Scotland made a fine start to the defence of their Boys Home Internationals title with a 10½-4½ win against Wales in difficult weather conditions at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Donegal.
England enjoyed a dominant afternoon singles session to overturn a 3-2 deficit from the morning foursomes to defeat hosts Ireland 10-5.
Persistent winds blew in from the Atlantic along with sporadic, heavy downpours as scoring well became a challenge on one of the most northerly courses in Ireland.
Scott Knowles’ Scotland side took a 4-1 lead into afternoon singles after dominating against their Welsh counterparts, who historically have struggled in the foursomes.
The defending champions made the perfect start in the afternoon, winning the first five singles matches before Kirkhill’s Irvine Lewis halved the sixth match with Aled Greville from Ashbrunham.
There were a number of standout performances among the Scottish wins; such as Rory Franssen’s 8&6 victory over Tomos Jones and Ben Ferguson’s 6&4 win against Oliver Brown. Carluke’s Graeme Greer also enjoyed his afternoon with a 7&5 triumph over Trefloyne’s Billy Truman.
Scottish Boys champion Eric McIntosh was two holes down with three to play in the top match but still found a way to overcome Laurence Vargas to win the 18th for a victory by one-hole.
“Some great individual performances this afternoon such as Rory (Franssen) and Ben (Ferguson), who is a new recruit for the team,” said captain Knowles.
“Graeme (Greer) was another big winner. These victories always help motivate the rest of the guys when they see the results going up on the scoreboards around the course. It gives the overall team great confidence.
“It’s a fantastic start to the defence of our title, especially with such a new team as we only have two boys, Darren (Howie) and Rory, from the team that won at Conwy last year. It’s all new to these guys and they’ve got off to an absolute flyer,” added Knowles.
Some credit must go to Wales for demonstrating resilience by winning the final three singles matches, with Matthew Harris, Jacob Davies and Liam Pritchard all putting points on the board for their country.
England captain Derek Hughes couldn’t have asked for more from his side as they won the afternoon singles 8-2 against Ireland after threatening a whitewash at one stage.
Charlie Strickland coped well with the conditions and had a tough encounter against Ireland’s number one Thomas Mulligan in the top match. Mulligan was left to rue losing three holes in a row mid-round and eventually lost by one hole.
The in-form Mark Power enjoyed a 2&1 win over Matty Lamb in the second match after a quick start got the McEvoy Trophy and Irish Boys champion into the lead after six holes and from there he never looked back.
However, Power’s win alongside Cameron Raymond’s 4&2 success over Alex Fitzpatrick, brother of European Tour player Matt, were the only highpoints for Ireland captain Cathal McConn’s side in a one-sided singles session.
“We just had a chat with the boys at lunch about going out to play their best – and they did. What we impressed on them was to start positive and keep it that way. We felt they got a little bit careful in the foursomes,” said Hughes.
“What a golf course. As a golfer you have to enjoy this. Ok you get the weather sometimes but it’s a proper test of links golf.”
Knowles also praised the venue but recognised the challenge all the teams faced.
“The conditions at times were brutal,” said the Scot. “This golf course takes no prisoners. The back nine is especially long and tight and when the wind blows it makes it extremely tough for the boys.
“Credit to the lads, they dug deep and got the result we wanted to start our defence.”
Scotland will now take on hosts Ireland with England to meet Wales on day two at Ballyliffin.
For live scoring from the Boys Home Internationals please visit championships.randa.org.