The stage is set: two fine teams, one great golf course. The England v France men’s international is all set to get underway at Formby Golf Club in Lancashire.
The opening ceremony took place in the early evening sunshine when both teams went on parade – and the action will begin at 9am tomorrow morning.
This is a match with a great history and a tremendous roll call of past players including Danny Willett, Justin Rose, Victor Dubuisson and Gregory Bourdy.
It was first played in 1934 and England have won 28 of the biennial contests, to France’s five successes. But that particular piece of history counts for nothing as the players prepare for the two-day encounter. “Each time we play it’s a different team,” said England captain Kevin Tucker. “It’s a new team and it all starts again.”
His team of eight are in great shape and were fine tuning their game this afternoon with the help of England lead coach Graham Walker and colleagues David Ridley and Phil Kenyon. “They are well prepared,” said Tucker. “The mood is good, we’re just waiting to go and looking forward to the game.”
The England players are Jamie Bower, who has won twice in South Africa; Scott Gregory, the runner-up in the Spanish amateur; Josh Hilleard, who won four times in 22 days in April; Paul Kinnear, who played in last year’s Open; Bradley Moore and Ashton Turner, who both helped Europe beat Asia Pacific in the Bonallack Trophy; Alfie Plant, the Lytham Trophy winner; and James Walker, the Selborne Salver winner.
They will be challenged by the experienced Edgar Catherine; Ugo Coussaud, joint runner-up in the Lytham Trophy; Andoni Etchenique, a semi-finalist in the French International Boys’ Championship; Jeong Weon Ko, the 2015 French International stroke play champion; Adrien Pendaries, the 2015 Irish boys’ champion; Pierre Pineau, the French junior champion; Gregoire Schoeb, who shot 60 in the 2014 St Andrews Links Trophy; and Victor Veyret, the Italian International champion.
Tucker commented: “I think they will be a very strong side, with some very experienced players. We expect another hard fought game.”
Tomorrow’s foursomes start at 9am and spectators are welcome. The draw:
Bradley Moore and Alfie Plant v Pierre Pineau and Edgar Catherine
Jamie Bower and Paul Kinnear v Gregoire Schoeb and Victor Veyret
Ashton Turner and James Walker v Ugo Coussaud and Andoni Etchenique
Scott Gregory and Josh Hilleard v Adrien Pendaries and Jeong Weon Ko
Live scoring will be available here