The R&A - Working for Golf

England bid for sixth title in seven years

• England to face Ireland in the deciding match at the Ladies’ Home Internationals at Little Aston Golf Club near Birmingham.

• Scotland and Wales will contest their final match for 3rd and 4th place.

England will be bidding to claim the title for the sixth time in seven years when they face Ireland in the deciding match at the Ladies’ Home Internationals at Little Aston Golf Club near Birmingham.

Both teams go into the last day with victories in the bag over Scotland and Wales who have an important battle of their own to see which of them can avoid ending up with the wooden spoon.

England beat Wales 6 ½ - 2 ½ on the first day but against the Scots they were made to fight all the way before securing a slender 5 ½ - 3 ½ victory. The home side won the morning foursomes 2-1 but their most vital point came when Lianna Bailey birdied the last from about eight feet to beat Hannah McCook in the first singles match on the course.

That gave the English a bit of breathing space and they needed it because the next four matches were shared with Connie Jaffrey and Gemma Batty winning for the Scots and Sophie Lamb and Rochelle Morris putting further points on the board for the English. The last match went all the way to the 18th with India Clyburn sharing the spoils with Chloe Goadby.

“I’m a bit shell-shocked,” admitted English captain Elaine Ratcliffe. “They (the Scots) are very good golfers. Lianna’s point early on this afternoon was crucial. It was absolutely pivotal because if she’d missed it, it would have put a lot of pressure on the others and meant India would have to have won her match at the end

“We have a great group of girls here this year so it has been great fun to be part of it.

“I knew today was going to be a battle and I was right. There was a while when I wasn’t sure which way it was going to go so I’m relieved that it was us that made it.

“We just have to play slightly better tomorrow,” she added. “I think they holed more key putts than we did so that’s something we need to work on. I think we’ll do a bit more work on the greens before we leave her tonight.”

The Irish match against the Welsh started with the Ireland winning the foursomes 2-1 and they moved further ahead when Paula Grant beat Bethan Morris 4&3 in the opening singles. Megan Lockett pulled one back when she beat Maria Dunne 2&1 but Chloe Ryan and Julie McCarthy then secured victories over Olivia Kelly and Jordan Ryan before the last two matches were shared with Wales’ Georgia Lewis beating Mairead Martin by one hole and Ireland’s Annabel Wilson winning by 5&4 over Kath O’Connor.

“It was a tough match but we’re enjoying it,” said a delighted winning Irish captain Clodagh Hopkins after her team had prevailed by 6-3. “We’re just taking it one day at a time and see where that takes us.

“We were lucky enough to come out on top today against the Welsh but it wasn’t easy. They are a very good side. Every side here is good. Once you’re here at the Home Internationals everybody has a good team and you know you have to perform.

“We’re happy to be here,” she added. “It’s a big day tomorrow. We’ve got a great spirit and a great team so we’ll see where that takes us. We’re looking forward to it.”