England’s young guns set for Ireland challenge

England Golf has today named a 12-strong travelling squad – six boys and six girls – to take on Ireland in an under 16 international challenge match next month.

The match will take place at Douglas Golf Club over the weekend of October 9-10 and should provide a true test of the squad’s skills on a course designed by Harry Vardon and later revised by Alister MacKenzie on the hills overlooking Cork harbour.

The squad boasts a number of players who have already enjoyed international competition this season wearing England colours.

Imogen Williamson, Hyun-Ji Kim and Amelia Wan (pictured below) all played their part in helping England under 16 girls beat Switzerland last month in a challenge match at Heswall Golf Club.

They are joined in this squad by newcomers to the national set-up, Sophia Fullbrook, Isla McDonald-O’Brien and Ellise Rymer (main image).

Hugh Adams, Tyler Weaver and Kris Kim were part of the victorious under 16 boys’ squad who stormed to an 18-2 series win over Wales last weekend at Trentham Golf Club.

Also included in the squad heading to Ireland are established boys’ squad players Frank Kennedy, Josh Berry (main image) and Harley Smith.

Smith won both the McGregor and Carris trophies this season and teamed up with Berry when a combined boys’/girls’ squad won the Home Internationals at Woodhall Spa in August.

Berry finished that series with four wins out of four from his two foursomes and two singles games.

Meanwhile, Kennedy (pictured below) capped a busy summer of championships by playing in his first European Tour event.

The 15-year-old made the cut at the Hero Open at Fairmont St Andrews, becoming the youngest Englishman in history to do so, and shot a bogey-free, four under par round of 68 on the final day.

Jenny Henderson, assistant women’s performance manager at England Golf, will be with the squad in Ireland and said: “After a difficult few seasons for players in this age group with schedule cancellations and lack of playing opportunities as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s great to head back out on course to support a talented squad at the start of their international careers.

“For many of the players on this team it will be their first time representing England, but I know they will bring a will to learn, the passion to compete and an infectious team spirit.”

Men’s performance manager Stephen Burnett added: “The autumn international against Ireland U16s has always been a keenly fought battle marking the end of the annual England junior match schedule and we expect this year to be no different, especially on Irish soil.

“However, we have an exceptional vein of talent in this age group presently, demonstrated in the recent boys’ victory over Wales.

“Confidence is flowing through the team after a successful summer and I fully expect the players to keep the momentum going into our final fixture of 2021 and finish the season on a high.”

England under 16 squad to face Ireland

  • Hugh Adams – Hagley GC, Worcestershire
  • Josh Berry – Doncaster GC, Yorkshire
  • Sophia Fullbrook – Brocket Hall GC, Hertfordshire
  • Frank Kennedy – Trump Jupiter, Florida
  • Hyun-Ji Kim – Royal Wimbledon GC, Surrey
  • Kris Kim – Walton Heath GC, Surrey
  • Isla McDonald-O’Brien – Shrewsbury GC, Shropshire
  • Ellise Rymer – Woodhall Spa GC, Lincolnshire
  • Harley Smith – The Rayleigh GC, Essex
  • Amelia Wan – Hollinwell GC, Nottinghamshire
  • Tyler Weaver – Bury St. Edmunds GC, Suffolk
  • Imogen Williamson – Delamere Forest GC, Cheshire