England Eagles (Women) and Scotland Thistles (Men) clinched the British Isles International Series Gold Medals in Ayr, Scotland today.
The day kicked off with the final session of the Series before the medal matches began, with England Eagles taking on Jersey in Session Eight. Despite a solid effort over the weekend, the Men’s England Eagles lost out on a place in the finals, leaving the Women’s teams and the Men’s England Lions with the feat of bringing home a medal.
It was guaranteed medals for the England Women, who both topped the tables in their respective Sections, as the Eagles (33 points overall) and the Lions (22 points overall) went head-to-head in the Gold Medal match. All niceties were left behind as they took to the green, with both teams gunning for Gold however, the match ended 4 out of 4 for the Eagles, who won all four formats 21-9 (Singles), 16-15 (Pairs), 23-7 (Triples) and 15-4 (Fours), respectively. They finished the match 10 points to nil and 75 shots to the Lions 35.
Women’s Manager, Sandy Hazell, reflected on the all-England Women’s final;
“It’s amazing! It’s what we hoped might happen, it’s what we wanted to happen and here we are playing for Gold and Silver. It’s exactly how we planned it to be and why we picked the teams as we did to balance them, giving us confidence that they would win their groups to get us to an all-England Women’s Final.
Every single person in the Squad has played their part. We’ve made some changes throughout the series which were not always easy to make, but we did it for what we felt were the best reasons and we made it to the final, so the decisions at the time were the right ones to make. The victories go beyond those who were on the green in the final as it was the entire cohort that got them to the position of a guaranteed medal.”
It was a nerve-wracking Bronze Medal Match for the Men’s England Lions, as they faced a strong Scotland Saltire team. Despite coming down to the wire, it was the England Lions who were victorious, securing a 6-4 win on points.
The Pairs (7-23) suffered a loss, whilst the Fours (17-15) and the Triples (17-14) secured vital wins. The last match on the green was the Men’s Singles, where it was all down to Ed Morris. Sitting 17-20 down, Ed showed great composure to pull it back to 19-20, and went on to hold 2 in the final end of the match to see him, and his teammates, to the podium.
The victory completed a full set for England who make the journey home with a gold, silver and bronze medal in the 2023 British Isles International Series.
Performance Manager, Mo Monkton, said of the achievement;
“I am extremely proud of this entire Squad, who, over the entire event handled themselves with dignity and pride and every single player can hold their heads up high. It was a great effort from our newly capped internationals, who performed tremendously well on the main stage. The conditions each day were incredibly challenging, but the team dug deep and continually put out great performances in the torrential rain and heavy winds.
The talent on display shows that we are in a very good place whereby we have more experienced players who are still at the top of their game, alongside up and coming players who can challenge for the top. Whilst this makes selection for future tournaments rather challenging, it shows that our sport is continuing to grow. I am excited to see what our team does in the World Championships following this sterling performance.”
Women’s England Eagles
Vicky Bayliss, Emma Cooper, Stephanie Crates, Annie Dunham, Katherine Hawes-Watts, Ruby Hill, Laura Holden, Kirsty Richards, Nicole Rogers, Harriet Stevens, Rebecca Wigfield
Women’s England Lions
Stef Branfield, Michelle Coleman, Paige Dennis, Emily Ferguson, Wendy King, Lorraine Kuhler, Jamie Lea-Marshall, Morgan Merryweather, Rebecca Moorbey, Amy Pharaoh, Sophie Tolchard
Men’s England Eagles
Lee Calver, Joe Dawson, Kevin Harrison, Lee Haywood, James Hampton, Stuart Irwin, Perry Martin, Tom McGuinness, Tristan Morton, Charlie Souter, Andy Walters
Men’s England Lions
Lewis Baker, Nick Brett, Harry Goodwin, Steve Mitchinson, Ed Morris, Mark Read, Louis Ridout, Ben Pauley, Jamie Walker, Wayne Willgress, Chris Yeomans
England International players will be hoping to make it to this year’s Aviva National Finals at the prestigious Victoria Park, Royal Leamington Spa. Tickets are available from £4 for adults and from £1 for Under 18s – get yours now.