The England Senior Men’s team have been crowned European champions after a thrilling win over France in the final held at Marianske Lasne in the Czech Republic.
England finished in third during the stroke play stages before the match play part of the competition, where they defeated Sweden in the quarter-finals, Ireland in the semi-finals and France in the final to lift the trophy.
The winning team comprised Ian Ashenden, Richard Jones, Stephen Creed, Ed Richardson, Adrian Firman and Trevor Foster.
Andrew Atkinson, England Senior men’s captain, said: “From pillar to post the guys have all just played amazing golf this week. It was a fantastic week where everything just fitted into place. We were up till 2am Saturday night so it was very quiet on the bus on Sunday!”
Sunday’s final day wasn’t without its drama. England were 4-1 up over France after six holes, but the game swung the other way quickly. Ian Ashenden and Richard Jones managed to win one-up after the French went into the trees and couldn’t get up-and-down, while Trevor Foster romped home 6&5 against Jean-Charles Gouvernaire, as he was six-under for his round.
However, Adrian Firman lost 2&1 in a tremendous match with Christophe Muniesa, and Ed Richardson was defeated 4&3 by Albert Galloy. That left Stephen Creed needing to win the final match against Jean-Jacques Wolff, despite falling ill during the contest.
Atkinson explained: “I got a call on the 12th from Stephen’s caddy saying he had double vision, stomach cramps and a headache, so we asked the referee for a 15-minute timeout and got a pair of sunglasses and some sugary drinks into him. He went out and lost on 12 and missed a short putt on 15 to win. The match went down 18 and the French’s approach hit a tree and ricocheted onto the green, just 15 feet from the hole!”
However, Stephen managed to sink a 38-footer for birdie and Wolff missed his putt, as the win secured a 3-2 victory for England – the same score line for all their team results at the event.
Atkinson added: “Without our wives and caddies we wouldn’t have got past the first round. They make such a difference. The support these guys get is incredible – Trevor’s wife Debbie has been caddying for him for 44 years, and Adrian wouldn’t have played without his wife and caddy Katy! We were the envy of the rest of Europe through our team spirit and camaraderie and I’m so proud of the whole team.”