England finish strongly in nail-biter

Paul Kinnear

England came through a tense first day at the Men’s Home Internationals, supported by Fairstone Financial Management, with a halved match against the hosts, Ireland, at Royal Portrush.

“What a stressful day!” said team captain Terry Casey after his side came through a tense afternoon’s play to win the singles session.

The morning’s foursomes went Ireland’s way as they mastered the greens. “We were almost putted off the course at times this morning and in the end we were very happy to go into lunch 3-2, having played well in the main.”

England’s foursomes points were provided by Ben Taylor and Tomasz Anderson, who won 4/2, and by Dan Brown and Alfie Plant, who were one up winners.

The afternoon began well with England getting ahead in a number of games, but never by enough to gain real momentum. For a long spell the advantage was with Ireland but they too, failed to make enough progress to close out the match.

However, England gradually amassed points with wins from Ashley Chesters, English champion Joe Dean, and Alfie Plant and halves from Jimmy Mullen and Ben Taylor.

At that stage the team had a total of six points – but more was needed. And two Lancashire players duly delivered. Sean Towndrow finished well to win on the last while Paul Kinnear (image © Leaderboard Photography) grabbed the essential half to make honours even for the day.

Kinnear had been three down on the back nine, but gradually clawed it back to one down before winning the 18th. “He hung on and put the pressure on and it told. Nail-biting stuff,” said Casey. 

In the day’s other match Scotland beat Wales 8-1.

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