England battle to Home Internationals victory

Womens Home Ints 2015

England pulled out all the stops today to retain the women’s Home Internationals title in an intensely tight finale to the week at Royal Wimbledon.

The team produced a great singles performance to beat Ireland 5-4, but had to wait for the outcome of the other match, between Wales and Scotland, before they could be crowned champions.

At the start of the final day the title race was wide open. Ireland, with 1½ points from two matches, were front runners; but England and Scotland, with a point apiece, were also right in the hunt.

Ireland looked even stronger at lunchtime, after winning the morning foursomes 2-1. But England stormed out in the singles, led by Hollie Muse who won the first hole against the Irish star, Olivia Mehaffey, and was never behind, going on to win  5/4.

Sophie Lamb trailed for the first part of her match, but didn’t lose a hole after the fifth, got in front on the 14th and went on to win 3/1.

Inci Mehmet was three up with three to play but was taken to the 18th by her opponent, where she played the hole with textbook precision to claim her point.

Gemma Clews got in front on the third – and stayed there, extending her lead to five up after 11 holes and finally winning 4/2.

So England secured the point – but the championship wasn’t over. If Scotland beat Wales they would tie with England and the result would be decided on countback. However the Welsh, who had secured two points in the foursomes, won three of the six singles and held on to win 5-4.

England team captain Elaine Ratcliffe said: “I am very proud of the girls, it was a great result and I am so pleased for everyone concerned. A lot of people have put a lot of hard work into this.

“We had a really tough game today. They played nicely this morning, but were 2-1 down, and this afternoon it just felt good out there. Hollie won the first hole of her match and they all just took control from the start. They are a very young side but they showed what golfers they are becoming.”

This is England’s fourth win in the Women’s Home Internationals in five years. “It’s lovely to be a winning captain,” added Elaine, who played in three winning teams in 1995, ’96 and ’97.

On the first day of the tournament England beat Wales 5-4 while Ireland beat Scotland 6.5-2.5. On day two Scotland beat England 6-3 while Wales and Ireland halved.

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Image courtesy LGU. Caption (from left): Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest), Sammie Giles (St Mellion), Sophie Keech (Parkstone), Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe), Elaine Ratcliffe (Essendon), Inci Mehmet (Royal Mid-Surrey), Hollie Muse (West Lancashire), Sammy Fuller (Roehampton) and Bethan Popel (Long Ashton).

10/09/2015

Setback for England’s title hopes

England’s hopes of successfully defending the women’s Home Internationals title received a setback today when they lost to Scotland 6-3 at Royal Wimbledon.

But, the title race is wide open. England have one point from the two matches played so far and tomorrow will take on Ireland, who have a slight advantage having scored 1½ points. In the other match Scotland, who have one point, will play Wales, who halved today with Ireland.

England started well today, winning two of the three foursomes. Sophie Keech and Sammie Giles were always ahead and claimed their game by the margin of 3/2. But Hollie Muse and Gemma Clews were one down after 14 and won 15 and 16 to get ahead, before holding on with halves on the last two holes to win their point.

In the singles, however, it was the Scots who had the upper hand for most of the afternoon. They scored two big wins early on and although the momentum swayed towards England in the later stages, it was the Scots who came back again and proved the stronger finishers. Only Hollie Muse won both the 17th and 18th to claim her game for England.

England captain Elaine Ratcliffe said: “It was a disappointing afternoon, but Scotland played the better golf and were the deserved winners.

“We had great fight backs from Inci, Sammy (Fuller) and Sammie (Giles) but they all went down the last and lost. Hollie played the best golf and won.

“It was breezy and testing as the course started to run more, and the greens were very challenging.”

The England team, captained by Elaine Ratcliffe, is: Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest), Sammy Fuller (Roehampton), Sammie Giles (St Mellion), Sophie Keech (Parkstone), Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe), Inci Mehmet (Royal Mid-Surrey), Hollie Muse (West Lancashire), Bethan Popel (Long Ashton).

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England team image courtesy LGU

09/09/2015

Winning start for England at Home Internationals

England, the defending champions, produced an impressive singles performance to beat Wales 5-4 on the first day of the women’s Home Internationals at Royal Wimbledon.

Cornwall’s Sammie Giles made a dream start to her international career when she secured the winning point in the final match on the course.

But earlier in the day it was Wales who held the advantage when they won the foursomes 2-1. England’s point was provided by Lancashire’s Sophie Lamb and Surrey’s Inci Mehmet, who were two down after three, but didn’t lose another hole and were 4/3 winners.

Both players had a great day, each going on to win their singles. Mehmet was the biggest winner of the day, winning the first five holes of her game and notching up a 7/5 success. She was followed closely by Lancashire’s Hollie Muse who despatched her opponent 5/4.

Lamb pulled off a crucial one-up win, holding her nerve to halve the 18th after her opponent had won the 17th. That result meant England needed one more point and, with Gemma Clews and Bethan Popel both beaten, it fell to Giles to provide it.

She was in charge throughout her match, winning the first hole and never falling behind, although her opponent briefly pulled her back to all square after the 10th. But then Giles forged ahead again and won her match 3/1.

England captain Elain Ratcliffe remarked: “We just didn’t get going in the foursomes but it felt very different in the afternoon. Inci came out of the blocks well and Hollie also had a very good win. Sophie’s point was so important and Sammie finished really strongly and showed great strength of character.”

She added: “This is a wonderful golf course, the greens are fabulous, but undulating and very tricky. It’s a really tough test of golf.”

In the day’s other match Ireland beat Scotland 6½ -2½. Tomorrow England play Scotland.

The England team, captained by Elaine Ratcliffe, is: Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest), Sammy Fuller (Roehampton), Sammie Giles (St Mellion), Sophie Keech (Parkstone), Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe), Inci Mehmet (Royal Mid-Surrey), Hollie Muse (West Lancashire), Bethan Popel (Long Ashton).

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England team image courtesy LGU