MacLaren helps England to European glory

Meghan MacLaren
Meghan MacLaren

Wellingborough’s Meghan MacLaren helped England women’s team become European champions for the first time in 23 years.

They concluded a superb campaign by beating Spain 4-3 at Oddur Golf Club in Iceland to win the gold medal at European ladies’ team championship.

It’s their first victory since 1993 when, coincidentally, they also beat Spain to the title.

Since then they’ve had three silvers and, for the past three years, they’ve been involved in bronze medal play-offs but have left the championships empty handed on each occasion.

The winning point was scored by English champion Bronte Law, who won all five of her games in last month’s Curtis Cup match.

The team, coached by Steve Robinson of Yorkshire and captained by Anne Baines of Lancashire, was made up of Emma Allen (Meon Valley), Alice Hewson (Berkhamsted), Bronte Law (Bramhall), MacLaren (Wellingborough), Lizzie Prior (Burhill) and OIivia Winning (Rotherham).

The final was incredibly tight with six of the day’s seven matches going to the 18th hole.

Only Law and partner Allen won a game in comfortable fashion, claiming the team’s morning foursomes point 5&4. In the other foursomes MacLaren and Hewson finished one down.

In the singles, England quickly moved ahead in the early stages but were steadily pegged back by Spain.

It eventually fell to the team’s three Curtis Cup players to provide the necessary points for victory with MacLaren, Hewson and Law all finishing one up.

Allen and Winning, who was playing the world number three, were both beaten by the same narrow margin.

Robinson said: “The Curtis Cup girls have been immense with their performances but the other girls have been huge as well.

“They have dug in and fought for every single point.

“There has been a huge fighting spirit and never once did I see heads go down. We just all thought we could win.

“Spain played some great golf this afternoon but Meghan just ground it out, followed by Alice, who ground it out, and Bronte, who likes a starring role!”

He also paid tribute to Winning, Allen and to Prior, of whom Robinson said: “Didn’t play as much, but she was a massive support and I can’t thank her enough.

“Anne has been a great captain, very, very supportive and everyone at England Golf has gone above and beyond.

Rebecca Hembrough, England Golf’s Women’s Performance Manager said: “I could not be happier for Steve and the team. This title is a product of huge belief, long-term hard work and determination.”