Junior sides whitewash opponents to storm to victory in respective Home Internationals
By ECG Newsdesk
England's young golfers laid down a marker for the future by continuing their dominance of the Boys’ and Girls’ Home Internationals matches.
Both sides won all three of their matches to run out the champions, the boys at St Annes Old Links in Lancashire and the girls at Little Aston in the West Midlands. For Derek Hughes’ boys, it was a 16th win in the contest stretching back to 1996, whilst the girls – captained by Janet Melville – regained the title they surrendered to Ireland last year, making it nine wins in the last ten years.
“I’m obviously very pleased,” said Hughes. “The boys have done very well and the new boys, Robin Williams and Joe Pagdin, have done very well.”
Melville added: “The plan this week was to try to win every session. We knew that wouldn’t be easy but we’ve managed it so we’re very pleased.”
In the boys’ event, England played their way into pole position with an 11-4 win over Wales on the first day and a 10-5 win over Ireland on the second, before beating Scotland 8-7.
The English victory was sealed during the morning foursomes against Scotland when they took a 4-1 lead, whilst Wales, who had held a slim chance of catching them, lost their foursomes against Ireland by the same margin. Despite the main prize having gone, Scotland restored some pride in the afternoon singles, which they won 6-4, despite losing the overall contest.
Afterwards, captain Hughes praised the spirit and camaraderie of his side.
“It’s not just winning the games, it’s about how they’ve fitted into the squad,” he said. “This is a great competition and Joe, who’s 15, has come over from Florida and he’s never experienced anything like this before. He’s absolutely loved it, the whole thing.
“The course has been very good. It’s in really good condition. We had heavy rain on Tuesday when the greenkeepers did a great job. When the boys got back out on the course after the rain delay it was excellent. It’s a good venue and everything about the week has been first class.”
The girls, meanwhile, put in a commanding performance to regain their title, despite being hit with the withdrawal of Amelia Williamson on the eve of the championship. The Royal Cromer ace came down with gastroenteritis and was forced to pull out.
That reduced the team to six players for the three-day event but they rallied superbly and scalped Wales 8-1 and Scotland 7-2 to set up a revenge clash with the Irish, who ended their eight-year winning run in 2016.
They avenged that disappointment in emphatic fashion. First, they claimed the morning foursomes 2½-½ and then went further ahead in the singles when Hollie Muse and Sammie Fuller both won their matches courtesy of 6&5 victories over Lauren Walsh and Sara Byrne respectively. The side ultimately ran out 6½-2½ winners.
England Boys’ squad: Toby Briggs (Dunston Hall, Norfolk); Jack Cope (The Players Club, Gloucestershire); Danny Daniels (Essendon, Hertfordshire); Harry Goddard (Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire); Alex Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire, Yorkshire); Conor Gough (Stoke Park, Buckinghamshire); Ben Jones (Northamptonshire County); Joe Pagdin (Florida, USA); Thomas Plumb (Sherborne, Dorset); Charlie Strickland (Ham Manor, Sussex); Robin Williams (Peterborough Milton, Northamptonshire).
England Girls’ squad: Sammy Fuller (Roehampton, Surrey); Lily May Humphreys (Stoke-by-Nayland, Essex); Hollie Muse (West Lancashire); Emily Price (Cleobury Mortimer, Worcestershire); Hannah Screen, (Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire); Bel Wardle (Prestbury, Cheshire); Amelia Williamson (Royal Cromer, Norfolk).
Photo © R&A