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Scotland secure 2015 Boys Home Internationals with win over England

Scotland enjoyed a memorable 9½ - 5½  win over defending champions England to secure their first Boys Home Internationals title in nine years at Conwy (Caernarvonshire) Golf Club in Wales today.

Boys Home Internationals Scotland Bunker
Boys Home Internationals Scotland Bunker

There was drama to the end, especially when Scott Knowles' Scotland side sensed victory against a strong England line-up seeking their fourth title in five years. It wasn't to be, however, as Scotland bridged the gap to their last win which was on home soil at Moray Golf Club in 2006.

"I'm speechless to be honest, said Knowles. "It was an absolutely fantastic performance from the boys. We looked to be down and out at one stage in the foursomes but somehow turned it around to go in 2 ½ - 2 ½ at lunch.

"In the singles the boys came out firing in one of the best performances at Boys level I have seen. The standard of golf was extremely high throughout all ten matches.

"The entire team have been great all week, great team spirit and they all supported each other very well."

All week Scotland displayed a steely determination and strong sense of camaraderie. They set out their stall with a 10-5 win over 2013 champions Ireland then defeated hosts Wales 9½ - 5½.  

Derek Hughes' England side came through stern challenges from Wales and especially against Ireland in their bid to defend their title but lost out to Scotland in the end.

"Scotland were very good and deserving winners," said Hughes. "They didn't give us an inch today. At one stage it looked like we were going to do well in the foursomes but they came back at us.

"We didn't give it away, they took it away. I feel sorry for the boys because they did their best, it just didn't work out this week."

The teams couldn't be separated after the morning  foursomes which finished level at 2½ - 2½. England had been dominant early on but by the time Chris Curran and Murray Naysmith defeated Charlie Strickland and Billy Spooner 2&1 in the bottom tie it was honours even heading into the singles. 

Cawder's Calum Fyfe laid down a strong marker in the top match with his hard earned 2&1 win over Marco Penge, England's leading player and a three-time winner this season.

The top match had to call through two matches after Fyfe cut his finger on thorns when picking up his ball from the rough. After some medical attention he returned to hitting fairways and made three consecutive birdies from the 13th before closing out the match on the 17th.

Boys Home Internationals Scotland
Boys Home Internationals Scotland

Sandy Scott quickly followed with his convincing 4&2 win over England's William Enefer, who started the final day as the only player with a 100% win record.  Darren Howie, whose brother Craig is competing for the Scotland senior team, struck another blow for Scotland with his 2&1 win over Jamie Li.

Scotland's lower order proved decisive in the end after they won four of the last five matches with England's Max Martin defeating Niall McMullen 3&1 in the other match.

When Andrew Thomson closed out his one-hole win against Toby Briggs, Scotland knew mathematically they had won. Confirmation soon followed when Curran, two up against Rhys Nevin-Wharton with two to play, won 2&1 and Scottish celebrations began in earnest behind the 17th green.

Earlier in the day Ireland managed to sign off with a 9-6 win over Wales but failed to hit the heights of their win at Forest Pines in England two years ago.

The sides also went into the singles level after sharing the foursomes session 2½ - 2½ and for a large part of the afternoon the match could have swung either way.

Ireland's Thomas Mulligan had another tough battle that went the distance before winning the top match against Tom Williams by one hole. The advantage was quickly cancelled as Ben Chamberlain recorded his third singles win of the week with a two hole victory over Kevin LeBlanc.

Ireland edged closer to victory when Rory Williamson birdied the par three 15th from 10 feet but was followed in by Aled Greville before the Holywood golfer closed out the match at the next to win 4&2.

That left Peter Kerr to secure the decisive point for Ireland when he defeated Wales' Matthew Harris 4&3 in the bottom match.  

Cathal McConn, the Ireland captain, said, "We played solidly through the day to beat Wales, no stars and no weak links, a good team performance. We used the substitutes well because it's a long week playing 36 holes a day and many of the matches went the distance.

"Four of this team are eligible again for Ballyliffin in 2016 and we have more players to come through. We will try to capitalise on our home advantage next year."

Chris King, the Wales Captain, said, "It was a similar story all week, we got into good positions but never quite finished the job. I said at the start of the week, we have a young team and are looking to build for the future and we have had some promising performances.

"Ben Chamberlain has been outstanding this season and won his three singles and Callam Morris had another great tournament winning four points. The whole team scored points this week, which is encouraging."

Next year Ireland will host the 2016 Boys Home Internationals when they take place at Ballyliffin Golf Club (Glashedy Links) in Donegal from August 4-6.

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