Scotland and Ireland shared the spoils as England began the defence of their Boys Home Internationals title with a convincing 10.5-4.5 win over Wales at Forest Pines in Lincolnshire, writes the R&A.
Wales gave themselves a mountain to climb after labouring to a 4.5-0.5 defeat in the morning foursomes. And despite rallying in the singles, Derek Hughes’ side were worthy winners.
Ireland held a narrow 3-2 lead after the morning foursomes but there was always a sense this match would go to the wire – and so it did, to the final green in the final match.
Barrie Douglas’ Scotland side seized the early initiative in the singles and at one stage looked set to win. However, as long shadows spilled across the fairways at the day’s end and the pressure mounted, the outcome was a halved match. On reflection, it was a fair result but there were mixed feelings in both camps.
“We’ll look back on it as a match we might have won,” said Douglas. “Some of the matches were very close but nerves play a part coming down the stretch.”
While Douglas reflected on what might have been, his Irish counterpart Roy Archibald was simply relieved.
“There’s no doubt we used our get out of jail card today,” explained the Irish captain. “Scotland led in the top four matches and we looked dead and buried at one stage. But things happened in our favour on the closing holes and we were fortunate to get out with a halved match.”
The final act saw Scotland’s Robert MacIntyre play a fine approach into six feet at the 18th in his match against Alec Myles. The Irish teenager pulled his second at the par four and when he failed to get up and down the left-handed Scot secured the two-hole win as the overall result finished 7.5-7.5.
There were many talking points, not least the attempted comeback by Stuart Easton before Jack Walsh eventually prevailed for Ireland at the 18th. The Irish player had been four up before Easton put a run of five birdies together in the middle of the round to take the match to the 18th. Easton played a poor pitch and failed to make par and Walsh held his nerve to hole from eight feet for par and a one-hole win.
Sligo’s Sean Flanagan and Galway’s Ronan Mullarney also held their nerves at the 18th to halve their respective matches against Barassie’s Euan Walker and Lundin’s Niall McMullen.
Today’s results leave England in the driving seat and the defending champions will now take on Ireland, while Scotland play Wales on day two.
Scotland 7.5, Ireland 7.5
Connor Syme & Calum Hill lost to Robin Dawson & James Sugrue 2&1
Ewen Ferguson & Cameron Kirkwood bt Paul McBride & Jack Walsh 1 hole
Benjamin Kinsley & Stuart Easton lost to Gareth Lappin & Jordan Hood 3&2
Alan Waugh & George Burns lost to Sean Flanagan & Ronan Mullarney 3&2
Euan Walker & Robert MacIntyre bt Alec Myles & Rowan Lester 3&2
Foursomes: Scotland 2, Ireland 3.
Connor Syme lost to Robin Dawson 1 Hole
Calum Hill bt James Sugrue 1 Hole
Ewen Ferguson halved with Paul McBride
Benjamin Kinsley bt David Carey 3&2
Cameron Kirkwood lost to Jordan Hood 3&2
Stuart Easton lost to Jack Walsh 1 Hole
Niall McMullen halved with Ronan Mullarney
Alan Waugh bt Gareth Lappin 2&1
Euan Walker halved with Sean Flanagan
Robert MacIntyre bt Alec Myles 2 Holes
Singles: Scotland 5.5, Ireland 4.5
England 10.5, Wales 4.5 Scores