Lora in command as women bite back

England's Lora Fairclough was in inspirational form as the Ladies' European Team drew level with the Senior Men after edging the fourballs 3-2 in the European Cup at Praia D'El Rey in Portugal today.

England's Lora Fairclough was in inspirational form as the Ladies' European Team drew level with the Senior Men after edging the fourballs 3-2 in the European Cup at Praia D'El Rey in Portugal today.

But it could have been so much better for the women, who are seeking a first win in three attempts. In two matches, the men won the final hole to snatch a half and leave the score 5-5 going into tomorrow's final 10 singles.

Fairclough, who had a fine Solheim Cup record, and Sweden's Maria Hjorth had the biggest win of the day, beating wily veteran Neil Coles and Ross Metherell by 4 and 3. The Chorley player who birdied three holes out of five from the 11th to close out the contest.

Surprisingly, it was Laura Davies and Trish Johnson who suffered the only women's defeat although it came by one hole in a match of the highest quality against men's captain Tommy Horton and John Morgan.

Davies made eagle from 30 feet at the long 16th and her side also had six birdies, while Horton and Morgan were nine under. The better-ball score was 14 under par.

Sweden's Sofia Gronberg Whitmore joined Spain's Raquel Carriedo in a 2 and 1 win over the all-Irish pair of Eddie Poll and David Jones.

But in the other two matches the men won the last holes to scrape halves with captain Marie-Laure de Lorenzi and Alison Nicholas, two up with three to play, both failing to make par at the 18th to allow Americans Alan Tapie and Bill Brask to tie the overall score.

European Cup, Praia D'El Rey, Portugal.

Fourball (men's names first):

T Horton & J Morgan bt L Davies & T Johnson 1 hole E Polland & D Jones lost to S Gronberg Whitmore & R Carriedo 2 and 1, A Garrido & J Bruner halved with S Gustafson & S Mendiburu, N Coles & R Metherell lost to L Fairclough & M Hjorth 4 and 3, A Tapie & B Brask halved with A Nicholas & M-L de Lorenzi.

Result: Senior Men's Tour 2 Ladies' European Tour 3.Overall score: Senior Men's Tour 5 Ladies' European Tour 5.

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