England and Ireland dominated their matches against Wales and Scotland on the second day of play in the Boys Home Internationals to set up an exciting title decider at Royal Dornoch tomorrow.
Defending champions England comprehensively beat Wales 11-4 while their Irish counterparts were equally impressive in a 10½-4½ win over Scotland.
Scotland and Wales will play each other tomorrow to determine third and fourth place in the round-robin competition.
England 11-4 Wales
England won the morning foursomes 3½-1½ against their counterparts from Wales and got off to a strong start after the pairing of Conor Gough and Robin Williams defeated James Ashfield and Ben Davies 7&6.
The Welshmen found themselves four holes behind after failing to make par on four of the first six holes and Gough and Williams strengthened their lead after consecutive birdies on the 7th and 8th put them 6up.
Ashfield and Davies pulled a hole back with a birdie on the par 5 9th but two further bogeys on the 10th and 12th ensured the English duo of the victory.
England extend advantage
Barclay Brown and Joe Pagdin led from the front in their match-up against Archie Davies and Tom Matthews, closing out a 2&1 win on the 17th, while Harry Goddard and Habebul Islam rolled in five birdies on their way to a 4&3 result over Rueben Bather and Connor Owen.
Wales secured their first point when Sean David and Tom Peet overcame Josh Hill and Max Hopkins 2&1. Despite being 3down after four holes, they returned the match to all-square by winning three holes on the trot from the 7th. Wins on the 14th and 15th holes were thanks to bogey and double bogey from the English pair and the match concluded on the 17th.
The remaining match between England’s Harrison Arnold and Curtis Knipes and Abe Forsyth and Matthew Sandoz of Wales was halved.
In the afternoon singles, there were stand out performances from Hopkins, Williams and Hill for England.
Hill was in dominant mood against Dylan Thomas and completed a 5&4 victory after a performance which included five birdies and no bogeys.
Hopkins fired in four birdies in an impressive 7&6 win over Sean David while Williams matched his team-mate’s exploits after notching up three consecutive birdies from the 11th hole to close out his match against Ben Davies.
Goddard takes control
Goddard and Owen traded holes during the opening stages of their match but the Englishman took control of the contest by winning three holes in a row starting on the 10th and picked up another hole on the 14th. The 15th was halved to give Goddard the match 4&3.
Wales responded by picking up two points following a good win for Ashfield over Gough while Matthews and Archie Davies halved their matches against Brown and Pagdin.
England were soon back amongst points however and Matthew Freeman extended his side’s lead with a narrow one hole win against Bather which was followed by Knipes winning by the same margin against Peet. Islam and Forsyth halved their match.
Ireland 10½-4½ Scotland
Ireland left Scotland with a tall order to claw their way back into the match after taking a clean sweep of the morning foursomes 5-0.
Charlie Denvir and Max Kennedy set the tone with a 4&3 victory over Jack Broun and Aidan O’Hagan which was followed by Allan Hill and David Kitt beating Ruben Lindsay and Andrew Thornton 3&2.
John Brady and Tom McKibbin led from the off against George Heath and Connor McKinney and they did not relinquish their lead for the entirety of the match. Four birdies helped their cause in a 2&1 success.
The two remaining matches went the distance with each contest being won by two holes. Aaron Marshall and Mark Power moved narrowly ahead of Greg Dalziel and Connor Wilson at the short 13th with a birdie and the match was closed out on the 18th with the Scots making a bogey.
Odhran Maguire and Luke O’Neill were pegged back to a one hole advantage by Liam Waldron and Dean Walsh after being 3up but were able to hold out for another point after securing their par on the last hole with their opponents unable to match it.
The outstanding result of the afternoon singles was Kitt’s 8&6 victory against Andrew Thornton. The Irishman played steady golf while the Scot appeared to struggle in the conditions which was illustrated by four holes being conceded.
Power made an impressive six birdies in his match against Wilson including four birdies in a row starting at the 11th. He closed out the contest on the 15th with a par to seal a 5&3 result.
Dalziel put the first point of the match on the board for Scotland after a narrow win by one hole against McKibbin but Brady and Marshall responded for Ireland shortly after by defeating McKinney and Heath in their matches by a 2&1 scoreline.
O’Hagan captured another point for the Scots after making five birdies in a 4&3 success over O’Neill and Lindsay and Scott halved their respective encounters with Eoin Murphy and Denvir to pick up two further half points.
Waldron claimed another point for Scotland against Maguire (one hole) and Broun and Hill could not be separated in the final match on the course (match halved).