Singles slip up sees Scots lose to Wales

SCOTLAND'S amateurs suffered an early setback in their bid for the Home Internationals title as they went down to a narrow defeat against host nation Wales in the opening round of matches at Ashburnham yesterday.

Scott Knowles' team, who won the Raymond Trophy the last time the event was held on Welsh soil in 2006, lost 8-7 in a close encounter.

The Scots, who trounced Wales 12.5-2.5 in last year's championship at Hillside, had gained an early advantage as they shaded the morning foursomes 3-2.

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Michael Stewart, the new Scottish champion, and Ross Kellett teamed up in the top tie to beat Rhys Enoch and Walker Cup skipper Nigel Edwards 3&2 while the pairings of James Byrne and Allyn Dick, and James White and Brian Soutar also pitched in with wins to boost the tally.

Troon youngster Stewart beat Welsh champion Alastair Jones 2&1 in the opening singles tie before the hosts launched their fightback.

Banchory man Byrne, runner-up in June's Amateur championship, was beaten 3 and 1 by former Welsh Boys' champion Joe Vickery while Kris Nicol, Jordan Findlay, Philip McLean and Greg Paterson also suffered defeats as the Welsh claimed the afternoon session 6-4 to edge over the winning line.

In the day's other contest, title holders, and current European Team champions, England showed their strength as they powered to an 11-4 victory over Ireland to take charge of the round-robin event.

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