England sweep to victory in Senior Home Internationals
England have won the Senior Men’s Home Internationals for the seventh time, sweeping to victory with an unbeaten performance against Wales.
The team conceded just half a point in yesterday's title decider at Machynys Peninsula, defeating the hosts 8.5-0.5.
“We are absolutely delighted with the result, but it didn’t look that straightforward during the afternoon,” said team captain Roy Smethurst of Crewe, Cheshire (image copyright Leaderboard Photography).
“We needed to win two singles to win the match and after nine holes we were up in a couple and everything else was quite close. But it all came our way on the back nine, we gained the advantage around holes 10 to 12.”
He added: “Everyone has played really well and my biggest problem was deciding who to leave out each morning and afternoon.”
His team was Ian Crowther of Royal Lytham & St Annes, Lancashire; Stephen East of Moortown, Yorkshire; Richard Latham of Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire; Alan Mew of Stoneham, Hampshire; David Nelson of Northenden, Cheshire; David Niven of Newbury & Crookham of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire & Oxfordshire; and Mark Stones of Boyce Hill, Essex.
England have now won this championship seven times and four of those victories have been in Wales. “We’ve never lost in Wales,” said Smethurst, whose team follows those which won at Aberdovey in 2004; Tenby in 2008; and Southerndown in 2012.
England’s other victories were in the inaugural match in 2002 at Nairn Dunbar in Scotland; at Caldy, England, in 2007; and Royal County Down, Ireland, in 2013.
England opened the 2016 championship with a 7-2 win over European champions Scotland. “Since I’ve been captain this is the fourth time we have met Scotland and we have lost the last three times. The guys were absolutely brilliant this time and played really well,” said Smethurst.
The team followed up with a 6-3 win over the defending champions, Ireland. “We were very pleased to win that, but Wales had also won twice and that meant we couldn’t let up,” said Smethurst.
England held a points advantage going into today’s title decider and knew that a halved match would be good enough to win the championship. The team amassed 2.5 points from the three singles, with East and Latham conceding the half point to Nigel Evans and Nick Grimmitt.
But after that it was a clean sweep for the new champions. The pairings of Niven and Stones and of Crowther and Nelson won comfortably in the foursomes. In the singles East got the first point with his 5/4 win, while Niven secured the victory with his 2/1 win.
They were followed in by Mew (4/2), Stones (3/2) and by Latham and Nelson who both won 1up.
In the day’s other match Scotland beat Ireland 5.5-3.5 to take third place.
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