England has won both the R&A Women’s and Girls’ Home Internationals after the rain-affected final day of the round-robin competitions that were played at Downfield in Scotland.
England and Ireland came into third and final day having beaten both Scotland and Wales over the first two days of competition, leading to a title shoot-out between the two sides in both events.
Helen Hewitt, England Women’s Captain:
“It was a terrific all round effort and it was a good end to a long day. The team was fantastic and we are delighted with the win.”
With the weather causing havoc, it was a long and frustrating final day but it was England that ended it in celebratory mood edging the Irish out 3½ -2½ in the women’s event, while the junior side made it three title wins in a row on a count back after a 3-3 draw in the girls’ event.
Janet Melville, England Girls’ Captain:
“I am delighted. Every time play was suspended we were just ahead but all of a sudden things changed. Izzy (Simpson) was the stand out player. She was three down with five to play but won the 14th with a birdie and went on to win at the 18th. She told me before she went out after the rain that she was going to win her point.”
With the dreadful forecast threatening to wipe out the whole day’s play, a decision was made to send the afternoon singles matches out first and then hopefully follow on with the foursomes. Six hours of play were eventually washed out and the outcome of the final round of matches was decided on the results in the singles.
In the women’s event, England took control by winning the top three matches through Isobel Wardle, Lily May Humphreys and Emily Toy. The doughty Irish hit back with wins from Jessica Ross and Lauren Walsh and it was all set for a last match decider between Ellen Hume and Paula Grant.
England’s Hume was one up with two holes to play but Grant kept the match alive with a great birdie at the 17th and the pair went down the 18th. A halve in pars was good enough for an English victory.
The girls’ contest was a real thriller with four of the six matches going to the 18 th hole and England taking the title thanks to a superior points total in individual matches (17½-15½).
It was desperately disappointing for the Irish girls and captain Helen Jones. Last year at Ballybunion, the side also drew with England but eventually finished third overall.
In the third and fourth play-offs, Scotland, the defending champions, beat Wales 4½-1½ to finish third. Wales gained revenge in the girls’ event with a 5-1 scoreline.