England’s boys team will take a commanding lead into day two of their international challenge match against Wales.
The eight-strong Under 16 side lead 8-4 after an eventful first day against their rivals at a sun-drenched Newport Golf Club.
As well as some excellent play and birdies galore, there was also some inventive golf on show – with Cheshire’s Mathew Dodd-Berry even climbing a tree on the 7th hole to play a shot and avoid a penalty drop during an afternoon foursomes win! (pictured below)
All the groundwork was done by the boys in the morning singles.
A 5.5 – 2.5 lead at lunch was no more than the team deserved with a number of noteworthy performances in the Welsh sunshine.
Hertforshire’s Jack Bigham was first on the course and completed a 4&2 win against Connor Owen.
Victories for Yorkshire’s Josh Berry and Dubai-based Josh Hill followed in games two and three before Wales clawed back two points. Dylan Thomas and Jamie Dean got the better of Hugh Adams (Worcestershire) and Dodd-Berry respectively.
England, though, finished with a flourish as Jack Ingham (based in Holland) and Essex’s Harley Smith romped to wins of 6&4 and 5&4 over rivals Sean David and Coalan Burford. Hertforshire’s Reis Suart then halved his game with Finlay Szafnauer.
With the comfort of a healthy lead, the boys set about the afternoon foursomes with gusto.
Bigham and Hill teamed up to earn half a point in a tight match with Welsh duo Reuben Bather and Connor Owen.
Josh Berry and Adams dovetailed nicely to earn a tense victory on the final hole.
Dodd-Berry and Ingham were far more comfortable in their 4&3 win against Jamie Dean and Burford. Dodd-Berry’s attempt at a shot from a giant oak reminiscent of the great Bernhard Langer at Fulford in the 1980’s. A tree-iron, perhaps?!
Smith and Suart could do nothing to prevent the final game going the way of Wales by a margin of 3&2.
England’s 2.5 – 1.5 winning margin in the foursomes now means that with eight singles scheduled for day two of the challenge match, the Under 16 squad just need 2.5 more points to guarantee victory.