England to defend European Nations Championship

Toby Tree

A four-man England team will defend the European Nations Championship next week in Sotogrande, Spain, while an England women’s team will return to the event after an absence of several years.

The England men have won this title for the past three years and will look to make it four-in-a-row when the event is played from 21–24 March.

The men’s team is Jack Hiluta (Chelmsford, Essex), the newly crowned Spanish Amateur Champion, Ashley Chesters (Hawkstone Park, Shropshire & Herefordshire), Neil Raymond (Corhampton, Hampshire, IoW & CI) and Toby Tree (Worthing, Sussex).

The women’s team of three is Rachel Drummond (Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire), Nikki Foster (Pleasington, Lancashire) and Rachael Goodall (Heswall, Cheshire). All three are members of the top-ranking England women’s Performance Squad.

Jack Hiluta, 22, who won the Spanish title earlier this month, has spent the last few years at the University of South Alabama in the USA. He was capped at U16 and boys’ levels and has represented GB&I against the Continent of Europe in the Jacques Leglise Trophy. Last year he was third in the Berkshire Trophy.

Ashley Chesters, 22, was capped at U16 level and is a member of the England squad. Last year, he won the Lee Westwood Trophy and finished runner-up in the Simon Bolivar Cup in Venezuela. He visited Australia earlier this year, with top ten finishes in the Masters of the Amateurs and the Avondale Medal.

Neil Raymond, 26, made his full England debut against Spain last year and was also a member of the victorious Home Internationals team. He won the Brabazon Trophy, was runner-up in the Selborne Salver and seventh in the Welsh stroke play. He finished eighth on last year’s Titleist FootJoy EGU Order of Merit and was also a member of the squad which visited Australia, winning the New South Wales Medal.

Toby Tree (picture © Tom Ward), 17, has just won the Gauteng North Open in South Africa. He is a past winner of the English U14 and U16 championships, has represented England as an U16 and boy international and represented GB&I in the Jacques Leglise Trophy. He has also won the Douglas Johns Trophy and the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters.

Rachel Drummond, 22, won the 2011 Roehampton Gold Cup and had top-four high finishes in two other prestigious scratch events. She was a quarter finalist in the English amateur championship and recorded high finishes in the English, French and British stroke play championships.

Nikki Foster, 20, has represented England in the Home Internationals and, last year, qualified to play in the Women’s British Open. She’s a past winner of the Royal Birkdale scratch trophy and has been runner-up in the Scottish and Welsh stroke play championships and in the English women’s order of merit.

Rachael Goodall, 21, won the 2011 Critchley Salver and had top-three places in two other major scratch events. She also had top ten finishes in the English, Scottish and Welsh stroke play championships and reached final qualifying for the Women’s British Open.

The European Nations Championship is played over 72 holes. Each team discounts its worst score each day with the others counting towards the team event. An individual competition runs simultaneously.

For the latest scores visit the Spanish Golf Federation website.