England are crowned Boys’ Home International champions

Boys Home Int 2016

England were crowned the 2016 Boys’ Home International champions after a strong final day performance to defeat the holders Scotland 9-6 in the deciding match at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Donegal. 

The win means Derek Hughes’ side regained the trophy they narrowly lost to the same opponents 12 months ago in Wales. “Everyone played their part this week and that’s very satisfying,” said the team captain.

“It was a hard fought win, as it always is against Scotland. We always seem to have a good tight match and winning the foursomes 4-1 proved decisive.”

England has now won the under-18 team event 15 times in the last 20 years.

The foundations of England’s victory were laid in the morning foursomes when they took a 4-1 lead into lunch. In the top match Matty Lamb and Oliver Clarke set the tone with their 6&5 win over Jamie Stewart and Scottish Boys’ champion Eric McIntosh.

Although Scotland’s Ben Ferguson and Rory Franssen responded quickly with a 3&2 win against Charlie Strickland and John Gough, England claimed the final three foursomes with wins from Toby Briggs and Dan O’Loughlin; Alex Fitzpatrick and Callum Farr; and Michael Gilbert and Harry Goddard.

As the sun made its first appearance of the week, it meant Scotland required something special in the singles. All afternoon the scoreboard suggested the 2015 champions had an outside chance of overturning the foursomes deficit but it proved to be a bridge too far.  

Strickland put in another leading performance in the top match to deny Stewart 4&2. Ferguson then demonstrated Scotland’s battling qualities in the second match. After being two down with eight to play he took Lamb to the 18th and won the final hole to secure a halved match.

McIntosh defeated Gough 3&2 but Clarke responded for England with a narrow one-hole win over Franssen. Darren Howie then replied for Scotland with his one-hole win against Goddard, this year’s SE Group Junior Champion, illustrating the ebb and flow nature of the afternoon.

Hughes’ side edged closer to the magic number when Briggs won 3&1 against Marc Watts, winner of this year’s Paul Lawrie Junior event.

England secured the winning point when Farr was dormie two up on Sam Locke playing the 17th and halved the hole in par to win his match 2&1 and let the celebrations begin.

In the lower order, English Boys’ Open Amateur Stroke Play champion Angus Flanagan halved with Graeme Greer, while Michael Lawrie, son of the 1999 Champion Golfer of the Year Paul, defeated Fitzpatrick, brother of European Tour player Matt, by one hole.

Matthew McCulloch added a point for Scotland with his 5&3 win over O’Laughlin in the bottom match as the singles ended 5-5.  

Scotland captain Scott Knowles said: “It was a tough afternoon, the boys really battled hard. Unfortunately we left ourselves too much to do after losing the foursomes 4-1. With nine holes to go we still had a chance, our boys threw everything at them but they held us off and congratulations to England.”

In the day’s other match the hosts Ireland finished on a high by winning their singles matches 9-1 against Wales to turn the 3-2 foursomes deficit into an 11-4 win.

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Next year England will defend their Boys Home Internationals title on home soil at St Annes Old Links in Lancashire.

England team: Toby Briggs (Dunston Hall), Oliver Clarke (Hillside), Callum Farr (Priors Hall), Alex Fitzpatrick (Hallamshire), Angus Flanagan (St George’s Hill), Michael Gilbert (Chelmsford),  Harry Goddard (Hanbury Manor), John Gough (Stoke Park), Matty Lamb (Hexham), Dan O’Loughlin (Ruddington Grange), Charlie Strickland (Ham Manor).

Caption: The winning England team at the 2016 Boys Home Internationals. (Image: The R&A)


3 August 2016

England to play Scotland in title decider

England will play defending champions Scotland in a title decider in tomorrow's final day match of the Boys’  Home Internationals at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Donegal.

Today, England beat Wales 10-5 while Scotland played hosts Ireland and came through with a 9-6 victory overall. It means both teams have 100 per cent records and the chance of overall victory, after Wales and Ireland both lost twice.

For the second day, winds reaching 45 miles per hour and gusting, plus heavy downpours made playing conditions extremely difficult on the exposed Glashedy Links. However, the teams stuck to their task and despite the weather making club selection tricky and putting greens challenging, there was plenty of fine play.

Derek Hughes’ England side, who have won this event on 14 occasions in the last 20 years, will be aiming to put last year’s defeat behind them.

“I’m just hoping it’s a different result,” said Hughes. “I know the boys will give 110 per cent and I know it will be a good, it always is against Scotland.

“The old rivalries come out, that’s what this is all about, but when it’s over everyone is friends again.”

England’s continued undefeated passage was relatively smooth after coming through the foursomes 3.5-1.5 before sealing victory against Wales by winning the singles 6.5-3.5.

Hughes was pleased with his top two players putting early points on the board. Charlie Strickland was rested for the foursomes but came out strong to deny Jacob Davies 4&3 in the top match, while Matty Lamb (pictured © Leaderboard Photography) defeated Rowan Warren 5&3.

Wales’ Laurence Vargas, who was also rested for the foursomes, and enjoyed a 4&3 victory over Oliver Clarke, who was left to rue a couple of bad decisions in difficult conditions.

There were also big wins for Callum Farr (6&5) and Carris Trophy winner Angus Flanagan (7&6) who enjoyed respective victories against Harry Frazer and Luke Harries.

Undefeated John Gough halved his match against Wales’ Tomos Jones, securing the win for England, before Toby Briggs and Daniel O’Loughlin added further points.

“I’m pleased how the boys battled and we got a good result in the end. It was a very good team performance,” added Hughes.

Scotland won both the sessions against Ireland and one of their leading players, Jamie Stewart from Old Ranfurly, remains the only player to have played all four matches and retain a 100 per cent record.

The final day gets underway from 8am with hosts Ireland against Wales before Scotland and England contest the deciding match.

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2 August 2016

England roar back in Boys' Home Internationals

England roared back into the reckoning the Boys’ Home Internationals when they overturned a 3-2 deficit from the morning foursomes to defeat hosts Ireland 10-5 at Ballyliffin Golf Club in Donegal.

England captain Derek Hughes couldn’t have asked for more from his side as they won the afternoon singles 8-2 against Ireland after threatening a whitewash at one stage.

“We just had a chat with the boys at lunch about going out to play their best – and they did. What we impressed on them was to start positive and keep it that way. We felt they got a little bit careful in the foursomes,” said Hughes.

The first day’s play featured persistent winds blew in from the Atlantic along with sporadic, heavy downpours as scoring well became a challenge on one of the most northerly courses in Ireland.

Hughes added:  “What a golf course. As a golfer you have to enjoy this. Ok, you get the weather sometimes, but it’s a proper test of links golf.”

England's foursomes points were scored by the pairings of Matty Lamb (Hexham) and Oliver Clarke (Hillside) and by Charlie Strickland (Ham Manor) and Harry Goddard (Hanbury Manor).

In the singles, Strickland coped well with the condition and led the way by defeating Ireland’s number one Thomas Mulligan 1up, helped by winning three holes in a row mid-round.

He was followed by wins from Clarke, Goddard, John Gough (Stoke Park), Toby Briggs (Dunston Hall), Callum Farr (Priors Hall), Angus Flanagan (St George’s Hill) and Dan O’Loughlin (Ruddington Grange).

Meanwhile, Scotland began the defence of their title with a 10½-4½ win against Wales.

Scotland will now take on hosts Ireland, while England will meet Wales on day two at Ballyliffin.

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