England take home the team, women's and men's titles at The R&A Home Internationals in Llanelli, Wales
England won The R&A Women’s and Men’s Home Internationals at Machynys Peninsula Golf Club and Spa in Llanelli, Wales for the second time.
England’s best amateurs didn’t just retain the trophy inaugurated last year, the 16-player team, seven women and nine men, swept the table.
The women won the International Shield as Women’s Home Internationals champions, while the men lifted the Raymond Trophy for the 48th time since the inaugural 1932 competition. Both competitions ran in conjunction with the main event.
In a rerun of last year’s final day at Ballyliffin, England once again defeated Ireland in the title decider, beating the team from the Emerald Isle 12½-8½ on a sun-kissed day on the Machynys Peninsula.
Scotland defeated Wales 11-10 to finish third with one point. The home team ended up with zero points after losing all three matches.
“What a day,” said a relieved England captain Gareth Jenkins. “That was truly fantastic. To sweep all three [matches] is an amazing achievement. Three of the women’s games went down the last and we got something out of all three to get over the line. We had great team spirit and to finish ahead of an excellent Irish team is very rewarding.
“The women have played great all week. It was close today but we expected that and they just managed to pip Ireland in the women’s competition.
“The men bounced back brilliantly from losing to Wales yesterday because they were gutted. But they’re a great bunch of lads. We had a good chat last night and they came out fighting, which was really pleasing.
“But the key to victory was the big turnaround this morning in the foursomes.”
No international team match is decided by any one shot, but the stroke Charlie Crockett played on the final hole in the final foursomes match alongside James Claridge gave England that all important boost heading into the singles.
All square against Colm Campbell and Robert Moran, Crockett hit a 205-yard, 7-iron to 18 inches for a conceded eagle and a one hole win. It gave his side a 5-2 advantage heading into the all-important singles, which they won 7½-6½.
“That’s one of the finest shots I’ve ever seen,” said Jenkins. “The foursomes were important from a men’s perspective, and it really helped from a team perspective because it made it easier for us in the afternoon. That gave us a nice cushion.”
It also proved key to the men’s victory. England and Ireland topped the men’s table with two points apiece, with England taking the Raymond Trophy with half a game point more than the Irish, 20½-20.
Jack Bigham, Zachary Chegwidden, James Claridge, Crockett, Aaron Edwards-Hill, Dylan Shaw-Radford and Tyler Weaver all chipped in four points apiece for England.
Wales and Scotland earned a point each, with Wales taking third by 16-15½ game points.
The English women topped their points table by one over Ireland with three wins from three matches, but only by edging Ireland 5-4 on the final day. Wales finished third with one point, while Scotland were last.
Patience Rhodes had a perfect three days as she won all five matches played, including all three foursomes matches with sister Euphemie.
“It got really tight this afternoon,” England women’s manager Rebecca Hembrough said. “We got off to a strong start in the singles, and it got tighter and tighter. It was always going to be a battle against Ireland, but I’m just so pleased we got it over the line. We just missed out last year against the Irish on game points, so it was nice to win this year.
“The Rhodes sisters were fantastic with three out of three in foursomes, and Patience had a perfect week. But we got great performances throughout the team. We had a couple of younger players that came up from the junior squad. Everybody contributed to a massive team effort.”
The women's England team was Rosie Belsham, Sophia Fullbrook, Jessica Hall, Isla McDonald-O'Brien, Euphemie Rhodes, Patience Rhodes and Lottie Woad.
Scotland’s Lorna McClymont contributed five points over the three days. The University of Stirling student lost just once.
Next year’s match takes place at Murcar Links, where England will try to retain all three trophies.
Find out more about The R&A Women's and Men's Home Internationals here.
England also took home all the trophies at The R&A Girls' and Boys' Home Internationals - find out more.