Wins for England and Scotland set up exciting final at County Louth
After two wins each England and Scotland will do battle on the final day to decide the outcome of the 2012 Boys Home Internationals at County Louth Golf Club in Ireland.
At the venue of the 2009 Irish Open, favourites and defending champions England were once again in imperious form as they ran out 9.5-5.5 winners over Wales, while Scotland eventually defeated Ireland, 8.5-6.5, just as fog descended on the County Louth venue.
England’s winning scoreline doesn’t tell the full story because Wales, yet again, “punched above their weight” in the singles to ask the question of Derek Hughes’s side.
“For two days now the lads have fought back strongly after disappointing foursomes results,” explained Wales captain Leighton Smith, whose side lost the foursomes 4-1 today and 5-0 to Scotland on the opening day.
“If I had a chance I’d propose to The R&A that we just play singles matches,” quipped the Welshman. “Foursomes can be such a quirky game, it can go either way very easily and it just hasn’t happened for us.”
“Seriously though, I’m proud of my lads, they dug in during the singles. Six matches came down the last against a dominantEngland side, that’s all we can ask for really.
“We always have to punch above our weight and once again we gave England a real good game,” added Smith, who now looks forward to playing Ireland in their final match.
After a close match Tim Harry's Mum Justine could not bare to watch as her 14-year-old son holed a three foot putt on the last green to win a valuable point for Wales against Matt Fitzpatrick. It was only the spectators’ reaction that told her Tim, who turns 15 on Friday, had won his third match in four outings.
The biggest win of the day came from England’s Patrick Kelly, whose steady play got the better of Daniel King 7 and 5. “I gave myself lots of chances for birdies, played really nice tee to green. That put a lot of pressure on Daniel and he made a few mistakes,” said Kelly afterwards.
The top two matches (England’s Toby Tree and Otto Mand of Wales and Max Orrin against Gareth Roberts) both finished all-square, as did the game between Nick Marsh and Delon Hau.
Evan Griffith and Zach Galliford were Wales’ other winners alongside Harry in the bottom match.
“It was another good win but you have to give full credit to Wales, they made us work for it in the singles, just as they did Scotland on the first day,” reflected Derek Hughes, England team captain.
“I’m proud of the boys because they did work hard and they delivered a result. It shows they want to win this and they’re determined to do their best.”
Scotland are still very much in the hunt to lift The R&A Trophy after coming through a tense singles session, 6.5-3.5, to deny Ireland and give themselves a fighting chance of derailing England’s defence.
“That’s not good for the nerves. The match could have gone either way,” said a relieved Scotland captain, Barrie Douglas. “There were a number of crucial matches, not least Alan Waugh, who won his match at the 18th after James (Sugrue) lost a ball from his second shot.”
“Greig (Marchbank) had a great halved match with Gavin Moynihan in the top tie and Jamie (Savage) was very strong against Robin Dawson to win 6 and 5.
“It’s always great to beat Ireland, especially a good Ireland side on home soil. It’s been six long years since Scotland has won this – too long,” added Douglas.
“We’re looking forward to a good match with England tomorrow.”
Click here to view the full results and the match-ups for the final day of play.