HAMPSHIRE were forced to share the South Eastern Group Colts League trophy with Essex after the final finished in a topsy-turvy draw at Rowlands Castle.

The home side looked in the stronger position with just three of the eight afternoon singles left out on the course, in the showdown between the northern and southern champions - even though Essex held a slender lead at 5-4, writes Andrew Griffin.

Westridge's England U16 international Josh Oddy had been cruising with a three-hole lead with seven to play, but Callum Hilton hit him with three birdies, including a clutch putt for a three at the 15th, to earn a half, leaving Essex needing just one point from the final two games to avenge last year's defeat at the hands of Hampshire, Isle of Wight and the Channel Islands.

Immediately behind them, North Hants' Billy Watson sank a glorious 12-footer for a birdie four on the 17th to take a one-hole lead down the last, but his drive on 18 found trees and Brandon Meads took advantage to salvage another half a point for Essex.

That left Shanklin & Sandown's Jordan Sundborg - who reached the last eight of the British Boys at Royal Birkdale in August – needing to maintain his slender one-hole lead over the last to guarantee the third tie involving Hampshire and the Islands in the final over its 47-year history.

Hampshire Colts manager Neil Dawson had his heart in his mouth as the teenager knifed a wedge straight through the green with his third shot, coming to rest just off the fringe and some 40 feet from the hole.

But opponent Dylan Mahmut could only put his third to within 20 feet, leaving Sundborg to lag his chip to around three feet, which was graciously conceded. And when the Essex Colt could not find the bottom of the cup for par, they halved in bogey fives to leave the match tied at 6-6.

Earlier in the day, the two counties had been tied at 2-2 after the morning foursomes, with Sundborg and Oddy winning 5&3, while Watson and Petersfield's Ben Lobacz triumphed 3&1.

Lobacz then beat Mitchel Sarling 3&1 in the singles, while Brokenhurst Manor's Ryan Harmer hammered Tom Barker 7&6.