European Team Championships – Day Five: Silver lining for England’s boys in Germany

England claimed silver in the European Boys’ Team Championship after falling just short in a titanic tussle against Germany.

The six-man team featuring Harley Smith, Josh Hill, Josh Berry, Dylan Shaw-Radford, Frank Kennedy and Tyler Weaver went toe-to-toe with the host nation at Golf Club St Leon-Rot and, in the end, the overall match hinged on the outcome of a single game.

A strong Germany side enjoyed a 4.5-2.5 win, but it was a match that hung in the balance for most of the afternoon.

For England’s men and girls, there was disappointment too in their bronze medal matches at their respective European Team Championships.

At Royal St George’s, England went down to defeat against Denmark.

And in a gale-lashed Reykjavik, the girls’ hopes of a medal were blown off course by Germany.

 

England’s Boys

England battled bravely but eventually came up just short in their efforts to win the European Boys’ Team title for the first time in the championship’s history.

The match with Germany always appeared tough on paper – home advantage as well as the confidence of having beaten England to top seeding in the stroke play qualifying working in the Germans’ favour.

However, the six-strong England team can hold their heads high for pushing a very talented German side all the way in what was their first appearance in a final at this event in 15 years.

The match was nicely poised at lunch after the two morning foursomes matches ended in a point apiece.

Harley Smith and Josh Berry (pictured below) took the point for England with a two-hole win over Tom Faberer and Finn Kolle.

It was nip and tuck for most of the afternoon session too.

Smith lost out in the opening match to Kolle and Tim Wiedemayer – winner of the German Boys’ title at the same St Leon Rot venue just last month – underlined his potential with a fine 7&5 win over Frank Kennedy.

Tyler Weaver dug deep to earn a point for England by winning his match on the 17th.

But the crucial point for Germany came with Carl Siemens 3&2 win against Josh Berry.

Josh Hill’s game was all square going up the last when it became clear that Germany had reached the four point milestone in the match.

An honourable half was declared in the game between Hill and Peer Wernicke which had ebbed and flowed all afternoon. It is worth noting that when the handshake came on the 18th fairway, Hill was bogey-free and six under par for his round.

The England squad was understandably deflated by defeat but can take heart from the way they performed throughout the week.

Consolation in the loss can be found in their performances under pressure in both stroke play and match play phases as well as earning a place in next year’s World Championships in Japan with their silver medal performance.

 

England’s Girls

In the howling wind and biting cold of an Icelandic summer’s day, England’s hopes of bronze in the European Girls’ Team Championship were dashed by Germany who ran out 4-3 winners.

The weather conditions were so severe in the morning foursomes, that the players could barely stand on some exposed sections of Oddur Golf Club on the outskirts of Reyjkavik.

Putting into the gale was impossible with balls blowing off the greens and play was suspended.

With England leading in the game featuring Maggie Whitehead and Isla McDonald O’Brien and Germany ahead in the other, both teams agreed to take a point each as play was delayed amid no guarantee of a quick re-start.

When the play eventually did resume in the afternoon, Germany’s strength in the singles matches proved decisive.

Patience Rhodes did put a point on the board in the top game to seal a 3&2 win against Emilie Finckenstein

Whitehead’s game against Tessa Kremser could have gone either way – in the end the golfer from Close House had the nerve to win on the final hole.

However, Germany took the points in the remaining singles matches to take the final podium position.

 

England’s Men

England’s bid for bronze ended in disappointment as Denmark brought home the bacon in the third-place play-off match at Royal St George’s.

The damage was done in the morning session of foursomes with the Danes picking up full points from the two games before taking overall victory by a margin of 5-2.

John Gough and Jack Bigham lost on the 17th to Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen and Soren Lind and, perhaps more crucially, Arron Edwards-Hill and Olly Huggins lost out on the second extra hole to the pairing of Hamish Brown and Jens Kristian Thysted.

Although both Englishman had played well, this setback knocked the wind out of England sails and gave the Danes added belief going into the afternoon singles.

Sam Bairstow – who led from the front all week – gave England hope of a comeback with a resounding 5&4 win in the opening singles match.

However, when the games involving Arron Edwards-Hill and Barclay Brown went the way of the Danes, the match was over.

Edwards-Hill (pictured above) was two down at the turn and eventually lost 3&2 to Frederik Birkelund.

Meanwhile Brown’s match went back up the first after the Yorkshireman fought back from two down at the halfway point. Frederik Kjetterup then killed off faint England chances by winning at the first extra hole.

Olly Huggins and John Gough shook hands with their opponents out on the course with the overall outcome already decided.

Perhaps a little deflated and sapped of energy having put so much effort into the semi-final defeat to Sweden, England couldn’t find the spark against the Danes who holed key putts at the right time in crucial matches to claim a deserved victory.

  • In the men’s gold medal match, Spain (pictured below) dominated the match against Sweden and ran out 4.5-2.5 winners.