England regained the Raymond Trophy by winning the Home Internationals, supported by Fairstone Financial Management Ltd, after beating old rivals Scotland 9-6 on the final day at sunny and breezy Ganton.
After a fierce battle in the morning foursomes which finished level, England won six of the afternoon singles and halved another to complete a 9-6 victory and a clean sweep of the other countries, while Ireland secured second place by beating a bullish Welsh side 8-7.
“This is an amazing and wonderful feeling,” said England captain Terry Casey. “It was an extraordinary performance by my team and having lost last year this is special.
“The players were fantastic and I have run out of superlatives to describe them. We beat three really strong sides here but I always felt we had a real chance this week.”
Scottish captain Scott Knowles was gracious in defeat. “We put ourselves in a good position to successfully defend the title but fair play to England, they got the job done,” he said.
“Things were looking good for us midway through the afternoon especially when we saw Wales coming back against Ireland but the England boys played really well down the stretch.”
Early on in the afternoon and England win hardly looked likely. Scotland were ahead in the top four games with four others all square. But the English team gradually turned it around although the Scots drew first blood when Graeme Robertson beat English champion Callum Shinkwin 3 and 2 in the top game.
But the pendulum gradually swung in the home side’s favour as Craig Hinton came from 2-down at the turn and 3-down after ten to get home 2 and 1 over the previously unbeaten Grant Forrest 2 and 1 with pars on 16 and 17.
Toby Tree won the last two holes to beat Jack McDonald in a tight encounter but Scott Crichton kept the Scots in the hunt with a one hole win over Jimmy Mullen, having been 3-up through 12 holes.
However, with Ben Stow beating Scott Borrowman 5 and 3, Paul Howard romping to a 7 and 6 win over Ewan Scott after birdies at the opening three holes and Ryan Evans coming from 2-down to beat Matthew Clark 2 and 1, England were assured of at least a draw which was all they needed for victory.
It was Harry Casey, England’s highest scorer, who saw his team over the line with a 2 and 1 win over James Ross, while Alex Culverwell brought Scotland a further point and Bradley Neil won the final hole against Nick Marsh to secure a half.
In the other match, Ireland needed a big win over Wales to have a say in the title chase. But after trailing 1-4 from the morning foursomes, the Red Dragon came roaring back to win the singles 6-4 but it wasn’t quite enough as Ireland edged home by a point.
A big Irish win was possible as Gavin Moynihan beat Jason Shufflebotham followed by Dermot McElroy who chalked up his sixth success when he recorded the same score against Craig Melding. That saw the Irish 6-1 ahead and looking to surge ahead but Wales responded in splendid fashion.
Michael Hearn sealed a 3 and 1 win over Rory McNamara and Lee Jones got the better of Brian Casey by 3 and 2.
There were also final green wins for Matthew Moseley over Reeve Whitson in a tight match with little to choose between the players, and for Zac Galliford over Paul Dunne.
Welsh champion Jack Bush beat Jack Hume by two holes to see Wales close to success but Cormac Sharvin denied Alastair Jones 3 and 1 to see Ireland to overall victory and into second place.
Over the three days there was an award for the Player of the Tournament, sponsored by Fairstone Financial Management Ltd. This went to Ireland’s Dermot McElroy, who won all six of his games.