England make a splash to win Costa Ballena crown

England’s resilient men’s squad splashed their way to success at a rain-soaked Costa Ballena with a dramatic and deserved 5-4 win against Ireland.

Despite miserable conditions, the England squad were able to ward off the elements as well as a battling Irish side to claim victory in the Costa Ballena Octangular International Challenge for the sixth time in the tournament’s 19-year history.

Wins against Germany, Italy and Holland in the group stages teed up today’s final against a strong Irish team.

An England side comprising Warwickshire duo Sam Broadhurst and Max Martin, Gloucestershire’s Joe Harvey, Cheshire’s Jack Brooks, Yorkshire’s Sam Bairstow and Arron Edwards-Hill from Essex then finished the job in a dramatic finale against the team from the Emerald Isle.

A 2-1 win in the morning foursomes meant that a share of the spoils in the six afternoon singles would be good enough for an overall England win.

Broadhurst secured the first point before Brooks added a second – leaving the way for Edwards-Hill to spark wild scenes with the decisive win in fading light after monsoon weather hit the Spanish resort.

Team manager Paul Ashwell heaped praise on his squad for a remarkable week’s golf.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the lads,” said Ashwell.

“I’m actually quite emotional thinking about how much the team has fought for this moment all week.

“To win all four of our games is remarkable and the guts the team showed in quite brutal weather conditions against Ireland sums these boys up.”

Before the worst of the rains, a solid foundation for the win was laid in the Friday foursomes.

Edwards-Hill and Harvey notched a point while Bairstow and Martin ensured that England held a narrow lunchtime lead.

But as the storm clouds gathered and the greens and fairways flooded, Ireland battled back and the match result hung in the balance.

Ashwell added: “Ireland were a strong side, but every single member of our squad made a telling contribution at times in the week and that’s what makes this moment so sweet for them all.

“They bonded like a team and played like a team and it’s a fantastic result.”

England started the week in fine fashion with a 5-4 win against Germany.

Harvey and Edwards-Hill secured a point in the morning foursomes as did Martin and Bairstow.

The afternoon singles were halved 3-3 to give England the overall team victory.

Brooks and Edwards-Hill both picked up vital half points while Broadhurst and Bairstow won got England over the line.

A repeat of the 5-4 winning margin against Italy on day two put the squad in a strong position.

The combinations of Harvey and Edwards-Hill and Martin and Bairstow once again came up trumps in the morning foursomes to give England a 2-1 lunchtime lead.

Afternoon singles wins for Broadhurst, Edwards-Hill and Bairstow edged England over the line and heading into day three against the Netherlands in fine spirits.

Heavy overnight rain meant that Thursday’s play was reduced to six singles matches.

However, the squad coped well with the soggy conditions to make it three wins out of three thanks to a 3.5-2.5 winning margin.

Broadhurst, Edwards-Hill and Bairstow all chipped in with a full point while another half from Brooks took England on to a final day of drama against Ireland.

England’s victory follows on from previous triumphs in this event in 2001, 2005, 2006, 2014 and 2016.

news source: England Golf