England get off to winning start in the Boys Home Internationals
England put down an early marker in the defence of their Boys Home Internationals title with a comprehensive 4.5-0.5 win over Wales in the opening morning foursomes at Forest Pines in Lincolnshire.
The second pairing of Ashton Turner and Haydn McCullen put the first points on the board for Derek Hughes’ England side with their 4&3 win over Otto Mand and Jack Davidson.
As early morning sunshine cut through the dense tree-lined course, the light breeze kept a premium on club selection before players were tested on the pristine putting surfaces.
The pairing of Harry Ellis and Ben Amor had no such troubles, however, as they eased to a 6&5 win over Welsh duo, Thomas Williams and Thomas Davies.
“Ben and I are new pairing but we worked very well out there, both very comfortable with each other,” said Ellis, the youngest winner of the English Amateur Championship, aged 16 when he won in 2012.
“It’s nice to get off to a winning start. The course is in great condition. There are birdie opportunities out there, especially with five par fives.”
The top pairing of Adam Chapman and Marco Penge defeated Tim Harry and Daniel King 3&1 to increase England’s advantage.
Brokenhurst Manor’s Jack Singh Brar is one of four players from last year’s winning team at Co Louth Golf Club in Ireland. He teamed up with Kedleston Park’s Bradley Moore to defeat Alex Matthews and Rhys Jones 4&3.
The middle match was by far the closest contest as Robert Burlison and Bobby Keeble halved with Kyle Harman and Joshua Davies, who ensured Wales avoided an English whitewash.
The English pair fought hard after being three down after 12 and their captain was proud of the way they battled.
“That was the tightest match of the morning and it shows just how much the boys wanted it. I think a halved match was a pretty fair result,“ said Hughes, whose young side is attempting to win the Boys Home Internationals for the third consecutive year.
“Still a long way to go but that’s a nice start.”
The other matches between Scotland and Ireland were a much closer contest before Roy Archibald’s Irish side prevailed 3-2.
Robin Dawson and James Sugrue put Ireland’s first point on the board with their 2&1 win over Connor Syme and Calum Hill.
Honours were quickly levelled when Ewen Ferguson and Cameron Kirkwood won the last two holes to defeat the strong Irish pairing of Paul McBride and Jack Walsh.
On the 18th McBride’s pushed drive left them unable to go for the par four in regulation and were unable to get up and down for par. It mattered little as Ferguson holed a 25-footer for birdie across the 18th to seal the one-hole win.
Gareth Lappin and Jordan Hood had a close front nine turning all square against Benjamin Kinsley and Stuart Easton before pulling away to eventually win 3&2.
“It was good to get the win but we’re in for another tough encounter in the afternoon singles,” said Hood afterwards.
Sean Flanagan and Ronan Mullarney secured Ireland’s overall foursomes win with their 3&2 victory against Alan Waugh and George Burns in the fourth match.
Scotland had the last say of the morning session when Euan Walker and Robert MacIntryre closed the gap to just one point with their 3&2 victory over Alec Myles and Rowan Lester in the bottom match.
In the afternoon singles Wales face an uphill task against the powerful defending champions, while the Scotland versus Ireland contest remains in the balance.
Full match details can be found at championships.randa.org.