Ireland and England dominate first day of Boys Home Internationals
Ireland made a winning start to the defence of their R&A Trophy but they were made to fight hard for victory over hosts Wales while England after a battle which ebbed and flowed dramatically defeated Scotland.
Ireland got home in the end 8 ½ - 6 ½ and on course for their third title in four years and will face Scotland tomorrow who lost 9-6 to England.
Irish captain Liam Martin said, “I am pleased we got out of this game with a win. They certainly gave us something to think about and at one stage this afternoon it really did look as though it could have gone either way.
“The success of Irish golf is largely due to the development of the inter-provincial structure and clubs now realise that they have to look to the future and encourage their youngsters if this success is to continue” said Martin whose spell as captain ends this year.
At one stage in the morning it looked as though Ireland would demolish Wales but there was a sudden turnaround as Kieran Lynch and John Galbraith lost the last three holes to Otto Mand and Delon Hau so only halved a game they seemed certain to win.
Ireland lunched with a 3-2 advantage and for most of the afternoon it was exceptionally tight with the tie hanging in the balance but they delivered in vital games.
In the middle of the order Keagan Cummings and Kieran Lynch secured 17th hole triumphs over Oliver Baker and David Boote, the 2010 and current Welsh Boys Champions respectively.
In particularly fine form was Alex Gleeson who crushed Hau 6&4 being two under par in the process. He was one up at the turn and then won five holes on the bounce to settle the issue.
Gavin Moynihan was another big winner beating Ryan Haskell by the same margin, finishing off the match with a birdie two on the 14th where he fired a three iron to within 12 feet of the stick. Gary Hurley’s last green victory over Oliver Mottram was a crucial point.
Welsh captain Leighton Smith was disappointed but not too downbeat. “The boys battled hard and if one or two things had gone our way the outcome may have been different but that’s golf.”
Scotland at one stage looked as though they would establish a commanding foursomes advantage over England but as it was the morning session ended all square 2 ½ - 2 ½
In the afternoon England came out all guns blazing and soon took command with Carris Trophy winner Harry Casey particularly impressive again adding to his foursomes triumph by overwhelming Anthony Blaney 4&3.
His success was followed by wins for Gregory Payne, Paul Kinnear and Oliver Carr and with Callum Shinkwin and Toby Tree having already won higher up the order it was all over.
England’s non-playing captain Derek Hughes was naturally delighted but warned against any complacency. “There is still a long way to go. It is only one win but I am pleased with our battling performance because at one time we were trailing particularly in the foursomes. Scotland gave us a good game and we look forward to playing Wales. All teams have plenty of talent and we must keep our eye on the ball,” said Hughes while Scotland’s skipper Stuart Wilson, a former Amateur Champion believes his side can pick up the pieces on Wednesday and all is not lost.
Tomorrow Ireland face Scotland and England meet Wales.