Ireland victorious after close finish at the 2013 Boys Home Internationals
Ireland were crowned 2013 Boy Home Internationals champions after Roy Archibald’s side came through a dramatic afternoon at Forest Pines where they defeated Wales and Scotland were unable to overcome England in the final session of matches.
In one of the tightest contests in recent years, the outcome remained in the balance until the final singles matches. That didn’t help Archibald’s nerves as he had an agonising wait after his side won 9.5-5.5 to see if Scotland would derail their title hopes.
After Ireland’s win over Wales, Barrie Douglas’ side had to defeat England to lift The R&A Trophy for the first time since they won on home soil at Moray in 2006.
It wasn’t to be and England did Ireland the service of winning 8.5-6.5 to ensure a first Irish win since Southerness in 2010. Derek Hughes’ England side were the defending champions this week and aiming for three wins in a row at the Lincolnshire venue.
“I’m absolutely elated, that’s the only way I can describe my feelings just now,” beamed Archibald. “First of all it was tense watching my team get the job done against Wales. To then have to wait and see if England could get the necessary result for us to win was even more nerve-wracking. But we got there and I’m delighted. They’re a great bunch of lads. It was a great team effort.”
After taking a 3-2 lead into the singles, Ireland will look back on the top order securing three halved matches when it looked conceivable they might have lost them all. “They were crucial halves to get us over the line,” added the Irish captain in reference to Robin Dawson (Pictured Left), James Sugrue and Paul McBride.
Dawson ended the week undefeated and the top Irish points scorer, claiming 5.5 points from a possible six, the same as Scotland left-hander Robert MacIntyre and his countryman Euan Walker. When the final tally was done, England’s Ben Amor was the only player to finish with a 100 per cent record, six wins from six.
For his part, Wales captain Leighton Smith was proud of the way his side competed despite losing all three matches.
“It was a much better performance today. I’d rather leave the tournament on a positive. Even though we lost I know we are going in the right direction,” reflected the Wales captain.
“We certainly scared the Irish for a while. It just goes to show we can do it once you get that belief within the team. They are good players, it’s just bringing the best out of them, that’s the hard bit, but we’ll crack it one day. They are a young side and many of them will learn from this to come back stronger next year”
While Scotland put in a brave effort they came up just short and their captain was left to rue what might have been.
“The standard of golf was really good from both sides,” said Douglas. “Our top man Connor Syme (Pictured Right) was six under after six holes and only two up. He had two eagles and two birdies to beat one of England’s top players in Ashton Turner 5&4.
“Ewen Ferguson and Benjamin Kinsley were both leading late on but only halved their respective matches against Macro Penge and Harry Ellis. For a time it was still in the melting pot but unfortunately we came up short.”
“I am very proud of the effort my team put in this week. There has been a great team spirit. We just have that niggle of what might have been.”
In any case, the decisive singles match to ensure Ireland’s victory came when Jake Storey defeated Alan Waugh 2&1. That gave Hughes’ side an unassailable lead but the overall England effort also came up short.
“It’s always a tough battle against Scotland; we enjoy the rivalry,” said Hughes after today’s win over Scotland. “We’ll review the week and look to build on it. There are no real negatives, the boys tried their best.
“Ireland played well and deserved to win. Congratulations to Roy and his team.” added Hughes.
The 2014 Boys Home Internationals moves to Scotland and will take place at Western Gailes from 5 to 7 August.