East tastes defeat for first time as England are pipped to Home Internationals title

Moortown's Stephen East (Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire).
Moortown's Stephen East (Picture: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire).
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MOORTOWN’S Stephen East was unable to make it three wins in as many matches as England men’s seniors team missed out on Home Internationals glory at Crowborough Beacon, in Sussex.

Yorkshire’s seniors champion East lost his singles yesterday as England went down 5.5-4.5 to Scotland.

Scotland retained the men's seniors Home Internationals title (Picture: Leaderboard Photography).

Scotland retained the men's seniors Home Internationals title (Picture: Leaderboard Photography).

It left both teams level with Ireland on two wins and a defeat – Wales having lost all their matches – but Scotland retain the trophy as they were holders going into the event.

“It was quite a surprise,” said Scotland’s playing captain David Gardner. “We didn’t think we would win the tournament because we thought it was decided on ‘goal’ difference. But it turned out that the holders retain.”

The team’s main aim on the last day was simply to beat England. “That was the big driving force. We played a few weeks ago and won and they would have wanted to get their revenge – they’ll have to wait until next year,” added Gardner.

His team were defeated in the morning foursomes 2-1 and quickly lost the top singles to English senior champion Ian Attoe and another point to David Niven.

But Gardner led a determined charge by the Scots. He defeated East – last year’s English senior champion – and more points were added by Graham Bell, Ian Brotherston and, crucially, Lindsay Blair.

The latter was all square with European senior champion Clive Jones as the pair played the 18th, but Blair managed to win the hole and his game.

Nottinghamshire are the English women’s county champions, winning the title for the first time – with a match in hand.

They triumphed after winning their fourth match of the week at County Finals as Buckinghamshire did them the favour of defeating challengers Lancashire.

The team spent anxious moments in front of the scoreboard checking and rechecking points before erupting into cheers. Their captain Kathryn Horberry beamed broadly as she said: “It’s absolutely fantastic.”

This is Nottinghamshire’s first appearance at County Finals since 2000 when Horberry, an eight times county champion, was in the team. Her players have invited her to tee it up in Friday’s final match against Essex, but she has declined.

“I don’t want headlines saying ‘County captain loses 8&7,” she laughed.