Championships

England Poised for Historic R&A Girls’ and Boys’ Win

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The R&A
04 Aug 22
3 mins
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Only an improbable collapse against Scotland can stop England from winning the historic R&A Girls’ & Boys’ Home Internationals at Downfield GC in Dundee – historic since the event features a combined team format for girls and boys for the first time.

England head the points table with two points from two wins over the opening two days. Ireland lie second with one point, while Wales and Scotland each have half a point. Ireland can match England’s two-point tally with a win over Wales and an England loss to Scotland. However, England are in a strong position with 29 matches won to Ireland’s 20. Matches won determines the outcome should teams finish level on the points table. Scotland has 19.5 match points and Wales 15.5. Over the city parkland lay-out, England proved too strong for the Welsh team on day two right from the opening foursomes, winning the session 5–2 to take momentum into the singles. The English team then took four of the first five head-to-head contests to put the Welsh under pressure. English captain Stephen Burnett watched as his side powered to an 11–3 singles win, and a 16-5 overall victory.

No complacency

“It was a strong performance from my team, especially this afternoon,” he said. “The foursomes was in the balance early on, but our pairings were strong over the last few holes to win points. Then they turned it on in singles. I can’t ask for more than they showed today, but there will be no room for complacency against Scotland.”  Welsh captain Llew Matthews could only marvel at England’s strength in depth. “I was really proud of our team,” the 2007 Walker Cup player said. “They really took their game to a different level but they were just up against stronger opposition. England raised their game for the singles, and fair play to them, but we’ll take lots of positives into tomorrow against Ireland.”  The Irish came back from an opening day loss to England to defeat Scotland 12–9. They took the foursomes 4–3 before running out 8–6 singles winners.
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Ellen Yates and Amelia Wan remained undefeated on day two to help England secure victory and edge close to an historic victory.

Singles success

“It was a good bounce back from yesterday,” Irish captain Peter English said. “I didn’t have to say an awful lot to them last night. They knew they owed it to themselves to do their best – and they did.”  Ireland lost five of the first six singles matches but the bottom of the Irish order proved too strong for the home side. Ireland won seven of the last eight head-to-head contests, and that proved the difference. “The foursomes win gave us a good platform,” English said. “Everybody knows a good result in foursomes makes play for the afternoon a little easier. Our front players in the singles didn’t make it easy, but the tail is always important. It has to wag to get a good result, and it did. “We have faith in our players, always have, and they proved to us that they’re willing to do it and we can do it again tomorrow.”

Scots look ahead

Scottish captain Susan Jackson felt her side came close to pulling off a win. “We looked strong over the front nine in the singles, but on the back nine the putts didn’t drop like they did yesterday,” she said. “As much as they all fought to the very end, the last matches just didn’t go our way.  “We’ve got it all to play for tomorrow against England. It’s a new day, and we always look forward to playing England so we hopefully look forward to a victory.” While England are in position to win the overall competition, there are two other tournaments this week. There are separate trophies for the best girls’ and boys’ teams, and the English are on track to win all three contests.  “We’ve got the combined which we want to win, because we want to win the Home Internationals,” Burnett said. “But the boys and the girls are ahead in their competitions and we need to keep pushing. We’d obviously love to win all three.” View scores here

Women’s and Men’s action underway

Meantime, after the opening day of the R&A Women’s and Men’s Home Internationals at Ballyliffin in Ireland there were wins for England and the hosts. England achieved a commanding 14–7 victory against Wales, with Amateur Championship runner-up Sam Bairstow winning both of his ties. Arron Edwards-Hill, like Bairstow part of Great Britain and Ireland’s recent St Andrews Trophy-winning side, also recorded two triumphs. Ireland were even more emphatic victors over the renowned links, easing to a 14.5–6.5 success against Scotland. Peter O’Keeffe was among those to secure two points for the Irish. View scores here