England fell just a half point short of successfully defending their title at the Costa Ballena Quadrangular tournament in Spain.
They halved the final day’s match with the hosts, Spain, after an extremely close singles session in which, agonisingly, three of the individual games were halved.
Had they managed to squeeze out the extra half point needed to beat Spain they would have tied with Italy and Germany – and retained the trophy by virtue of winning most game points.
However, the honours went to Italy, the newcomers in the tournament who replaced Finland in the line-up.
Afterwards, England coach Paul Ashwell commented: “We have had an incredibly exciting afternoon and witnessed lots of good golf. As a team we are deeply disappointed at not winning the final half point required to take home the trophy but congratulate Italy on their victory.
“I would like to thank Costa Ballena for their warm and friendly hosting of the event and compliment them on the excellent condition of the course.
“Thanks also to our team who gave 100% to everything we did, I hope this will be a great learning experience for each of them.”
Will Whiteoak of Shipley, Yorkshire (image © Leaderboard Photography) was England’s ‘man of the match’ winning all six of his games in the tournament. His fellow team members, pictured below, were Ben Amor (Marlborough, Wiltshire), George Bloor (Cavendish, Derbyshire), Tom Gandy (Rowany, Isle of Man), Matthew Jordan (Royal Liverpool, Cheshire) and Josh McMahon (Wallasey, Cheshire).
The tournament was very closely contested throughout. On the first day, England beat Germany 6.5-2.5 while Italy beat Spain 3.5-2.5.
On day two, Italy moved into the lead with a 5-4 win over England; meanwhile Germany joined the reckoning with a 5.5-3.5 win over Spain.
Today, the third day of the event, Germany beat Italy 5-4 to tie on match points, but the Italians triumphed overall with the superior number of individual games won. England halved with Spain, narrowly missing out on the tie.
Italy 4pts (14.5 games won)
German 4 pts (13)
England 3 pts (15)
Spain 1pt (11.5)
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Below, the England team. Back row (from left) Paul Ashwell (coach), George Bloor, Matthew Jordan, Tony Moran (captain). Front row: Ben Amor, Josh McMahon, Will Whiteoak, Tom Gandy.