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Friday, September 12, 2008


Title-race leaders Wales suffered a last-day setback in the foursomes at the Women's Home Internationals at Wrexham.
Reigning champions England took a 2 1/2-1/2 lead into the final set of singles which would decide if Wales could win the championship trophy for only the second time (1999 was the first).
An overall draw would be good enough for the Welsh title-bid. That meant they needed to gain four points from the singles.
Wales could still lose and be champions on a countback if they did not lose by too big a margin to England.
Calculators at the ready for the early evening finish!
England put the first point on the board when Naomi Edwards and Florentyna Parker won the third foursome by 4 and 3 against Tara Davies and Stephanie Evans.
Edwards and Parker were three up at the turn, having won the first, fifth, seventh and ninth. Wales won only the sixth on the outward journey.
After a string of halves from the turn, Edwards and Parker birdied the 15th for the match.
The result smashed Stephanie Evans' 100 per cent winning record through the first four sessions of play.
Sahra Hassan and Rhian Wyn Thomas salvaged a square game with England's Rachel Connor and Charlotte Ellis, making her first appearance of the tournament, by winning the 16th with a birdie 3 and the 18th with a par.
Earlier, the Welsh pair had started confidently by winning the second and fourth but Connor and Ellis stepped up a gear to win the sixth, eighth and ninth to be one up at the turn.
After Wales won the 11th with a birdie to square the match, England retaliated with a birdie of their own at the 13th and another birdie at the 15th put Connor and Ellis two up with four to play.
Then came the Hassan and Wyn Thomas's fighting finish to save half-a-point.
In the last Wales-England foursome to finish, Kerry Smith and Elizabeth Bennett increased England's lunchtime lead to two points with a one-hole win over Breanne Loucks and Amy Boulden.
Smith and Bennett were three up after eighth holes, having won the second and third and then the seventh and eighth after Loucks and Boulden had opened their account at the sixth.
The Welsh pair won the ninth to be two down at the turn and kept up their momentum by winning the 10th and 11th also to get back on level terems.
A birdie 2 at the short 14th put Smith and Bennett back into a one-hole lead and they maintained that with halves at the last four holes.