Last day heroics seals yet another Home Internationals win whilst girls continue dominance
England pulled out all the stops to retain the women’s Home Internationals title in what was an incredibly tense finale at Royal Wimbledon.
The team produced a great singles performance to beat Ireland 5-4 but had to wait for the outcome of the other match, between Wales and Scotland, before they could be crowned champions.
At the start of the final day, the title race was wide open. Ireland, with one-and-a-half points from two matches, were the front-runners but England and Scotland, with a point apiece, were also right in the hunt.
Ireland looked even stronger at lunchtime, after winning the morning foursomes 2-1. However, England came out fighting in the singles.
Hollie Muse set the tone for the afternoon by winning the first hole against Olivia Mehaffey and she was never behind, going on to win 5&4.
Sophie Lamb trailed for the first part of her match but didn’t lose a hole after the fifth, got in front on the 14th and went on to win 3&1.
Inci Mehmet, meanwhile, was three-up with three to play but was taken to the 18th by her opponent, where she played the hole with textbook precision to claim her point.
Gemma Clews also contributed a vital point, winning her singles match 4&2 to wrap up a 5-4 victory.
However, the championship was far from over. If Scotland could beat Wales, they would tie with England and the result would be decided on countback. In the end, it wasn’t required. The Welsh, who had secured two points in the foursomes, won three of the six singles and held on to win 5-4, handing the Miller Trophy to England for the fourth time in the last five years.
England team captain Elaine Ratcliffe paid tribute to her side, saying she wqas “very proud of the girls”.
“It was a great result and I am so pleased for everyone concerned. A lot of people have put a lot of hard work into this,” said Ratcliffe.
“We had a really tough game today. They played nicely this morning but were 2-1 down and this afternoon it just felt good out there.
“Hollie won the first hole of her match and they all just took control from the start. They are a very young side but they showed what golfers they are becoming.”
Ratcliffe, who won the Miller Trophy three times as a player between 1995 and 1997, added: “It’s lovely to be a winning captain.”
Meanwhile, the English girls made it a Home Internationals double when they won the Stroyan Cup for the eighth successive year. Their clean sweep at Lanark, in Scotland, gave them their 13th victory in the championship in the last 15 years. Team captain Chris Pascall praised her team after their 7-2 win over Ireland sealed the victory, saying: “It’s brilliant. The girls have done very well this week. It’s been a good team effort with great team spirit.”