England have won the Boys’ Home Internationals for the third consecutive year and with a 100% record after defeating Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the round-robin competition at Royal Dornoch.
England and Ireland played out an exciting title decider on the third and final day of play on the North-East coast of Scotland and the defending champions ran out 8-7 winners to retain the trophy. England have now won the under-18 team event 17 times since 1996.
Ireland were left to settle for a runner-up spot while Scotland finished in third place after impressively beating Wales 11-4.
Stephen Burnett, England’s non-playing captain, said: “I’m really proud of the players. We knew that the biggest game of the competition would fall on the final day and it was a really tight match.
“Ireland were really strong contenders but the last few singles matches this afternoon went our way. All credit to our players, they pulled the result out of the hat.
“It has been a fantastic three days at Royal Dornoch and we have been very well looked after by everyone involved. They are not many better courses than this.
“We now look forward to defending the title at Ashburnham. We will retain the core of this team for next year and they will put up a strong defence of the title.”
England edged in front 3-2 ahead of the afternoon singles following a stirring series of morning foursomes against Ireland.
Irish duo Aaron Marshall and Mark Power were first to register a point after ending the unbeaten run by the English partnership of Conor Gough and Robin Williams. An impressive bogey-free round which included three birdies on the front nine ensured they had full control of the match and they closed out a 3&2 win on the 16th.
Harrison Arnold and Chris Knipes hit back for England by beating Allan Hill and David Kitt 4&3 which was followed by a win by one hole for Barclay Brown and Joe Pagdin over John Brady and Tom McKibbin.
The two other matches featuring Harry Goddard and Habebul Islam against Charlie Denvir and Max Kennedy and Matthew Freeman and Max Hopkins against Odhran Maguire and Luke O’Neill were halved to give England a slender one point advantage at the end of this morning’s play.
The first singles match between Power and Williams proved to be a thrilling contest that ebbed and flowed throughout. Both players were in prolific scoring form with no less than eight birdies in the match but it was Power who eventually prevailed to pull Ireland level at 3-3 with a 2&1 win.
England edged in front again when Gough claimed a 3&2 victory over McKibbin. The turning point in the match came when the Stoke Park member won three holes in a row from the 7th, a lead that he would hold onto for the rest of the encounter.
Nevertheless, Marshall put Ireland back on parity at 4-4 shortly after when he confidently won his match against Brown 4&3.
Brady was left to rue missing out on a full point after letting slip a four hole lead against Pagdin. The English youngster rallied to win four out of five holes from the 13th and the match was halved after both players made par on the final hole.
Three crucial points were secured for England when Josh Hill beat Denvir 3&2, Arnold was victorious against O’Neill 2&1 and Goddard edged out Murphy by one hole meaning that the defending champions moved into a 7½-4½ lead and were guaranteed of winning the title.
Hopkins and Kennedy halved their match to seal the overall win for England after he increased their lead to an unassailable 8-5.
Ireland fought back to win the last two matches out on the course: Hill beat Freeman by one hole and Kitt sealed a 2&1 win against Knipes.
Harrison Arnold, 18, (Castle Royle, BB&O)
Barclay Brown, 17, (Hallamshire, Yorkshire)
Matthew Freeman, 17, (Notts, Nottinghamshire)
Harry Goddard, 18 (Hanbury Manor, Hertfordshire)
Conor Gough, 15 (Stoke Park, BB&O)
Josh Hill, 14, (Dubai)
Max Hopkins, 15, (Bishops Stortford, Hertfordshire)
Habebul Islam, 17, (Ipswich Suffolk)
Curtis Knipes, 17 (Abridge, Kent)
Joe Pagdin, 16, (Florida, USA)
Robin Williams, 16, (Peterborough Milton, Northamptonshire)
Full scores can be found here