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Ireland on track for title defence

Ireland followed a first day win over England with a 7½-1½ victory over Wales to stay on course for a successful defence of the Ladies Home International title at Ballybunion.


Backed by the home crowd, Ireland face a final day tie against Scotland, who suffered a narrow 5-4 second day loss to England. A draw will be enough for the hosts.   


In the Girls Home Internationals, defending champions England beat Scotland 7-2 and face Wales, 5½-3½ winners over Ireland, in the round three title decider. 


Ireland on course


Ireland’s hopes of back-to-back wins in the Ladies matches were boosted by the convincing second day victory. The hosts won the foursomes 3-0 and always controlled the singles. 


The biggest win if the day came from Lauren Walsh with an 8&6 triumph but Wales did get a full point from Megan Lockett.


Irish Captain Danielle McVeigh was delighted with the day’s play but is taking nothing for granted. “We’ve had two nice wins but tomorrow we press the reset button and get ready to go again. Scotland has a good team and we certainly won’t be complacent.”


Close contest


England produced a gritty effort to edge out Scotland by the single point. In the final game, Lianna Bailey won the 16th and 17th holes to defeat Eilidh Briggs by 2&1. Nicola Slater had also won on those same holes in beating Gemma Batty by the same margin.


England claimed the foursomes convincingly 2½-1½ but Captain Elaine Ratcliffe was relieved to steer her side over the winning line.


“We just clung on,” she admitted.  “This is a great golf course and if you can get to the last three holes and still have a chance then anything can happen and we proved it today. But Scotland played really well and should make it tough for Ireland.”


Wales in form


In the Girls matches, Wales produced a storming singles performance to claim a vital win over the hosts and set up a final day decider against England.


Trailing 1-2 after the foursomes, Wales claimed four of the afternoon points through Carys Worby, Ffion Tynan, Lea-Anne Bramwell and Eleanor Willis and another half point came from Darcey Harry against Beth Coulter.


“The girls went out in the afternoon and performed so well,” said a buoyant Welsh Captain, Sue Joseph. “The way they played and their course management was excellent and I’m very proud of them all.


“To win four of the six singles was amazing but they have worked so hard and prepared very well for this week. Now it is all to play for tomorrow. The last time Wales won the Girls title was way back in 1999.”


England had a far easier passage, defeating Scotland 7-2. The holders won all three foursomes and the Scots never threatened to turn it around in the singles. 


Caitlin Whitehead and Amelia Williamson won the top two singles for England to put the result beyond doubt. 


“It was very decisive,” said England Captain Jane Melville. “It is nice to set up a decider for the final day. Now the aim is to go out tomorrow and try and win as many points as possible. But it will be tough.”