R&A: Men’s Home Internationals

JUBILANT: Scotland captain Matt Clark

Scotland roar back in the singles to deliver famous victory over Auld Enemy

R&A: Thursday Sept 16th

FORMAT: four-country round-robin series ( 5 foursomes/10 singles per match)

Reigning Men’s Home International champions England face a major challenge to hold on to their crown after an inspired Scotland XI took them down at Hankley Common today for the first time in six years.

After comfortably dispatching Wales yesterday, the 2018 and 2019 champions – the event was not played last year – claimed the top three foursomes matches and eventually took the session 3-2.

But a remarkable turnaround in the fourth match out from Lewis Irvine (Kirkhill) and Stuart Easton (Irvine) sparked an even bigger reversal of fortunes overall.

The Scots won eight of the ten singles to secure a memorable 10-5 victory and keep alive their chances of winning the event for the first time since 2012.

England 5, Scotland 10 – Foursomes
• Jack Dyer (Boyce Hill) and Arron Edwards-Hill (Chelmsford) beat Rory Franssen (Aucterarder) and James Wilson (Balmore) 1 hole
• Sam Bairstow (Hallowes) and Haider Hussain (The Kendleshire) beat Andrew Ni (Murrayfield) and George Burns (Williamwood) 1 hole
• Olly Huggins (Frilford Heath) and John Gough (Stoke Park) beat Ruben Lindsay (Turnberry) and Darren Howie (Peebles) 5&4
• Zach Chegwidden (Orsett) and Laird Shepherd (Rye) lost to Lewis Irvine (Kirkhill) and Stuart Easton (Irivine) 3&1
• Jack Bigham (Harpenden) and Josh Hill (Trump Int) lost to Matt Clark (Kilmacolm) and Angus Carrick (Craigielaw) 2&1
Singles
• Dyer lost to J Wilson 3&2
• Bairstow lost to Franssen 3&1
• Hussain lost to Connor Wilson (Castle Park) 3&1
• Huggins lost to Irvine 2 holes
• Gough beat Carrick 2&1
• Callan Barrow (Royal Lytham) lost to Easton
• Edwards-Hill lost to Clark 2 holes
• Bigham beat Lindsay 4&3
• Chegwidden lost to Burns 2&1
• Shepherd lost to Ni 2&1

That was the year current Scottish captain Matt Clark (Kilmacolm) made his debut and he was full of praise for the way in which his team-mates delivered.

“We had 11 heroes and the players have done themselves and their families proud,” said Matt. “I am sure Scottish Golf is very pleased too and a special mention for Clare Queen, our performance director. She’s done a great job and this one’s a bit for her as well.

“The England side is full of talented players. They churn out these incredibly good golfers, who play to such a high standard, so beating them required something special and that’s exactly what we were able to deliver today.”

Clark once again led by example on a day when the birdies flowed. He bagged six of them as he beat Arron Edwards-Hill (Chelmsford) by two holes and in the morning partnered Scottish Amateur champion Angus Carrick (Craigielaw) to a 2&1 victory over England’s young guns – British Boys champion Jack Bigham (Harpenden) and the big-hitting Josh Hill (Trump Int).

However it was truly unfortgettable day for university student Irvine, who alongside Easton, was four down after eight holes to Zach Chegwidden (Orsett) and Laird Shepherd (Rye) before winning seven of the next nine holes to secure an astonishing 3&1 success.

Then after lunch the Kirkhill player was six under par for his round by the time he finally saw off Olly Huggins (Frilford Heath) on the 18th. His seventh birdie secured a 2-hole victory. 

Scotland won the top four singles with James Wilson (Balmore) seeing off Walker Cup star Jack Dyer (Boyce Hill) 3&2, Auchterader’s Rory Franssen beating Brabazon champion Sam Bairstow (Hallowes) 3&1 while Connor Wilson (Castle Park) birdied 16 and 17 to finish off Haider Hussain (The Kendleshire) by the same scoreline.

To retain the title, England must now beat undefeated Ireland and hope they have got sufficient individual victories to surpass tomorrow’s opponent and also (probably) Scotland, who finish off tomorrow against Wales.

Clark added: “Wales have got some good players. They are inexperienced but sometimes inexperience is bliss and we have got a big job to do tomorrow.

“Obviously it’s out of our hands but I am also certain Graham Walker and the rest of the English coaching team will be getting into the players and reminding them that a victory against Ireland gives them a fighting chance.”

Results – Day 2: England 5, Scotland 10, Wales 4, Ireland 11
Day 1: England 10.5, Wales 4.5; Scotland 6.5, Ireland 8.5