England won the Women's Home Internationals title at Conwy Golf Club, North Wales today for the third time in a row and the fifth in the past six years.
After drawing with Ireland and beating Scotland, they crushed Wales' championship hopes by taking the foursomes 3-0 and the singles 4-2 for a comprehensive 7-2 victory.
Curtis Cup player Meghan MacLaren won the top singles by 6 and 5 over Wales' Megan Lockett followed by a 4 and 3 victory by Gemma Clews over Bethan Morris and a 2 and 1 win by Samantha Giles over Chloe Williams. That made the overall score 6-0 and removed the tension from the last hour or two of play on the final day.
It was MacLaren's fifth win in six starts and she took a grip on the match by winning the seventh, eighth, 10th, 11th, 12th and 16th. Clews won the eighth, ninth, 10th and 12th, and there was no way back for Morris after that.
Giles won the second and third holes from Williams and was still two up through the eighth, the 12th and the 14th. The England player went three up a second time at the fifth and though she lost the 16th, Williams had run out of holes and a half at the 17th clinched Giles' 2 and 1 win.
Kath O'Connor scored Wales first singles win. She beat Sophie Lamb 2 and 1 after wins at the third and fifth put her in the driving seat. Her high point was winning the 13th to go three up. Lamb won the 14th to go into the final holes two down and she could not make any inroads on her deficit.
Emma Allen scored England's fifth singles win, by 2 and 1 at the expenses of Lauren Hillier. One up at the turn, Allen built on that with wins at the 10th and 12th. Hillier won the 14th but a string of halves ended the contest on the 17th green.
And the match finished with a second point for Wales, delivered by Georgia Lewis in her first appearance of the week. She won the 18th to beat Olivia Winning by one hole. Scotland produced their best performance of the week to squash Ireland's lingering hopes that a win might get them into a countback for the title in the event of England and Wales drawing their final match.
The Scots, who had lost to Wales and England, beat the Irish 5-4 after taking a 2-1 lead from the foursomes. Connie Jaffrey, two up after three holes, went on to beat Jessica Carty 3 and 2.
Jess Meek, thanks to successes at the 10th, 11th, 13th and 14th, scored her fourth win of the week, beating Jessica Ross 5 and 4. In the top singles, Hannah McCook, one of two holes up most of the way against Louise Coffey eventually was held to a square game, thanks to the Irish player winning both the 16th and 17th.
And 2014 Curtis Cup player Eilidh Briggs, one down at the turn, won the 14th, 17th and 18th to get a plucky halved match with Maria Dunne, a member of this year's winning GB&I team.
Yet another Curtis Cup player, Ireland's Olivia Mehaffey. won by two holes against former Scottish champion Clara Young who put up a stuff performance as Mehaffey scored her fifth win of the week.
Scotland's Heather Munro went into the final session of play with a record of five wins from five outings. Ireland's Sinead Sexton, three up after eight, smashed the 100 per cent winning tag by beating the Scot 2 and 1. And so the first combined Women's and Girls Home Internationals came to a conclusion. Were they a success? Undoubtedly although they did make for longer days!
GIRLS' HOME INTERNATIONALS
Ireland have won the Girls' Home Internationals title for the first time. They came from behind to beat Scotland 5-4 in the Under-18s' championship decider at Conwy Golf Club, North Wales.
The Scots had beaten Wales 7-2 and England 6-3 and when they established a 2-1 lead over Ireland in the final day foursomes, it looked as if Scotland would win the title for the first time since their back-to-back successes in 2006 and 2007.
But a talented Irish squad rose to the challenge and won four of the six singles. After Shannon McWilliam had won the top singles for Scotland, beating Mairead Martin 3 and 1 by winning five holes on the trot from the 13th, the Irish really got down to business.
Annabel Wilson beat Joanne Free 5 and 3 after being three holes up after six. Then Irish U18s champion Julie McCarthy won by 4 and 2 against Louise Duncan, winning the seventh, eighth, 13th and 16th without reply.
Niamh McSherry put a fourth point on the board for Ireland by beating Jennifer Rankine 7 and 6 after getting to five up on the eighth tee.
Hazel MacGarvie gave Scotland a glimmer of hope of turning the Irish tide when she scored her sixth win in six matches - MVP of the girls' tournament - by beating Valerie Clancy 6 and 5 with a glory run of wins at the seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th, 12th and 13th.
That meant the overall score stood at 4-4 with everything hanging on the result of the match between Jillian Farrell, winner of five out of five for the Scots, and Lauren Walsh, playing in her first Girls' Home Internationals for Ireland.
Farrell lost the first two holes but twice got back to all square, winning the eighth and then the 12th after losing the sixth and the 10th. All square on the 13th tee, Walsh struck a body blow to the Scot's hopes by going two up with wins at the 13th and 14th.
Farrell got one back by winning the 15th and, one down with three to play, Jillian needed "only" to get a square game for Scotland to win the title. But Walsh closed out her opponent and clinched a 5-4 win for Ireland by taking the 16th and 17th for a 3 and 1 win she will remember the rest of her golfing days.
England, who had come into the tournament seeking a ninth title in a row, finished third by beating Wales 6.5-2.5 They took a 2-1 lead from the foursomes into the singles in which there were clear-cut wins for Lily-May Humphreys (5 and 3 v Lucy Jones), Amelia Williamson (5 and 3 v Ffion Evans), Annabel Fuller (4 and 3 v Caitlin Evans-Brand) and Louisa Brunt (5 and 4 v Nicola Wainwright.
The Welsh tail wagged with Cary Worby winning the 15th, 17th and 18th for a two-hole win over Isobel Wardle. And Ffion Vineall won the 14th, 15th and 17th to snatch a square match with Sharna Deutrieux.