England will face Sweden in FOUR separate semi-finals tomorrow in a bid to keep on track for a European gold rush.
And in true ABBA style, the winner takes it all!
All four England teams – men, women, boys and girls – saw off their respective opponents on the first day of the match play stages at the European Team Championships.
Now the task is clear for all the English teams spread out across Europe at venues in England, Germany, Wales and Iceland: Win against the Swedes on Friday and go for gold on Saturday.
Tomorrow’s match play encounters will once again comprise of two morning foursomes and five afternoon singles.
Day Three Headlines
- Sam Bairstow storms to an 8&6 win over European Amateur champion Filippo Celli as England’s men overpower Italy
- England’s women dominate Wales in a march to the semis and a repeat of the 2021 final against Sweden
- Frank Kennedy and Tyler Weaver chip in with crucial wins as England’s boys defeat the Dutch
- Rachel Gourley secures the winning point for the girls in a hard-fought victory against Belgium
A gutsy fightback in the afternoon session saw the boys’ squad book their place in Friday’s semis.
Having won the two morning foursomes courtesy of points picked up by the pairings of Harley Smith and Josh Berry (2&1) and Josh Hill and Frank Kennedy (5&4), England entered the singles in fine fettle.
However, the Dutch fought back to head into the final stages of the match edging ahead on points.
Frank Kennedy (pictured below) was always in control of his match – eventually cruising to a 6&5 win against Kayden Chang.
However, with Harley Smith losing out in the top match and Dylan Shaw-Radford also being edged out, it fell to Tyler Weaver and Josh Hill to turn things around.
Weaver, one down after 13 holes, won the 14th, 16th and 17th holes to secure a vital 2&1 win and get England over the line.
Josh Hill’s half point was the icing on the cake.
England will now face Sweden in the semis after they raced to a 5.5-1.5 win against France.
Rachel Gourley helped England over the line against Belgium as the girls once again showed their mettle.
After sharing the spoils in the morning foursomes thanks to Olivia Lee and Patience Rhodes winning their match on the final green, it was nip and tuck in the afternoon singles.
Maggie Whitehead produced her best when it was needed most in a 4&3 win against Emma Defleur.
And Isla McDonald O’Brien secured a precious point with a chip in on the 15th hole to tie up a 5&3 triumph against Audrey Wen-Zhem Lam.
Gourley’s 3&2 win over Mirthe Waumans was the one which got England into the semis where they will face – Sweden! The Swedes booked their place by defeating Denmark.
Sam Bairstow made short work of what had promised to be an epic match against Italy’s Filippo Celli as England booked their place in Friday’s semis.
Last month, Celli won the European Amateur and, like Bairstow, is destined for the 150th Open at St Andrews next week.
But Bairstow outplayed his rival – starting his round with two birdies and never looking back. By the turn he was 6 up and the inevitable handshake came on the 12th green after another Bairstow birdie putt was conceded.
That made it two points on the board for the Yorkshireman having partnered Arron Edwards-Hill to a thumping 6&4 win over the Italian pairing of Bovari and Fallotico in the morning foursomes.
John Gough and Olly Huggins also scrapped their way to a win in the foursomes – this time the one-hole victory being secured on the final green.
Gough then did his duty in the afternoon – polishing off Matteo Cristoni 4&3 with another typically strong performance.
The Englishman turned the screw by winning three holes on the spin from the 13th and securing the point that ensured England could not be beaten in the match.
Just for good measure, England completed a 5.5-1.5 triumph with Barclay Brown winning his match against Pietro Bovari on the 18th and Jack Bigham earning a half point against Massimiliano Campigli.
England will now square up against Sweden in Friday’s semi-final.
England had too much strength in depth for Wales as home hopes were killed off in Conwy.
Victory in the two morning foursomes matches was followed by four wins in the afternoon singles – Charlotte Heath’s match ending in a half when the final outcome was already decided.
Heath and Annabell Fuller’s foursomes win was hard-fought against Darcey Harry and Ffion Tynan. The match was finally settled on the 21st hole with EGA rules dictating that all matches (while the match score remains in doubt) should produce a winner.
In the second of the foursomes matches, Caley McGinty and Lottie Woad secured a two-hole winning margin after taking a narrow advantage up the last.
The afternoon proved straightforward for the defending champions with Woad, Amelia Williamson (pictured above) and Rosie Belsham all claiming victory on the 16th green.
McGinty won her match on the 15th and Heath achieved an honourable half with Harriet Lockley as Wales avoided a wipeout.
England will now face Sweden in a repeat of last year’s final hoping for a similar result to the one achieved at Royal County Down.