England U16s win praise for gritty fightback

England U16s v Spain 2016

England lost to Spain in the annual U16 mixed international, but came home with their heads high after a brave fightback.

Spain’s youngsters got off to a fast start and at the end of the first day’s play at their National Golf Centre they were leading 9.5-2.5 after the four foursomes and eight singles.

But on the second day, England were in charge and won the day’s play 7-5 for an overall score of 14.5-9.5 in Spain’s favour.

Their effort wasn’t enough to catch Spain but it certainly won the praise of England team coach Sarah Bennett.

“What an amazing day’s golf from a truly inspirational team,” she said. “I’m so proud of them for the way they came back. They could so easily have gone out there and thought they had lost. They all showed a lot of grit and determination and it was superb.

“They really did play super golf and they should all be proud of themselves.”

The players showed their commitment when they arrived on the practice range before the green staff on day two – and the preparation served them well.

The England players shared the morning foursomes 2-2, despite some tricky pin positions, with wins from the partnerships of Mimi Rhodes and Ebonie Lewis (2up) and from Barclay Brown and Charlie Daughtrey (3/2).

The team picked up the momentum in the afternoon with five wins in the eight singles. Rhodes and Daughtry both won again in the afternoon – each by one hole – while the other points were contributed by Lily May Humphreys (6/5), Annabell Fuller (5/3) and Harry Goddard 2/1.

The first day’s play was close, despite the score. Ten of the day’s matches ended on the 16th or later, but in that session the Spanish team proved the stronger finishers.

England’s points were provided by Humphreys and Rhodes (3/2) in the foursomes  and in the singles by Lewis (0.5) and James Cooper (6/5).

“All credit to Spain,” said Bennett, after the first day’s play. “But England played well in a series of tough, close matches.

“Also, to put it in perspective, we had a very young team – overall they were much younger than the Spanish – and we were playing at Spain’s national training centre. Three of their players were members and knew the course inside out and back to front.”

Click here for full scores

Back row, team captain Jim Newton, Annabell Fuller (Roehampton), Lily May Humphreys (Channels), Mimi Rhodes (Bunrham & Berrow), Ebonie Lewis (Knowle), coach Sarah Bennett.
Front row, Barclay Brown (Hallamshire), James Cooper (Cumberwell Park), Harry Goddard (Hanbury Manor), Charlie Daughtrey (Rotherham)