Northumberland girls shine in England defeat

Northumberland-based girls Rachel Gourley and Maggie Whitehead gained invaluable international experience as England’s U16s narrowly lost to Ireland at Hunstanton Golf Club.

Maggie, who plays out of Close House and Ramside Hall, represented England for the first time as Rachel (Arcot Hall) returned to the national squad as part of the mixed team of boys and girls for the two-day match.

In Saturday morning’s foursomes, Rachel teamed up with Lottie Woad to beat Corinna Griffin and Emma Fleming 3&2. In the afternoon singles, Rachel beat Anna Dawson 1up before halving her singles match on Sunday with Beth Coulter to earn 2.5 points from a possible three.

Meanwhile, Maggie, 13, picked up her first international point in her singles match on Sunday, beating Katie Poots 1up as the teams tied Sunday’s session to give Ireland a 16.5-13.5 victory following their victories in both Saturday sessions.

Maggie, a late addition to the squad, said: “It was amazing to get the call and get my first cap.

“I’d set my hopes on getting a call up next season, so to get the experience and be able to play with no time to build up any nerves was a nice way to do it. 

“Going in with no expectations really helped me enjoy it. Playing with that freedom definitely helped me win my match.

“Hopefully I can play some more matches next season and build more experience as an England player.”

On the boys’ side, Yorkshire’s Joshua Berry, 14, picked up a pair of singles victories over Joe Byrne and full Irish international Josh Hill.