England’s boys and girls have made a storming start in the bid to retain their Home Internationals crown.
On a blustery day at Downfield Golf Club in Dundee, the mixed squad put Ireland to the sword to win 13-8.
Having won the morning foursomes session by a 4-3 margin, England’s strength in depth came to the fore in the 14 afternoon singles.
England won eight and halved two of the games to start three days of competition on a positive note.
As well as playing for the mixed title, the boys and girls are also competing to win their own separate titles.
The girls edged their match with their Emerald Isle opponents by the narrowest of 5-4 margins.
Having lost the morning foursomes in the girls’ event 2-1, England took four of the six points available in the singles to prevail.
The boys came out on top 8-4 in the match with their Irish counterparts winning the morning foursomes 3-2 and then taking five points from the eight afternoon singles.
Given that 14 of the 16 England players on show had never played a full international, the win on all three fronts was an excellent start to the week.
Josh Hill and Seb Cave were the only players in the squads named by England Golf for this event who had previously featured against the other home nations.
The duo were part of the squad which won the inaugural joint boys/girls’ event at Woodhall Spa in 2021 and were back for more.
For the remaining seven boys and seven girls, this was a whole new ball game.
The first point on the board was claimed by Hill and Reis Suart (pictured above) who earned victory in their foursomes match on the 18th after Ireland lost a ball and conceded a two-hole defeat.
The next victory on the 18th provided more drama for the watching spectators and officials.
Ellise Rymer and Amelia Wan (Pictured below) played the hole perfectly – and a solid par four under pressure was enough for them to win a point against Marina Joyce-Mareno and Roisin Scanlon.
The stress levels were much reduced for Sam Easterbrook and Frazer Jones. Their match ended on the 14th with a 6&4 victory.
The final point of the morning session was earned by Cave and Charlie Croker. Handshakes on the 16th green confirmed a 3&2 win for the English duo.
The 4-3 lead at lunch was welcomed by the England squads but with 14 singles matches to follow there was plenty to play for.
England players stepped up to the plate to make sure that a long day in testing conditions ended with the team in a strong position ahead of matches against Wales and Scotland.
There were convincing wins for Sam Easterbrook (pictured below), Reis Suart, Ellise Rymer, Rosie Bee Kim, Isla McDonald O’Brien and Frazer Jones.
Hill’s match once again went the distance – the Dubai-based golfer coming up trumps with a fantastic birdie three at the last to defeat Gavin O’Neill.
Ben Brown and Sean Keeling could not be separated and had to settle for a half point apiece. Seb Cave also earned a share of the spoils – coming from two down with two to play to eke out a half point.
Tomorrow, England will face Wales as they look to take another step towards the silverware.
Wales and Scotland fought out a 10.5-10.5 draw – a result that further strengthens England’s chances of success come Thursday.