England today reclaimed their crown as Girls’ Home Internationals champions, beating Ireland 6.5-2.5 to clinch the title on the final day at Little Aston, Staffordshire.
The strong English team were in dominant form throughout the match despite losing Amelia Williamson to gastroenteritis on the eve of the championship.
Although the team was down to six players for the three-day tournament, England defeated Wales 8-1 and Scotland 7-2 before battling hard to defeat a tough young Irish squad on the last afternoon.
The English claimed the morning foursomes 2½-½ and then went further ahead in the singles when Hollie Muse and Sammy Fuller both won their sixth matches out of six by recording 6&5 victories over Lauren Walsh and Sara Byrne.
Team captain Janet Melville said: “The plan this week was to try to win every session. We knew that wouldn’t be easy but we’ve managed it so we’re very pleased. We got off to a really good start this afternoon and they were all up early on so that took the pressure off a bit."
This is England's ninth win in 10 years and during the decade the team has been beaten only by Ireland in 2016.
Girls’ team: Sammy Fuller (Roehampton, Surrey), Lily May Humphreys (Stoke-by-Nayland, Essex), Hollie Muse (West Lancashire), Emily Price (Cleobury Mortimer, Worcestershire), Hannah Screen, (Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire), Bel Wardle (Prestbury, Cheshire). Amelia Williamson (Royal Cromer, Norfolk) was unwell and had to withdraw.
However, the England women’s team – who had won the last three championships – lost their title to Ireland, suffering a narrow 4-5 beating.
The England team looked set to claim the title for the sixth time in seven years after sharing the morning foursomes and then taking an early lead in the singles, but that was before the Irish mounted a late comeback which resulted in them claiming their victory.
Clodagh Hopkins, the Ireland women’s captain, said: “This is just amazing. I can’t believe it has happened. The English are a very strong team but I had an inkling we could get something out of the match. The girls have played so well and been so positive all week that I knew they had a chance. Every time we went out we did just enough and that’s exactly what we did today.”
England captain Elaine Ratcliffe commented: “The Irish played some great golf on that back nine. It was still close after nine, we were up in two games, but the others were really close. You’ve got to hand it to the Irish.”
Women’s team: Emma Allen (Meon Valley, Hampshire), Lianna Bailey (Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire), Gemma Clews (Delamere Forest, Cheshire), India Clyburn (Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire), Sophie Lamb (Clitheroe, Lancashire), Rochelle Morris (Woodsome Hall, Yorkshire), Olivia Winning (Rotherham, Yorkshire).
Click here for full scores
Image courtesy The R&A