England have won the Boys Home Internationals for the third consecutive year and with a 100% record after defeating Ireland, Scotland and Wales at Royal Dornoch.
England and Ireland played out an exciting title decider on the third and final day of play on the North-East coast of Scotland and the defending champions ran out 8-7 winners to retain the trophy. England have now won the under-18 team event 17 times since 1996.
Ireland were left to settle for a runner-up spot while Scotland finished in third place after impressively beating Wales 11-4.
England 8-7 Ireland
England edged in front 3-2 ahead of the afternoon singles following a stirring series of morning foursomes against Ireland.
Irish duo Aaron Marshall and Mark Power were first to register a point after ending the unbeaten run by the English partnership of Conor Gough and Robin Williams. An impressive bogey-free round which included three birdies on the front nine ensured they had full control of the match and they closed out a 3&2 win on the 16th.
Harrison Arnold and Chris Knipes hit back for England by beating Allan Hill and David Kitt 4&3 which was followed by a win by one hole for Barclay Brown and Joe Pagdin over John Brady and Tom McKibbin.
The two other matches featuring Harry Goddard and Habebul Islam against Charlie Denvir and Max Kennedy and Matthew Freeman and Max Hopkins against Odhran Maguire and Luke O’Neill were halved to give England a slender one point advantage at the end of this morning’s play.
The first singles match between Power and Williams proved to be a thrilling contest that ebbed and flowed throughout. Both players were in prolific scoring form with no less than eight birdies in the match but it was Power who eventually prevailed to pull Ireland level at 3-3 with a 2&1 win.
England edged in front again when Gough claimed a 3&2 victory over McKibbin. The turning point in the match came when the Stoke Park member won three holes in a row from the 7th, a lead that he would hold onto for the rest of the encounter.
Nevertheless, Marshall put Ireland back on parity at 4-4 shortly after when he confidently won his match against Brown 4&3.
Brady was left to rue missing out on a full point after letting slip a four hole lead against Pagdin. The English youngster rallied to win four out of five holes from the 13th and the match was halved after both players made par on the final hole.
Three crucial points were secured for England when Josh Hill beat Denvir 3&2, Arnold was victorious against O’Neill 2&1 and Goddard edged out Murphy by one hole meaning that the defending champions moved into a 7½-4½ lead and were guaranteed of winning the title.
Hopkins and Kennedy halved their match to seal the overall win for England after they increased their lead to an unassailable 8-5.
Ireland fought back to win the last two matches out on the course: Hill beat Freeman by one hole and Kitt sealed a 2&1 triumph against Knipes.
Scotland 11-4 Wales
Scotland took control of the match against Wales during the morning foursomes and were 4-1 ahead going into the afternoon singles.
Four birdies by Greg Dalziel and Connor Wilson were influential in their 4&3 win over James Ashfield and Dylan Thomas, while Ruben Lindsay and Andrew Thornton led from the first hole and did not relinquish their grip on the contest for the entirety of a 2&1 victory against Rueben Bather and Connor Owen.
There were narrow wins by one hole for the Scottish pairings of Aidan O’Hagan and Calum Scott and Liam Waldron and Dean Walsh against Welsh counterparts Abe Forsyth and Matthew Sandoz and Sean David and Tom Peet.
Wales managed to salvage a point from the foursomes thanks to Archie Davies and Tom Matthews defeating George Heath and Connor McKinney by one hole.
Scotland in front
Dalziel extended Scotland’s lead to 5-1 by picking up the first point of the afternoon singles in a 3&2 win against Matthews. In the first match of the singles draw, McKinney and Archie Davies could not be separated by 18 holes to give both sides a halve.
Sandoz reduced the deficit to three points for Wales with a 4&2 victory against Lindsay but the Scots quickly responded by collecting a further 2½ points after Waldron defeated Bather 2&1 and Wilson beat Ben Davies by two holes. Heath and Ashfield shared the spoils in a halved match.
Walsh increased Scotland’s lead again when a successful 3&2 result against Owen put his side 9-3 up, only for Forsyth to pull another point back for Wales when he triumphed 4&2 over Scott.
Broun too strong
Jack Broun proved to be too strong for Peet after rolling in four birdies in a 3&2 win and O’Hagan rounded off an excellent day for Scotland by claiming a narrow win by one hole against Thomas to leave the final score at 11-4.
The 2019 Boys Home Internationals will be played at Ashburnham from 6-8 August.