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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Scotland beaten by Wales,
Ireland beat England

Despite very good wins by Michele Thomson and Kylie Walker in the top two singles, Scotland slumped to a 5 1/2-3 1/2 defeat at the hands of Wales on the first day of the women's home internationals at Wrexham.
Wales did not win a match last year but they caught the Scots cold in the morning foursomes, winning all three and leaving Lesley Nicholson's squad with a mountain to climb in the six afternoon singles.
Ireland golfers seem to be conquering the world these days - they dented England's hopes of winning the title four years in a row. Beaten 2-1 in the foursomes, the fighting Irish turned the tables in the singles for a 5 1/2- 3 1/2 victory.
Scotland could still win the title - by beating England and Ireland, starting with the English on Thursday - but the odds are long against that happening.
Scotland's hopes of a great fightback rose when their champion, Michele Thomson, beat Breanne Loucks by 2 and 1 in the battle of Curtis Cup team-mates and Kylie Walker beat Curtis Cup reserve Sahra Hassan 2 and 1.
But Stephanie Evans stopped the slide for Wales by beating youngster Megan Briggs 5 and 3 and Welsh girls champion Amy Boulden, making her debut in the Women's Home Internationals, secured the fifth and clinching overall victory point by beating Kelsey Macdonald by one hole.
Loucks won the first hole from Thomson before the next six holes were halved. Thomson won the eighth to square the match and the 10th and 13th to go two up, a clear lead which he held on to down the home straight.
Walker was two down in the early stages to Hassan but began her fightback by winning the sixth, then the seventh and ninth to be all square at the turn. Walker continued in the driving seat by winning the 12th and 14th to be two up.
Hassan won back the 15th but Walker went two ahead again by taking the 16th and a half at the 17th was enough for the Scot to win.
Boulden burst into her game with MacDonald by winning the 10th, 11th and 12th to leap from one down to two up. The Scot won the 15th and the 16th, with a birdie 3, to be all square but, after a half at the 17th, the Welsh girls title-holder won the 18th for a narrow victory after MacDonald missed from five feet.
Left-hander Evans won the third, seventh, ninth,11th and 12th - losing only the fourth hole - on her way to a four-hole lead over Briggs. The Welsh player won the 15th for a 5 and 3 win.
Louise Kenney, brought into Scotland's singles line-up after sitting out the singles, registered a 5 and 4 win over Rhian Wyn Thomas.
Kenney made the most of a flying start which saw her win the second, third and fifth to go three up. Every other hole was halved before Kenney went four up by taking the 13th.
Tara Davies and Laura Murray had a ding-dong match which the Welsh girl won by one hole. Murray was one up at the turn but lost the 12th and went one down at the 15th. The Scot squared matters again at the 16th but Davies edged again ahead by winning the 17th.
Murray grittily gained a half by coming out of a bunker to win the 18th.
WALES 5 1/2, SCOTLAND 3 1/2
Foursomes: Sahra Hassan & Rhian Whyn Thomas bt Kylie Walker & Kelsey MacDonald 6 and 5; Breanne Loucks & Amy Boulden bt Michele Thomson & Megan Briggs 2 and 1; Tara Davies & Stephanie Evans bt Pamela Pretswell & Laura Murray 6 and 4 (3-0)
Singles: Loucks lost to Thomson 2 and 1, Hassan lost to Walker 2 and 1, Boulden bt MacDonald 1 hole, Evans bt Briggs 5 and 3, Wyn Thomas lost to Louise Kenney 5 and 4, Davies halved with Murray (2 1/2-3 1/2).

ENGLAND 3 1/2, IRELAND 5 1/2
Foursomes: Elizabeth Bennett & Kerry Smith halved with Niamh Kitching & Danielle McVeigh; Naomi Edwards & Florentyna Park bt Gemma Hegarty & Gillian O'Leary 4 and 3; Hannah Barwood & Rachel Jennings halved with Karen Delaney & Tara Delaney (2-1).
Singles: Barwood lost to Tara Delaney 1 hole, Edwards lost to Kitching 4 and 3, Parker halved with McVeigh, Bennett lost to Aedin Murphy 5 and 3, Smith bt Karen Delaney 4 and 3, Jennings lost to Hegarty 5 and 3 (1 1/2-4 1/2).

Thursday's matches:
England v Scotland, Ireland v Wales.