Ladies Senior Home International
England Champions again but fighting Irish ran them close .England retained the title in the Senior Ladies’ Home Internationals on a very wet afternoon at Tramore Golf Club in Ireland. But what an exciting finish it was to the weather-hit three-day programme.
After England and Ireland had completed Day 2 wins this morning over Scotland and Wales respectively, it meant that the England v Ireland match between the only two teams with 100 per cent winning records would be the title decider.
It went right down to the wire before England prevailed 4-3 with the last putt on the last green in the last match to finish.
No matter that England’s big wins over Wales (8-0) and Scotland (7-1) meant that the defending champions had an overpowering advantage if the outcome had been a tie.
Ireland led overall at one stage of the afternoon but their stalwarts, Pat Doran and Helen Jones, were both held to square matches.
In the match to avoid the wooden spoon, Scotland avoided finishing last for the second year in a row by beating Wales 4 ½- 2 ½ , again in another exciting finish for the supporters of both camps.
England’s aces were Senior Ladies British champion Felicity Christine and last year’s winner of that prestigious title, Bev New, They both won five times out of five over the three days.
Next best overall were Pat Doran and Helen Jones for Ireland, both with 4 1/2pt out of a possible five.
In pouring rain, Sheena McElroy struck the first blow for Ireland in the singles-only finale to the championship.
She beat English senior champion Sue Dye by 4 and 3 after being one up at the turn and consolidating her position by taking the 10th and 11th. After Dye won back the 13th, McElroy finished off the match by winning the 14th and 15th.
England’s Felicity Christine levelled it at 1-1 by beating Suzanne Corcoran 3 and 1, thanks to a surge of winning holes - the 15th, 16th and 17th – after Corcoran had gamely squared the contest bvy winning the 11th and 13th.
England went 2-1 ahead when Bev New beat Pauline Walsh by 6 and 5, having won the first three holes and increasing that to a commanding six-hole advantage after only eight holes.
Ireland were fighting all the way, however. They made it 2-2 with a 5 and 3 win by Carol Wickham over Chris Quinn. Wickham was three up after eight, four up after 10 and five up after 12.
England edged ahead again 3-2 with a 4 and 3 win by Rozalyn Adams over Mairead MacNamara. Adams wenmt one up at the seventh and won the ninth to turn for home with a two-hole lead. MacNamara got it back to one by winning the 10th but Adams then regained the initiative by winning the 11th and 12th.
Although MacNamara won the 13th, the momentum was wih Adams and she took the 14th and 15th for the match.
With two matches to finish, there was still a chance that Ireland could win the title for the first time since the series began nine years ago. Pat Doran was all square with Janet Melville and Helen Jones was two up after a13 on Caroline Marron. If Doran could edge ahead to win and Jones maintained her position that would give Ireland the four points they needed to win the match and the championship.
But it was not to be. Pat Doran, who had been two up after 11, found herself one down when Melville won the 12th, 13th and 14th. But the Irish player did square the match by winning the 16th. The last two holes were halved, leaving England leading 3 ½-2 ½ and assured of retaining the title, even on a countback.
Helen Jones three up after 12 on Caroline Marron could not hold the English player at bay over the closing holes. Marron won the 13th, 16th and 18th, a terrific effort to get a square game against one of the best match-players of the week. That gave England the half-point they needed to win 4-3 and become champions for the seventh time in nine years … and Ireland still searching for their first.
Wales started well in the match for third place against Scotland. Christine Harries won by 5 and 4 against Heather Anderson in the lead-off singles, having been one up at the turn before adding to that with unanswered successes at the 10th, 12th, 13th and 14th.
But Lorna Bennett chalked up an outstanding win for Scotland by beating Welsh ace Vicki Thomas by the comprehensive margin of 6 and 5. Lorna was five up after seven holes and never allowed her opponent a chance to get back into the match.
Scotland went 2-1 ahead when Karen Ballantyne beat Karen Weatherley by 5 and 4 after winning three of the first four holes and still leading by two at the turn. Ballantyne quickened to win the 11th, 13th and 14th.
Scotland advanced to 3-1 with a one-hole victory by Mary Smith over Denise Richards who was twice two up on the outward half. Smith played the inward nine impeccably. She won the 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 17th and 18th
Wales got a second point on the board when Jane Rees beat Alex Glennie by 2 and 1 after winning four of the first six holes. Glennie had a good spell approaching the turn, winning the eighth, ninth and 10th but Rees pulled away again by winning the 11th and 13th.
Elaine Allison, Scotland’s most successful player of the week, got the clinching fourth point by beating Janet Doleman 3 and 2. Allison went two up at the 10th and added successes at the 13th and 16th for victory.
The last match to finish was halved between Wales’ Ann Lewis and Scotland’s May Hughes. Lewis had looked set for victory when she won the 11th and 12th to go three up but Hughes finished strongly to salvage half a point. She won the 13th, 14th and 16th to square the match and the last two holes were halved.
It’s an England versus Ireland title decider in this afternoon’s seven-singles finale to the 9th Senior Ladies' Home Internationals at Tramore Golf Club, Ireland. Both teams have won twice this week.
On another foggy morning - heavy rain started at 11am - defending champions England, who beat Wales 8-0 on Day 1, completed a 7-1 victory over Scotland this morning after sea mist forced a suspension of play yesterday afternoon.
Ireland, who has never won the over-50s team championship, followed up their 5-3 win over Ireland by completing a 5-3 win over Wales this morning.
Senior Ladies’ British champion Felicity Christine, playing No 1 for England in the singles, beat Scotland’s Heather Anderson by 5 and 4. When the match resumed at the 13th, Christine was four up, having been six up at the turn.
Anderson, who had scored her first success of the match at the 12th, also won the 13th to cut her deficit to four but the English player won the 14th to finish the match.
England went into a 5-0 lead overall when Caroline Marron beat Mary Smith by one hole. Marron was two up when play resumed this morning at the 14th.
Smith won the 14th to be only one down but Marron regained a two-hole lead by taking the 16th. The Scot was not finished yet, however. She won the 17th to be one down with one to play. The last hole was halved.
Last year’s Senior Ladies British champion at West Kilbride, Bev New made it 6-0 for England when she beat Karen Ballantyne 3 and 2. This match resumed at the 13th with New three up. The 11th and 12th had been halved and the sequence was continued this morning with the 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th being halved, leaving New the winner by 3 and 2.
Janet Melville, former Ladies British open amateur champion, made it 7-0 for England with a hard-fought, one-hole win over Lorna Bennett. This match resumed all square at the 12th, the 10th and 11th holes being halved before the suspension of play.
The 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th were halved this morning before Melville ended the stalemate by winning the 17th to be one up with one to play. A half was all she needed at the 18th – and she got it.
Scotland’s Elaine Allison prevented England scoring an 8-0 win for the second day in a row. When her match against Rozalyn Adams resumed at the 13th, the Scot was two up and she promptly went three up by winning the 13th.
Adams got it back to two down by winning the 16th but she had run out of holes and a half at the 17th ended the match in Allison’s favourite by 2 and 1.
Ireland’s Sheena McElroy set the ball rolling for the host country by beating Wales’ Christine Harries 5-3 to increase the Irish 2-1 lead from the foursomes to 3-1.
McElroy and Harries resumed at the 11th with McElroy three up. Three halved holes in a row were a prelude to McElroy winning the 14th and 15th for the match.
Vicki Thomas scored a second point for Wales when she beat Pauline Walsh by one hole. All square when the match resumed at the 11th, Walsh went one up at that hole but Thomas pulled her back to level by winning the 12th.
Five halved holes in a row set the scene for a nail-biting last hole which was won by Thomas for the match.
Pat Doran, runner-up in the Senior British Ladies championship for the past two years and one of Ireland’s mainstays, made it 4-2 overall when she beat Ann Lewis 2 and 1. Doran was two up when the match resumed at the ninth and she tightened her grip on the outcome by winning the 11th and 12th for a four-hole lead.
Lewis came with a late run to win the 15th and 16th but the 17th was halved, leaving Doran the winner by 2 and 1.
Jane Rees secured a third point for Wales by beating Carol Wickham by one hole. Rees was one up when the match resumed at the 10th and she doubled that lead by taking the 12th.
Wickham, who had been three down after three holes of this match, won the 14th to get her position back to one down by winning the 14th but Rees held her at bay by winning the 16th to be two up with two to play.
Wickham kept her hopes alive of at least halving the match by winning the 17th to be one down on the 18th tee but a half at the last clinched a one-hole Rees win.
In the last match to finish of the extended singles session. Helen Jones, another of Ireland’s stalwarts, beat Denise Richards by two holes to make it Ireland 5, Wales 3 at the finish.
Jones was two up when the match resumed at the ninth which the Irish player won and she also took the 11th to go four up. Richards mounted a charge over the closing holes by winning the 12th, 15th and 17th to be only one down with one to play. But Jones won the last for a two-hole victory.
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