MARIA O’Brien inspired England to victory over the host country Wales last night on what was her international debut.
In the first of the ladies’ British International matches, played at the Penydarren Social Club, Merthyr Tydfil, England won 4-2 and it was O’Brien who had to lead the way after she was drawn on first.
She began well against Nikki Goldsmith and took the opening leg in 18, aided by a maximum 180, before doubling her advantage with a win in 19.
Goldsmith reduced the deficit when she secured the third leg 18, but O’Brien took the next in 18 for a 3-1 victory and she was later to claim the lady-of-the-match award after finishing with the highest average of 26.10.
MERITED: Maria O'Brien in action last night showing her International call up was merited after picking up the lady-of-the-match award with the top average of 26.10.
Tricia Wright (26.05) won after being pushed the full five legs to make it 2-2, only for Wales to draw level after there were English defeats for both Fallon Sherrock and Lorraine Winstanley.
Deta Hedman (25.46) edged England back in front with a 3-1 win before Trina Gulliver (20.89) made sure of the victory when claiming a 3-2 success.
There were mixed fortunes for England Boys as they played both their matches last night, winning one and losing one by a 3-1 margin.
Their first opponents were Scotland and England were let down by some poor finishing and crashed to an early defeat.
Brad Phillips (22.46) got the first point on the board when he won 3-2 but that was the last point that the English team were to win.
Keelan Kay came up against a good player in Nathan Girvan, a player who reached the final of the BDO World Youth Championship last year and took him the full distance.
The Plymouth marksman took the opening leg in 21 only for Girvan to level in 16.
The next two legs were also shared before the Scotsman put in an exceptional last leg to claim victory in 14 and a 27.84 average.
To give credit to the Plymouth Studio School pupil, he had the best average of all the England players with 22.59.
England Boys then had to meet Wales later in the evening and they put in a far better performance to claim a 3-1 success.
After Alex Gurr had lost the opening set, Jack Vincent (23.09) carved himself out a 3-2 win before Brad Phillips (20.72) claimed the next 3-1.
With England now winning 2-1, with one to play, Kay stepped up again and put in another solid performance to give England victory.
He went 2-0 up against Swansea’s Taylor Smoldon before the Welshman pulled one back.
In the fourth set, with Kay requiring 131, he hit treble 20, treble 13, before wiring double 16, for what would have been a great 131 finish, but made sure on his next visit to give England victory.
Once again Kay had the highest average of the England players and claimed the man-of-the-match award with a mark of 23.83.