Ireland have a mountain to climb to win back the Raymond Trophy, fighting back bravely before falling 8-7 to hosts England on the opening day of the Home International Matches at Ganton.
As Scotland began their defence of the title with a 9½ - 5½ win over Wales, Pádraig Hogan’s side won the singles battle but lost the war after going down 1½ - 3½ in the foursomes.
“Playing the Irish is never easy,” said England captain Terry Casey. “I knew there wasn’t a weakness in their side and it was a close call. Too close for comfort in fact. Well played the Irish but we gained some important wins and the standard of golf was very good.”
Dermot McElroy and Kevin Phelan were the only Irish winners in the foursomes, beating Callum Shinkwin and Toby Tree 2 & 1. A narrow, one hole defeat for Reeve Whitson and Brian Casey against Craig Hinton and Ben Stow proved crucial and while Paul Dunne and Jack Hulme managed a halved match, defeats for Rory McNamara and Gary Hurley, and Gavin Moynihan and Chris Selfridge left Ireland on the back foot.
Things did not begin well when an out of sorts Dunne, who was four down after seven and seven down with eight to go, lost 6 and 5 to new cap Ryan Evans.
Open Championship hero Jimmy Mullen, another new cap, was three under as he beat Gary Hurley 4 and 2 while Phelan and English champion Callum Shinkwin ended a rollercoaster match all square.
Mourne’s Reeve Whitson came back from three down to beat Craig Hinton, winning the last three holes to triumph by one hole.
Dermot McElroy beat a wayward Ben Stow 3 and 2 while Brian Casey was always ahead against Paul Howard, eventually winning by one hole. It might have been more but the Headfort man, 3-up after 14, lost a ball off the tee at 15 and also lost 17 to a Howard par before getting home.
At one stage during the afternoon England supporters were wondering where the other wins were going to come from. But Toby Tree came from 2-down to beat Cormac Sharvin by 1-hole and it needed a 5 and 3 triumph from Harry Casey over Chris Selfridge to see England over the line.
Gavin Moynihan completed Ireland’s tally with a 3 and 1 win over Nick Marsh, the Yorkshire lad prolonging the match by winning the 15th and 16th after being dormie four.
Scotland began the defence of the Raymond Trophy with a 9½ – 5½ win over Wales after dropping only half a point from the morning foursomes.
With such a big lead going into the singles, it seemed that the afternoon might be a stroll in the park for the Scots. But it didn’t work out that way and credit the Welsh for a fine fightback.
“I’m delighted with the win,” said Scotland captain Scott Knowles. “There is never an easy match in international golf and although we built a good lead in the foursomes the Welsh came out in the afternoon and gave us a good game.
“Perhaps their young side were a little nervous in the morning but my side will have learned a lot from the afternoon singles. We want to defend the title and my team is more than capable of performing.”
They were given a fine start by Jason Shufflebotham who lost the opening hole but came back to beat Graeme Robertson 3 and 2 in the top game only for the ever reliable Jack McDonald to overwhelm Welsh champion Jack Bush 6 and 5.
Grant Forrest and James Ross added to the Scottish tally with 3 and 2 wins over Matthew Moseley and Lee Jones respectively but the Welsh replied with three wins of their own.
Craig Melding went 2-up through four holes and 3-up after seven against Alexander Culverwell but the Scottish champion cut the deficit to 1-down through 11. However, Melding regained the advantage and ran out a 3 and 2 winner.
Zac Galliford was locked in a close encounter with Scott Crichton but after gaining the lead on the sixth, stayed ahead but Crichton fought back from 2-down to win the 16th with a birdie and 17 with a par only for Galliford to secure the match on 18 with a winning bogey five.
David Boote added to the Welsh morale with a 6 and 4 win over Ewan Scott, the Welshman finishing with back-to-back birdies and five under par for 14 holes.
But the Scots were not to be denied and Scott Borrowman saw them over the line with a 2 and 1 win against Alistair Jones while the final two games were shared on the 18th, Matthew Clark adding to the Scottish tally with a 1-hole win over Ben Westgate while Richard James scored the final Welsh point by the same margin against Bradley Neil.
Tomorrow England play Wales while the Scots face Ireland.
Ireland 7 England 8
Wednesday 14th August 2013
- Dermot McElroy & Kevin Phelan bt Callum Shinkwin & Toby Tree 2 & 1
- Reeve Whitson & Brian Casey lost to Craig Hinton & Ben Stow 1 Hole
- Rory McNamara & Gary Hurley lost to Ryan Evans & Paul Howard 4 & 2
- Paul Dunne & Jack Hume halved with Michael Saunders & Jamie Rutherford
- Gavin Moynihan & Chris Selfridge lost to Harry Casey & Nick Marsh 2 & 1
Foursomes Total Ireland 1½ England 3½
- Kevin Phelan halved with Callum Shinkwin
- Reeve Whitson bt Craig Hinton 1 Hole
- Cormac Sharvin lost to Toby Tree 1 Hole
- Dermot McElroy bt Ben Stow 3 & 2
- Gary Hurley lost to Jimmy Mullen 4 & 2
- Brian Casey bt Paul Howard 1 Hole
- Paul Dunne lost to Ryan Evans 6 & 5
- Chris Selfridge lost to Harry Casey 5 & 3
- Rory McNamara bt Jamie Rutherford 4 & 3
- Gavin Moynihan bt Nick Marsh 3 & 1
Singles Total Ireland 5½ England 4½
Wednesday Total Ireland 7 England 8
Scotland 9½ Wales 5½
- Jack McDonald & Graeme Robertson bt Richard James & Alistair Jones 3 & 2
- Scott Borrowman & Grant Forrest bt Lee Jones & Craig Melding Won 5 & 3
- Ewan Scott & James Ross halved with David Boote & Jason Shufflebotham
- Matthew Clark & Alexander Culverwell bt Jack Bush & Zach Galliford 3 & 2
- Bradley Neil & Daniel Young bt Mike Hearne & Ben Westgate 5 & 4
Foursomes Total Scotland 4½ Wales ½
- Graeme Robertson lost to Jason Shufflebotham 3 & 2
- Grant Forrest bt Matthew Moseley 3 & 2
- Jack McDonald bt Jack Bush 6 & 4
- James Ross bt Lee Jones 3 & 2
- Alexander Culverwell lost to Craig Melding 3 & 2
- Scott Crichton lost to Zach Galliford 1 Hole
- Ewan Scott lost to David Boote 6 & 4
- Scott Borrowman bt Alistair Jones 2 & 1
- Bradley Neil lost to Richard James 1 Hole
- Matthew Clark bt Ben Westgate 1 Hole
Singles Total Scotland 5 Wales 5
Total Scotland 9½ Wales 5½
P W D L Pts Pld W D L Pts
1st Scotland 1 1 0 0 2 15 9 1 5 9.5
2nd England 1 1 0 0 2 15 7 2 6 8
3rd Ireland 1 0 0 1 0 15 6 2 7 7
4th Wales 1 0 0 1 0 15 5 1 9 5.5
Today - (click here for full timetable of matches)
Ireland have made just one change in the foursomes line-up to take on Scotland with Cormac Sharvin coming in to replace Paul Dunne alongside Jack Hume. Dunne returns in the singles with Chris Selfridge rested for the individual contests.
Scotland v Ireland
Thursday 15th August 2013
Graeme Robertson & Jack McDonald v Dermot McElroy & Kevin Phelan
James Ross & Ewan Scott v Gavin Moynihan & Chris Selfridge
Scott Borrowman & Grant Forrest v Brian Casey & Reeve Whitson
Matthew Clark & Alexander Culverwell v Jack Hume & Cormac Sharvin
Daniel Young & Bradley Neil v Gary Hurley & Rory McNamara
Graeme Robertson v Gavin Moynihan
Grant Forrest v Kevin Phelan
Jack McDonald v Dermot McElroy
James Ross v Brian Casey
Scott Borrowman v Reeve Whitson
Daniel Young v Paul Dunne
Alexander Culverwell v Cormac Sharvin
Scott Crichton v Jack Hume
Bradley Neil v Gary Hurley
Matthew Clark v Rory McNamara