England teenagers to take on Spain

Eight promising young players will represent England against Spain in the mixed U16 international at Woodhall Spa Golf Club, Lincolnshire, on the weekend of 25-26 May.

They are Rafiah Banday of Surrey, Libby Bell and Rachel Gourley of Northumberland, Patience Rhodes of Somerset, Joshua Berry of Yorkshire, Jack Bigham and Reis Suart of Hertfordshire and Dubai-based Josh Hill.

They are following in the footsteps of players such as Tommy Fleetwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and Melissa Reid, who all figured in the match back in their early amateur days.

The match started as a curtain raiser to the North of England U16 Championship, with England enjoying much success in the encounters at Pannal and Heswall.

It was expanded five years ago into a stand-alone two-day match and since then the Spanish have won four times: at Madrid in 2014, '16 and '18, as well as at Seacroft, Lincolnshire, in 2015. England won at Preston in 2017.

The team:

Rafiah Banday (Royal Mid-Surrey) also played in this match last year. She was joint runner-up in the 2018 English U16 Girls’ Championship and fourth in the North of England U16s.

Libby Bell (Gosforth Park Ladies) tied fifth in the recent R&A Girls’ U16 Amateur at Fulford and had good finishes in the Scottish and Irish Girls’ Championships.

Rachel Gourley (Arcot Hall) tied 11th in the Girls’ U16 Amateur. In 2018 she was runner up in the Scottish U14 championship and fourth in the English U14s.

Patience Rhodes (Burnham & Berrow) also shared 11th place in the Girls’ U16 Amateur. She was runner-up in the 2018 English U14 Girls’ Championship and is the new Somerset women’s champion.

Joshua Berry (Doncaster) was fourth in the recent French U14 Boys’ Championship – which he won last year – and third in the Cyprus Junior Open.

Jack Bigham (Redbourn) was eighth in the U18 Peter McEvoy Trophy at Copt Heath and tied 28th in last weekend’s Fairhaven Trophies.

Josh Hill (Dubai) helped England win the 2018 Boys’ Home Internationals and is playing for England this weekend in the boys’ international against France.

Reis Suart (Welwyn Garden City) was third in the Midlands U16 Championship and fifth in last year’s English U14 Reid Trophy.

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