Hampshire’s Colts team were narrowly beaten in their league final against Essex.

It was a nail-biting encounter when the southern section champions of England Golf’s South Eastern Group met the northern winners at Royal Blackheath but Essex won 6½-5½.

The contest went right to the wire, Corhampton’s Scott Gregory producing a late fightback that nearly salvaged a share of the trophy.

One down with two to play, and requiring a win in his match to earn a draw for Hampshire, Isle of Wight & Channel Islands, Gregory won the 17th hole to level matters with Essex’s Ben David.

At the last, Gregory then had a chance to win a full point, which would have squared the overall score, but saw his ten-foot putt slip just by.

“It was a nail biter,” said Colts manager Steve Williams. “The team played very well. They just made a couple more birdies than us. But I’m very proud of how the team have done all year and the effort they have put in.”

The tone for the day was set during a finely-balanced morning foursomes session, which ended 2-2.

Meon Valley’s Harry Ellis was sent out first alongside Royal Jersey’s Scott Gregory, the duo earning half a point against Bobby Keeble and Jordan Slater.

Corhampton pair Sam Day and Gregory lost 2up to James Allan and Alasdair Plumb, but there was a resounding 4&3 win for Rowlands Castle’s Mark Sawford and Brokenhurst Manor’s Jordan Ainley.

In the last match out, Army’s Sam Robertshawe and Rowlands Castle’s Billy Mckenzie earned a half against Reece Francis and David.

English amateur champion Ellis was sent out first in the singles, earning a 3&2 victory against Keeble. Crenan was beaten 3&1 by George Evans, while Day lost 2&1 to Slater.

Robertshawe secured a half with Jordan Wallace, while Ainley did likewise with Allan.

Sawford’s 2&1 win against Plumb kept Hampshire right on Essex’s coattails, with Mckenzie having suffered a 6&5 loss against Francis.

That left Gregory’s match with David. Despite a stirring rally from the Hampshire man, the Essex player held on to a half that ensured his side emerged with the trophy.