- England and Ireland off the mark with wins in Women’s and Girls events
- Scotland aiming to defend the women’s title on home soil
- England bidding for three wins on the bounce in girls event
England and Ireland claimed the spoils on the opening day of the Womens and Girls Home Internationals at Downfield.
England beat Wales 6-3 in the junior event and were even more convincing victors in the women’s event with an 8-1 scoreline.
A year ago at Ballybunion, Ireland lost a close final day match to relinquish the women’s trophy to Scotland. A thrilling 5-4 victory that went all the way to the 18th green in the final match on the course made for sweet revenge for the Irish this time around.
In the Girls event, Ireland won the final three matches against hosts Scotland to claim a 6-3 victory margin.
Bright start for Scots
Scotland’s defence of the Women’s title started brightly with a 2-1 win in the morning foursomes. But the Irish bounced back in the singles with Jessica Ross and Lauren Walsh clinching 6&5 and 4&3 wins respectively.
Hazel MacGarvie snatched a point back for Scotland in the top match and Shannon McWilliam added another win to leave the outcome resting on the final two matches.
Ireland’s ever reliable Paula Grant made it 4-4 with a 3&2 triumph and then Chloe Ryan produced a stunning finale to win by one hole against Louise Duncan.
All square with three holes to play, Ryan won the 16th with a six foot birdie putt, had a great half in birdie twos at the next and then held on for the win with a par at the last.
Danielle McVeigh, the Irish captain, was delighted with the result. “It was brilliant,” she said. “I knew it was going to be very tough against Scotland They have a very strong team and it took a lot of good golf to win. I think we maybe just had the edge on experience.”
England in control
England were always in control against Wales in the women’s event but Wales’ Kath O’Connor did well to avoid the whitewash with a win by one hole on the final green.
England Captain Helen Hewlett couldn’t have been happier. “Mimi Rhodes and Amelia Williamson are two newcomers and it is quite a young team so nice to get off to such a great start,” she said.
A Ballynbuniion, Amelia was one of the stars of the Girls’ triumph - and England is bidding for three wins in a row this year. Janet Melville is also going for the hat-trick as captain of the junior English side and she said, “I am delighted with the start. We took the foursomes 2-1 but lost the opening two singles so had to fight back.”
Ireland leave it late
Helen Jones, in her second stint as Irish Girls captain, also watched her team win a late batch of singles - Sara Byrne, Anna Dawson and Aine Donegan clinching the vital, final three points.
“It was good to take two of the foursomes but was still very close after the first nine in the singles. But then the girls put the foot down and it is a nice way to start,” she stated.
On day two, Scotland meet England and Ireland face Wales.