England made a strong start to their defence of the Boys Home Internationals title after defeating Scotland 10-5 on the first day of play at Royal Dornoch.
Ireland are also in a good position heading into the second day tomorrow after also recording a 10-5 win over Wales.
England 10-5 Scotland
The defending champions controlled the morning foursomes matches against Scotland and won four points from a possible five.
Harrison Arnold and Chris Knipes proved to be in irresistible form in the early stages of their contest against Aiden O’Hagan and Callum Scott. Four birdies in the first five holes put them 4up and the lead was extended further at the short 6th hole after the Scots conceded
The Englishmen went 6up after the 10th hole was conceded and although the deficit was reduced to five holes on the 13th after a birdie from O’Hagan and Scott, the match was closed out on the 14th hole after a halve ensured a 5&4 win for Arnold and Knipes.
Hill and Hopkins fight back
Josh Hill and Max Hopkins defeated Jack Broun and Andrew Thornton 4&3 despite being behind for the first six holes of the match. Consecutive birdies on the 6th, 7th and 8th holes swung the tie in their favour and they picked up wins on the 10th, 11th and 12th holes to be 4up shortly after. The match finished on the 15th after the next three holes were halved.
Conor Gough and Robin Williams beat Greg Dalziel and Connor Wilson 2&1 while Barclay Brown and Joe Pagdin defeated George Brown and Connor McKinney by one hole. Liam Waldron and Dean Walsh salvaged a point for Scotland with a 2&1 victory in their match with Matthew Freeman and Harry Goddard.
England strong in singles
Williams translated his good form into the afternoon singles matches and collected a 4&3 win over Dalziel while Gough followed suit shortly after with a 4&2 victory over Wilson.
The Scots responded well thanks to McKinney’s 3&2 success against Pagdin while George Heath narrowly lost out to Brown by one hole.
It wasn’t long before England were back in the ascendency as Goddard produced a 2&1 result against Broun before Freeman delivered the most emphatic result of the contest by beating Scott 6&4.
Again, Scotland showed their spirit by picking up three points thanks to good wins by O’Hagan (3&1 over Hopkins), Thornton (4&3 over Hebebul Islam) and Walsh (2&1 against Arnold), but Knipes would ensure England reached double figures thanks a 4&3 scoreline against Lindsay.
Ireland 10-5 Wales
Despite Welsh pair Reuben Bather and Connor Owen cantering to a very impressive 5&4 win over Max Kennedy and Eoin Murphy, it was Ireland who seized the advantage after picking up the remaining four points against Wales in the morning foursomes.
Aaron Marshall and Mark Power were 3up by the turn in their match against James Ashfield and Archie Davies and it proved to be a lead that they would not relinquish for the remainder of their 3&2 win.
John Brady and Tom McKibbin triumphed by the same scoreline against the Welsh duo of Ben Davies and Tom Matthews. The Irish pair picked up three holes in a row from the 14th and closed out the match on the 16th after their opponents could only make a bogey on the par 4.
The two other foursomes were very close encounters which could have swung either way. Despite being 3up after 14 holes, Odhran Maguire and Luke O’Neill were taken down the 18th by Abe Forsyth and Matthew Sandoz after contriving to make bogeys on the 15th and 16th to leave the match all-square. The next two holes were halved to give the Irish twosome the win.
Alan Hill and Jack Kitt also gave away a three hole lead in the early stages of their match against Tom Peet and Dylan Thomas. Nevertheless, a bogey by the Welshmen on the 18th hole was the decisive moment as Hill and Kitt secured their par.
In the afternoon singles, Ireland’s Power was no match for Ben Davies in a 5&3 win while Charlie Denvir extended the lead further following a victory by same scoreline against Sean David.
Wales rallied to pick up two points after Matthews won his match against Marshall by two holes and Archie Davies narrowly edged his encounter with McKibbin by one hole.
It turned out to only be temporary respite from the excellent golf shown by the Irish team: Murphy’s 4&3 result in his match with Owen was soon followed by O’Neill and an impressive 5&4 result against Bather.
Brady and Ashfield and Alan Hill and Forsyth halved their matches to take a share of the spoils. Kennedy beat Sandoz by one hole, while Peet pulled one point back for Wales with a win by the same margin.