England’s hopes of gaining revenge for last year’s 11-4 defeat were dashed when Australia hung on for their second Ashes victory by 13-12 in a contest that went right down to the wire over The Open Course at Moonah Links in Victoria.
In a strengthening breeze and cooler temperatures than day one, England turned their overnight deficit into a convincing lead, taking 4.5 points from the first 5 matches on the course.
However, they were unable to find the other two points needed for victory from the five remaining matches and the winning putt from Dale Whitnell in the final match with Scott Arnold served only as a consolation.
Once again, the Australian women failed to record a singles victory as the English top order ripped through the opening exchanges. Only a final hole birdie from Aussie Steph Na against Liz Bennett prevented a clean sweep and in the end it was to prove the decisive match as once again the English men went down 4-2.
Daniel Willett (pictured) turned round a late deficit against Dan Beckmann to record his first point of the match and Whitnell dominated throughout against Arnold but the remaining players couldn’t find the half point needed to force a tie.
Chris Wood and Sam Hutsby fought bravely from almost certain losing positions but both narrowly failed to complete their comebacks and take their matches down the 18th hole.
England Team Manager Stephen Burnett said: “In the end it was the right overall result. The Australian men outperformed our players today and deserved their victory. Our women deserve great credit for their performances. They completely outplayed their opponents for the most part but unfortunately we fell just short in supporting them to cross the finishing line.”
Australian Team Manager Phil Wood said, “It was a great match played in the right spirit. The standard of golf from both teams was phenomenal and the players deserve enormous credit for putting on such a show.”
The next Ashes match is scheduled for Royal Birkdale in 2009.
Day 2 Results (English names first):
Florentyna Parker bt Julia Boland 6&4
Liz Bennett halved with Steph Na
Kerry Smith bt Kristie Smith 3&2
Rachel Jennings bt Clare Choi 6&5
Daniel Willett bt Dan Beckmann 1 hole
Steve Uzzell lost to Tim Stewart 5&3
Chris Wood lost to Rohan Blizard 3&1
Sam Hutsby lost to Matt Jager 2&1
Neil Chaudhuri lost to Matt Griffin 3&2
Dale Whitnell bt Scott Arnold 2&1