England make it three in a row at Women’s Home Internationals

England WHI winners 2016

England won the Women’s Home Internationals for the third year in a row with a comprehensive 7-2 victory over the hosts, Wales, on the final day of the championship at Conwy Golf Club.

They added it to a halved result with Ireland on the opening day and a 6-3 win over Scotland to retain the title – and follow up on England’s earlier triumph in the European women’s team championship.

The team was (pictured, back row from left): Meghan MacLaren (Wellingborough), Emma Allen (Meon Valley), Olivia Winning (Rotherham), Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe); (front row from left), Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest), Sammie Giles (St Mellion), Lizzie Prior (Burhill) and captain Elaine Ratcliffe (Essendon). Image courtesy The LGU.

This is England’s fifth win in the last six years and was achieved in difficult weather conditions, which included very strong winds and heavy showers.

Team captain Elaine Ratcliffe commented: “I can’t say enough times that I saw some wonderful golf this week in tough conditions. I am very proud of how the girls always battled and were patient out there.”

The series began against Ireland, described by Ratcliffe, as “tough opposition who, in the conditions, played some amazing golf and whose short game was second to none in the foursomes.”

England managed just one halved result from the three foursomes, but dominated the singles, winning four of the six games to halve the match. “We went out and played our hearts out to halve,” said Ratcliffe.

On the second day against Scotland, the team again struggled in the foursomes, winning just one point. But again they were superb in the singles, winning five of the six games.

“At least we had one point from the foursomes but again we had a tall mountain to climb,” said Ratcliffe. “The girls went out and played well, we had some tight matches and they were magnificent from 12 onwards to turn some games around and to get the win.”

In the final match against Wales, Ratcliffe mixed up two of the foursomes pairings and “it all came together” with the team winning all three games.

Wales came out for the singles in determined mood and in the early stages the match was close. But then Meghan MacLaren and Gemma Clews drew away for big wins, 6/5 and 4/3 respectively; while Sammie Giles and Emma Allen worked steadily towards identical winning scorelines of 2/1 – to complete the victory.

During the series Lizzie Prior celebrated her 19th birthday and Ratcliffe added: “We had a great week, some lovely ice cream in Conwy, a birthday cake for Lizzie and to top it off we won the Home Internationals!”

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Meanwhile, England finished the Girls’ Home Internationals – played simultaneously at Conwy – with a 6.5-2.5 win over Wales. Earlier they had halved with Ireland and lost 3-6 to Scotland. The results stopped their winning run in the championship, which had lasted for eight years, and the 2016 title went to Ireland for the first time ever.

England saved their best for last. In the final day’s foursomes they won two foursomes, thanks to Lily May Humphreys and Amelia Williamson; and to Louisa Brunt and Sharna Dutrieux. In the singles the points were scored by Humphreys, Williamson, Brunt and Annabell Fuller with a half from Dutrieux.

Team:  Louisa Brunt (Royal Birkdale), Sharna Dutrieux, (Wrotham Heath), Annabell Fuller (Roehampton), Lily May Humphreys (Channels), Emily Price (Cleobury Mortimer), Bel Wardle (Prestbury), Amelia Williamson (Royal Cromer).

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