England bounced back from disappointment to beat Finland 6.5-2.5 today and secure the bronze medal position at the first Costa Ballena Octagonal Match in Spain.
Yesterday they were in the unhappy situation of completing three matches unbeaten – only to miss out on a place in the final and the chance to play for gold.
The tournament, played with eight teams for the first time this year, featured two groups of four playing a round robin. The winner of each group met in the final and England looked odds-on to qualify after two wins and a half.
But Spain equalled their match record and pipped them by one game point after beating Iceland 8-1. They went on to beat the Netherlands 6-3 today to secure the gold.
In today’s bronze medal play-off, England edged ahead early with a 2-1 lead after the foursomes, thanks to the pairings of Ben Jones and Tom Sloman and of George Bloor and Josh McMahon.
They set out with great determination in the singles, with Bloor winning 6/5, followed by Jones who won 3/2. Sloman confirmed the team’s victory when he claimed his point on the last and Bailey Gill extended the winning margin when he won 4/3. The final half was provided by the last game, but Nick Poppleton didn’t have to strike a ball; his opponent withdrew at lunchtime when he became unwell and the point was shared.
England coach Paul Ashwell commented: “After the disappointment of missing out so narrowly on a place in the final I am very proud of the way our players bounced back with an excellent performance to win the third place play off and maintain our undefeated record.
“We’ve had a tremendous team spirit all week and everyone has played their part. Congratulations to Spain and thank you to Costa Ballena Golf who have been wonderful hosts.”
England’s top scorer was George Bloor, who was unbeaten throughout the four matches, winning six of his games and halving two.
The team, from England Golf’s A Squad, was coached by Paul Ashwell and captained by Tony Moran: George Bloor (Cavendish, Derbyshire), Bailey Gill (Lindrick, Yorkshire), Ben Jones (Northamptonshire County), Josh McMahon (Wallasey, Cheshire), Nick Poppleton (Wath, Yorkshire), Tom Sloman (Taunton & Pickeridge, Somerset).
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26 January 2018
England bid for bronze in Costa Ballena
England meet Finland today in the bronze medal play-off in the Costa Ballena Octagonal Match in Spain – after an agonising end to their bid for gold.
They were pipped to the final by Spain, who finished just one game point ahead after the group stages of the tournament
The eight teams are divided into two groups of four for the first, round robin stage of the tournament, with the winner of each group meeting to decide the title.
England were unbeaten in their group stages, halving with Spain, beating Iceland 6.5-2.5 and defeating Germany 5.5-3.5 after a tremendous fighting finish to the singles
Bailey Gill was always in charge in his match and comfortably delivered his point 4/3. However, Tom Sloman won 2up after being all square after 15; George Bloor won the 18th to halve his match and Josh McMahon also won the last to win his point 1up.
But Spain, who had trailed England on points at the start of the day, hit top form to beat Iceland 8-1. It meant Spain equalled England’s match record of two wins and one half, but they amassed 17.5 game points to England’s 16.5.
England coach Paul Ashwell commented: “We are all very frustrated to have had two wins and a tie and not go through to the final. But the lads gave 100% and you can’t ask for any more.”
Today Spain play the Netherlands to decide the gold and silver medals. England and Finland play for the bronze.
England team, captained by Tony Moran: George Bloor (Cavendish), Bailey Gill (Lindrick), Ben Jones (Northamptonshire County), Josh McMahon (Wallasey), Nick Poppleton (Wath), Tom Sloman (Taunton & Pickeridge). All six players are members of the England Golf A Squad.
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