European Team Championships – Day Four: England’s women and boys going for gold

England will aim to strike gold in Wales and Germany tomorrow after the women’s and boys’ teams booked their place in their respective European Team Championship Finals.

On a day of drama when England faced Sweden in FOUR separate semi-finals, it ended with two wins apiece in the matches that took place at various points of the European compass.

At Conwy Golf Club in north Wales, the women excelled to beat Sweden 4.5-2.5 in a re-run of last year’s final.

Meanwhile, the boys’ clash with the Swedes at Golf Club St Leon-Rot went to the final putt of the final game – Frank Kennedy securing the point for a 4-3 win that took England into their first final in 15 years.

There was, however, disappointment for the men and the girls.

In a hard-fought match at Royal St George’s, the Swedes ran out 4-3 winners to end England’s men’s hopes of a win on home soil.

In Iceland, the girls’ best efforts couldn’t prevent their Swedish opponents earning a 6-1 victory.

 

Day Three Headlines

  • Caley McGinty and Lottie Woad shine as defending champs England book final slot against Italy
  • Frank Kennedy seals the point that takes the boys into their first Euro final since 2007
  • Singles wins for Sam Bairstow and Barclay Brown not enough to halt Sweden charge
  • Isla McDonald O’Brien takes a point for the girls in the loss to Sweden

 

England’s Boys

England will go seeking their first-ever gold medal in the European Boys’ Team Championships when they face hosts Germany in tomorrow’s final.

It was 2007 when the boys last contested a final and their tilt at glory in 2022 came after a dramatic semi against the Swedes.

The boys were looking good at lunchtime after a clean sweep in the two morning foursomes.

Harley Smith and Josh Berry put the first point on the board followed by the double act of Josh Hill and Frank Kennedy.

Smith’s form in this event – starting with a 66 on day one of the strokeplay – has been superb and he carried that on against the Swedes in the singles. His 7&6 win in the opening match was the perfect tonic for the rest of his team.

Yet that elusive fourth point was tough to come by – Josh Hill lost out on the 16th hole, Tyler Weaver’s match was over on the 17th and Josh Berry suffered the disappointment of losing on the final green.

It all came down to Kennedy and with the match all square on the 15th, the Portuguese Amateur champion conjured up a birdie and held that lead until the final hole.

After finding a fairway bunker on 18, Kennedy then hit the green with a fantastic approach and two putts was good enough for the match.

Germany and England took first and second spots in the stroke play qualifying and the final promises to be a humdinger.

 

England’s Women

England’s dreams of making it two-in-a-row at the European Team Championships are still on track after a fabulous semi-final victory over a talented Sweden side.

In a re-run of the 2021 final staged at Royal County Down, England came up with a repeat of the win that earned them a gold a year ago.

Now it’s Italy that stand in their way of glory at Conwy after they saw off Spain in the other semi.

Once again, England’s women showed their class to win the afternoon singles session against Sweden following a share of the spoils in the morning foursomes.

Caley McGinty (pictured below) and Lottie Woad put the first point of the day on the board leaving the team needing three more from the five afternoon games.

Amelia Williamson stormed to a comprehensive 7&5 win in the opening clash of the session and it wasn’t long before her team-mates responded in positive fashion.

Woad and McGinty then came up with the points that got England over the line.

Just for good measure, Rosie Belsham accepted a half point from her game with the final outcome already resolved.

England can enter the final with confidence knowing they have been over the course before – McGinty, Belsham, Charlotte Heath and Annabell Fuller were in last year’s winning team and the two newcomers, Woad and Williamson, are bang on form.

 

England’s Girls

Isla McDonald O’Brien (pictured below) took England’s point on a day when the rough weather and the Swedes both proved too difficult to overcome.

It had looked promising for the girls in the morning session and it was cruel on them when the Swedes claimed both points from the foursomes.

Rachel Gourley and Ellen Yates only lost on the 20th hole to their rivals and this was perhaps a turning point.

The afternoon singles belonged to the Swedes who took four of the five points available.

McDonald O’Brien’s gutsy 2&1 win will stand her in good stead going forward and Olivia Lee once again proved her battling qualities and talent – only losing out on the final hole.

England still has a medal to play for on Saturday – the bronze medal match will be against Germany who lost out in their semi to France.

 

England’s Men

Hopes of a 12th win at the Euros for the England men’s team ended on a baking hot day at Royal St George’s.

Sweden proved too strong in the afternoon singles and ran out 4-3 winners to book a slot in the final against Spain.

The morning foursomes ended in a point apiece – Sam Bairstow and Arron Edwards-Hill putting their best foot forward for England to comfortably win their second foursomes match of the week.

Bairstow took a point from the singles too as did Barclay Brown, but the elusive fourth point was hard to come by.

John Gough’s hopes of leading from the front ended with defeat to Tobias Jonsson on the  15th green and Jack Bigham lost out in the final match.

The contest hinged on the result of Edwards-Hill’s joust with Adam Wallin.

Having battled back from two down at the turn, Edwards-Hill had the momentum.

However, the Swede turned it around by winning the 15th and 16th holes – the latter coming after knocking his approach to six feet and holing the putt.

England will now contest the bronze medal match against Denmark.