked up wins in the top two matches.

But Stoneham’s Courage Trophy winner Ryan Moody was pegged backed by Dorset captain Andy Rideout, the general manager at Bramshaw GC, who came from four down to halve their match.

Rideout missed a five-footer for birdie to win the match on the last and Ash Colloff – the only Broadstone member in the Dorset line-up – beat Dawson’s predecessor Colin Roope 6&4, even if the scoreline did not reflect how the Rowlands Castle man played.

With North Hants’ former British Mid-Amateur Champion Matt Wilcox losing 4&3 to Sam Atkins, and Blackmoor’s fellow mid-amateur veteran Mark Burgess losing the bottom game to Matthew Sandy 2&1, Grimes’ win made it 41/2-31/2.

Dawson’s winning start stretched Hampshire’s record against Dorset to just one defeat in 15 years – and just three losses since 2000, with four draws in that sequence.