Ireland began the defence of the Ladies Home Internationals with a thrilling 5-4 win over England at Ballybunion. Scotland also made a fine start by defeating Wales 6½-2½
In the Girls Home Internationals, it was honours even in both matches: defending champions England drew 4½-4½ with Ireland and Wales and Scotland also shared the spoils.
Ladies Home Internationals
In the morning foursomes, Ireland sneaked 2-1 ahead and it proved to be decisive as the singles were shared 3-3. Paula Grant, who won her foursomes with Lauren Walsh, and Shannon Burke provided the full points with Jessica Ross and Mairead Martin contributing half a point each.
“It was a perfect start,” said Ireland Captain Danielle McVeigh. “The team showed a lot of character. We are feeling the support of the home crowd and not thinking about being defending champions. This is a new year and a new job. We’re up for the challenge.”
Scotland in control
Scotland won the foursomes 2½-½ and always had control of the outcome. In the top two singles matches, Hannah McCook and Curtis Cup player Shannon McWilliam set the tone by both recoding 4&3 wins. They had also teamed up to win the top morning tie.
Hazel MacGarvie, on her debut, also had a 100% opening day record after winning a close foursomes with Chloe Goadby before going on to post a 6&5 singles win. The other point came from the experienced Eilidh Briggs.
“We got the pairings right today and we also have very good strength in depth,” suggested Scottish Captain, Susan Wood. “It was nice to make such a good start.”
Girls Home Internationals
In the Girls matches, defending champions England won the foursomes 2-1 against Ireland. The singles produced some fierce tussles and a number of late turnarounds.
In the top match, Ireland’s Beth Coulter was one down after 16 holes but managed to get a halve against Caitlin Whitehead while Anna Foster won the 17th and 18th for a one hole win over Martha Lewis.
At the bottom end of the draw, it was England’s turn to stage a fightback. Ebonie Lewis won five of the final six holes for a one hole victory over Sara Byrne and then Amelia Williamson won the 18th to win by one hole and secure the draw.
“After losing two of the foursomes, we would certainly have taken a draw at lunchtime,” said Irish Captain Helen Jones. “It’s a young team and there were a lot of positives to take from the result.”
English Captain Jane Melville was also upbeat. “We knew it was going to be difficult against Ireland on their home patch. All credit to the Irish girls, they played great. We just had two very gritty players in the last matches.”
Scotland came back from 2-1 down in the foursomes to earn a half point. In a vital bottom singles, Hannah Darling clawed her way back to finish all square against Ffion Vineall.
“It was very nerve-wracking,” commented Scottish Captain Susan Jackson, and she agreed with her Welsh counterpart, Sue Joseph, that the opening day’s results means that “there is all to play for.”