England retained the Men's Senior Home Internationals at Royal County Down with a powerful final day performance against European champions Ireland, consigning Scotland to second place and the Irish to third.
Despite heavy rain on the final day, the bedrock for the English success was laid in their foursomes performance, in which they produced a clean sweep to take a 3-0 lead into the singles.
Then, despite a comeback win on the 18th for Maurice Kelly over English seniors champion Richard Latham, and victories for Garth McGimpsey over Richard Partridge and Michael Quirke against Tyrone Carter, England secured the necessary points to finish the job 6-3.
The most crucial of these came from John Ambridge, who gained a one-hole victory over Arthur Pierse in a match that was all square playing the par five18th. But the Irishman took bogey after bunkering his drive and a solid par saw Ambridge home.
Andrew Stracey's 4&3 victory over Adrian Morrow and Chris Reynolds' win in the final game against John Mitchell by 4&2 sealed the triumph.
“It was a very rewarding result after a hard week and in some appalling weather,” said England manager Richard Palmer. “The win over Ireland on their home ground was special particularly as only one of my team had seen Royal County Down previously.”
Fog on the opening day meant both sets of foursomes were cancelled so halves were agreed in each game. Just the singles were played and England began their defence of the title with a 4½– 4½draw with Scotland while Ireland beat Wales 7½– 1½.
On the second day, England beat Wales 6½– 2½and Scotland overcame Ireland 5½– 3½which meant the title was a straight contest between England and the Scots.
Scotland gave themselves every chance by winning two and halving one of the morning foursomes, but Wales produced their strongest performance of the week in the singles to deny them the Past President's Trophy.
Victories for Jeff Thomas, Nigel Evans and Basil Griffiths gave them the better share of the points in the afternoon's matches, leaving the winning scoreline of 5-4 insufficient for Scotland to deny England their victory, thanks to a superior points difference.
Image copyright Cashman Photography.