Ireland face Scots as they bid to retain the Raymond Trophy

Victory over Wales sets up winner-take-all battle

Ireland face Scotland at Royal Portrush on Friday in a winner-takes-all battle as they bid to retain their Amateur Home International title for the Raymond Trophy.

Ireland rekindled their hopes of securing back to back successes when they overcame spirited -Wales 9½-5½ – and then an amazing twist in fortunes at the end of the day put the Scots just ahead in the table.

After a disappointing tie with England on Wednesday the champions needed a comprehensive triumph in their second match to get their defence back on track and that is exactly what happened.

For most of an enthralling afternoon it looked as though England would pip Scotland but Craig Howie and Conor Syme turned around their games and both won to make it 8-7 to the Scots who had thrashed Wales on the opening day.


Wooden spoon

Now the Scots have two points, Ireland 1½ and England just ½ with Wales facing the prospect of the wooden spoon.

Ireland had to pull out all the stops to go in at lunch with a 3.5-1.5 advantage over Wales. Rowan Lester and Robin Dawson fought back from a deficit to halve with Tom Williams and Jack Davidson.

Only Irish losers were Walker Cup player Gavin Moynihan and Jack Hume who went down 2&1 to Tim Harry and Welsh champion David Boote.

Then in the afternoon Ireland were always in charge with Hume and Moynihan leading the way from the top two spots, both finishing their games on the 17th green.

Lester,last year's British Boys Championship runner-up trounced Richard James by 4&3 and then Colm Campbell and Paul McBride gained the vital points that gave Ireland the all-important win. Debutant McBride trounced Zach Galliford 7&5.

European champions Scotland have secured more individual points than the other countries, 19.5, and they only need to share the spoils with Ireland to become champions.

During the week Irish captain Tony Goode has enlisted the services of former amateur champion Garth McGimpsey to talk to the players and he said “Now we have a chance to retain the title after a good second day.”