England start with opening win at Boys’ and Girls’ Home Internationals

The R&A
02 Aug 22
3 mins

England defeated Ireland 13 – 8 on the opening day of the R&A Girls’ & Boys’ Home Internationals at Downfield GC in Dundee to emerge favourites to win the round-robin contest featuring the four home associations.

Scotland and Wales share second place after a see-saw contest that ended honours even on 10.5 points apiece. In the new combined team format for girls and boys, with winds gusting to 30 mph to make club and shot selection difficult, England only just edged Ireland in the opening foursomes session. The defending champions won 4-3.  However, England won eight of the 14 singles matches and halved three to win the head-to-head contests 9.5 – 4.5. They head the table with one point, while Scotland Wales are joint second with half a point each, with Ireland at the foot.

Massive momentum boost

“This morning was a close contest over the first four matches, but the girls’ win in that last match on the course (Ellise Rymer and Amelia Wan’s one-hole victory over Roisin Scanlon and Marina Joyce-Moreno) was crucial,” England captain Stephen Burnett said. “It gave us a massive momentum boost heading into the singles and we just carried it through and played well all afternoon. It was a phenomenal result to win both sessions because we knew Ireland was going to be strong.” Irish captain Peter English left the golf course taking the positives out of his team’s performance.
Fraser Jones and Sam Easterbrook remained undefeated on day one to help England secure victory over Ireland.

Young Irish Team

“The team played well in the foursomes to run England close because it’s a young team,” English said. “Many of the boys and girls haven’t played at this level before. We were obviously hoping for a better result in the singles, but it’s strong English team, and a good experience for this young Irish team.” The Scotland versus Wales contest was an altogether different affair. The two teams set the tone in the morning when they fought to a 3.5 – 3.5 draw in the foursomes. Scotland looked set to run away with the contest when the home team won four-anda-half points out of the first five singles.

Welsh fight back

However, Wales dug deep to win six of the next nine matches to earn a well-deserved half. Isle of Purbeck member Tom Barstow ensured the contest ended honours even with a one-hole victory over Daniel Bullen from Auchterarder. “It was a good match to halve because it wasn’t looking good for us at one point,” said Welsh captain Llew Matthews. “We got off to a bad start in the singles but the team came back really strong. I thought we were looking favourites toward the end but it was a well-deserved result for both teams. 

Welsh girls shine

Matthews singled out the play of the Welsh girls as key to ensuring a halved point on the overall team table. The six Welsh girls combined for three wins, two halves and just one loss. “Our girls saved us today because only one of the girls lost her match,” added Mathews. “So they gave us a platform to earn the draw and that was important.” Perhaps more important was the simple fact the Welsh team was back in action after being forced to abandon the contest after the first day last year because of Covid-19. “When we think about the result last year we lost the opening match to Scotland and then didn’t play again, so it was nice to see the team get back to playing and earn an important half point.” Scotland play Ireland on the second day’s play, while Wales take on England. In a historical first, teams from England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales – made up of 16 players (seven women and nine men) – are competing for success in the matches played across three days. View day one results