Wednesday, August 04, 2010

BOYS HOME INTERNATIONALS - Mixed fortunes for Scotland on first two days

(SGU news release)

Scotland suffered a 12-3 defeat in their opening match at the 2010 Boys Home Internationals at Southerness on Tuesday.

The Scots team were unable to turnaround a 4.5 – 0.5 morning deficit as the impressive Irish youngsters built on their morning lead taking the afternoon singles 7.5 – 2.5 to secure a comfortable victory.

Scott Gibson, playing with home advantage this week and 2009 Scottish Boys Strokeplay Champion Jack McDonald were sent out in the opening pairing to get the team off to a flying start but were instead victim to a narrow 2&1 defeat.

SGU Boys Order of Merit leader Simon Fairburn and recent Scottish Amateur quarter-finalist Liam Johnston also suffered a surprise loss, going down 3&1 to their Irish counterparts.

Scotland’s defeat was sealed as early as the fourth match of the afternoon singles with just three Scots picking up points across the matches. Scottish Boys Matchplay Champion Grant Forrest claimed a half point against Chris Selfridge and fifteen year-old Ewan Scott (St Andrews New) secured a debut victory, winning on the final green.

Kilmarnock (Barassie)'s Jack McDonald suffered his second successive 2 & 1 defeat of the day in his afternoon singles.

The shining light for Scotland was recent Scottish Boys Strokeplay runner-up Conor O’Neil who picked up 1.5 points including a 4&2 victory over Liam Harnett in the afternoon singles, this followed his halved morning foursomes match playing alongside King James VI’s Paul McPhee.

Team manager Spencer Henderson reflected on a disappointing defeat for his team:

‘It was an extremely disappointing team performance from the boys, we were simply outplayed by the Irish who thoroughly deserved their victory. We weren’t good enough today, the boys will need to pick themselves up and come out fighting against Wales tomorrow’

In Tuesday’s other match, defending champions England and Wales shared a dramatic 7.5 – 7.5 draw after a sensational afternoon comeback from the Welsh team.

On Wednesday Scotland’s Boys team responded from their opening day defeat to Ireland in emphatic style with a comprehensive 10-5 victory over Wales.

However it is Ireland that will go into their final match against Wales in pole position. They followed their opening day victory over the Scots with a 7.5 – 7.5 draw against England on day two. Despite this the Scots team will go into tomorrow’s final matches knowing that they still have a chance to get their hands on the trophy for the first time since 2007.

Spencer Henderson’s Scots got off to the perfect start this morning with some terrific foursomes displays from his team. Only Ian Redford and Jamie Lynch were defeated as the Scots marched into an early 4-1 lead.

Incredibly, the now established pair of Scott Gibson and Jack McDonald, playing in the fifth game of the match, overcame their Welsh opponents 9&7 thanks to a stunning display of foursomes golf.

Earlier, the pairs of Grant Forrest and Conor O’Neil, Liam Johnston and Paul McPhee and Daniel Hendry and Ewan Scott had secured three of the first three points available, with each completing comfortable 4&3 wins.

Clearly lifted from their morning display and with their opening defeat to Ireland well behind them the young Scots went on to win their singles matches 6-4 to seal victory.

Scott Gibson, enjoying home advantage this week was a convincing 4&3 victor with morning playing partner Kilmarnock Barassie’s Jack McDonald followed suit winning 2&1.

Further victories from Paul McPhee, Jamie Lynch and undefeated Conor O’Neil together with halved matches in the opening and closing singles matches featuring Scottish Boys Matchplay champion Grant Forrest and debutant Ewan Scott respectively confirmed an emphatic return to form for the Scottish team.

Team coach Spencer Henderson taking charge of the side for the final time this week was delighted with his team’s response after Tuesday’s heavy defeat:

‘The boys played great today, it was a really good response after yesterday’s defeat. Winning the foursomes was key and it set up a fantastic platform going into the afternoon singles. We’ve now got it all to play for against England tomorrow and the boys are well up for it’

The 2010 Boys Home Internationals winners will be decided tomorrow with Ireland in the hot seat, facing a Welsh team looking for their first victory of the round robin format. England, despite being undefeated following two draws will also be searching for their maiden victory of the event but will be up against a Scottish side high in confidence after today’s victory, and looking to ensure the host nation emerges victorious for the third consecutive year.

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