Fantastic double for England in European Nations Cup

The England men’s team pulled off a fantastic double with a consecutive clean sweep at the European Nations Cup in Sotogrande, Spain.

The quartet of Bailey Gill, Ben Jones, Tom Plumb, and Tom Sloman successfully defended the trophy, with Sloman winning the individual title in a tense finale.

The championship was contested by 15 countries and this is England’s eighth win. Previous victories were scored in 2018, 2015, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2004.

Meanwhile the England women’s team came third in their event in their best-ever result in this championship.

The men won by eight shots at the end of a tough week, when a brutal wind made playing conditions difficult. Men’s team manager Gareth Jenkins commented: “This is a tremendous achievement.

“The wind was really, really strong for the first two days and then it was swirling, making it very difficult on a course where you have to have pin point accuracy,

“But the boys just dug in and they were really fantastic. It was a whole team effort and while it was never easy, it was great fun.”

The team were in third place after the first round, but took the lead at the halfway stage and held on from there.

They set out on today’s final round with an eight shot advantage over Holland, only to see that halved after the first three holes when their opponents made a fast start. But England kept playing steadily and the challenge faded.

Sloman, however, had a roller-coaster on his way to the individual title. He had a two shot lead going into the final round but he struggled until an eagle three on the 14th put him right back in the mix.

His dramas continued until the 18th, where his drive finished in the trees, but he managed a par after holing out from 15ft, completing the last five holes in one-under. It proved to be a winner when Germany’s Jannik de Bruyn missed from 4ft, failing to force a play-off.

The women’s team of Georgina Blackman, Emily Toy and Bel Wardle were lying second with a round to play and were disappointed to slip back to third. But, team manager Jenny Henderson commented: “It was a good week for the women on a challenging golf course which demanded excellence in all areas. An exceptional work ethic ensured they were prepared to battle through windy conditions to put themselves in contention on the final day.”

She added: “This is one of the few events where England Golf have the opportunity to send a male and female team and the dynamic has been great, with both teams working together and supporting each other throughout.”

Players:

Men
Bailey Gill, Lindrick, Yorkshire
Ben Jones, Northamptonshire County, Northamptonshire
Tom Plumb, Yeovil, Somerset
Tom Sloman, Taunton & Pickeridge, Somerset

Women
Georgina Blackman, Chelmsford, Essex,
Emily Toy, Carlyon Bay, Cornwall,
Bel Wardle, Prestbury, Cheshire

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Caption: Back row, from left, Tom Plumb and Bailey Gill; front row, from left, Gareth Jenkins, Tom Sloman and Ben Jones.