ENGLAND have won both the R&A Women’s and Girls’ Home Internationals after the rain-affected final day of the round-robin competitions at Dundee’s Downfield GC.
England and Ireland came into the final day having beaten both Scotland and Wales over the first two days of competition – resulting in a title shoot-out between the two countries in both events.
And after the Boys’ win for a fourth year running at Ashburnham 24 hours earlier, it meant England Golf had pulled off a rare treble – the men’s event to come at Lahinch in September, after Great Britain & Ireland face the USA at Royal Liverpool’s Hoylake links.
With the weather causing havoc north of the border, it was a long and frustrating final day but it was England that ended it in celebratory mood edging the Irish out 3½ -2½ in the women’s event, while the junior side made it three title wins in a row on a countback after a 3-3 draw in the girls’ decider.
With the dreadful forecast threatening to wipe out the whole day’s play, a decision was made to send the afternoon singles matches out first and then hopefully follow on with the foursomes.
Six hours of play were eventually washed out and the outcome of the final round of matches was decided on the results in the singles.
In the women’s event, England took control by winning the top three matches through Cheshire’s Isobel Wardle, Essex’s Lily May Humphreys and Cornwall’s Women’s Amateur Champion Emily Toy.
The doughty Irish hit back with wins from Jessica Ross and Lauren Walsh against Cromer’s Amelia Williamson, and Somerset’s Mimi Rhodes, respectively.
That meant the clash was all set for a last-match decider between Hertfordshire’s Green’s Ellen Hume and Ireland’s Paula Grant.
Mill Green’s Hume – the English Women’s Amateur Champion – was one-up with two holes to play but Grant kept the match alive with a great birdie at the 17th and the pair went down the 18th.
A half in pars was good enough for an English victory.
England Women’s captain Helen Hewitt said: “It was a terrific all-round effort and it was a good end to a long day. The team was fantastic and we are delighted with the win.”
The girls’ contest was a real thriller with four of the six matches going to the 18th hole and England taking the title thanks to a superior points total in individual matches – 17½-15½.
It was desperately disappointing for the Irish girls and captain Helen Jones. Last year at Ballybunion, the side also drew with England but eventually finished third overall.
In the third and fourth play-offs, Scotland, the defending champions, beat Wales 4½-1½ to finish third. Wales gained revenge in the girls’ event with a 5-1 scoreline.
A delighted England Girls’ captain Janet Melville said: “Every time play was suspended we were just ahead but all of a sudden things changed.
“Izzy Simpson was the stand out player. She was three down with five to play but won the 14th with a birdie and went on to win at the 18th.
“She told me before she went out after the rain that she was going to win her point.”