England’s U16s have returned from Spain, defeated 16.5-7.5 in their annual international – but with their heads held high.
Team captain Rob Chruszcz commented: “They were awesome. We were up against it, but at no point did anyone let their heads drop or show any sign of giving up. They kept fighting right to the end and you can’t ask any more than that.
“They will have gained hugely from the experience. It was tough for them but every single person got at least half a point and that should give them so much self-confidence and self-belief. And the biggest thing of all was that they absolutely loved it!”
The mixed team of eight were all aged 14 and 15, while the Spanish side were at the older end of the age range, knew the course and were well-gelled as a national U16 team.
However, the England team made a great start to the match when they won the first foursomes session 2.1-1.5. The Spanish team responded with a superb singles performance, allowing just Max Hopkins to take a half point. “The golf they played was incredible,” said Chruszcz. “Our guys didn’t put a foot wrong, but Spain were exceptional.”
On the second day, Spain took the foursomes 3-1 before facing a very strong challenge from England in the singles. They eventually won the session 4.5-3.5, but had to fight for it.
“We came out really up for the challenge,” said Chrusczc. “We fought really hard and at one point we were up in most of the matches. Considering how heavily we lost the first singles, this was an amazing performance.”
The team, coached by Alex Saary, was:
Rafiah Banday, 14, Royal Mid Surrey, Surrey
Mia Eales-Smith, 15, Lindrick, Yorkshire
Ellie Gower, 15, Chateau des Vigiers, France
Max Hopkins, 15, Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire
Rory McDonald-O’Brien, 14, Lilleshall Hall, Shropshire & Herefordshire
Morgan Radziejowski, 15, Herefordshire, Shropshire & Herefordshire
John Richardson, 15, Royal Mid Surrey, Surrey
Caitlin Whitehead, 15, Carus Green, Cumbria