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Hampshire B 24-20 London B, 22/05/2016

Inter CountyHaving made our longest trip of the season to Basingstoke, an abundance of availability presented Captain Clayton with a selection dilemma. After some tough decisions the B's were left with several players with A team experience, giving us the confidence of getting a good result against our Hampshire counterparts.

Early signs were positive as Hobbis, O'Connor, Kelly and Gear reversed our unwelcome trend of starting slowly to put us 4-0 up. Further wins from Lawrence, Clayton, Coppen and Francis allowed us to open up an 8-3 lead at the end of the first set.

The second set began in similar fashion with Kelly securing his first break-dish for London County; this, sadly, was as good as it got for a while, as we remarkably lost the next NINE frames. Hewson reduced the deficit to 2 as we went in 12-10 down at the halfway stage.

A mid-match pep talk from Vice-Captain Gayler increased the energy and noise levels from our side but this didn't translate to a numerical comeback. Losing 3 of the first 4 frames in the third set left us with a big mountain to climb, as Hampshire pushed further ahead to go into the last set 18-15 to the good.

The arrival of the fashionably-late (now come on, that's pushing it a bit) Bacon aside, the fourth set followed a similar pattern. After the first 8 frames were shared, the win was secured in frame 42 as Hampshire eventually completed a 24-20 victory.

Outstanding performances came from Clayton, Hobbis and Hewson, all of whom finished with 3/4, while Kelly could be happy with the aforementioned BD. Unfortunately, our overall disappointment at the result overshadowed these successes as we reflected on the day.

Still, onwards and upwards! Still in a good position in the standings and still determined to repeat the dose we delivered at regional champion Berkshire's celebration party last year when we welcome them to London next month. With Clayton and Gayler both missing, the onus will be on those remaining to give them something else to smile about from their sun loungers!


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