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11th March 2009

Dale Whitnell, winner of last month's Portuguese Amateur Championship, and Sam Hutsby, runner-up in last week's Spanish Amateur, have been named in a strong England side to face Spain in the biennial international at La Reserva Golf Club, Sotogrande, on 21st - 22nd March.

Jamie Abbott
Jamie Abbott (Courtesy Tom Ward)

Also selected for the first time is Jamie Abbott (photo courtesy of Tom Ward), who earned his first full England cap as a late replacement during last autumn's Home Internationals at Muirfield.  

The full nine-man England team is: Jamie Abbott (Fynn Valley, Suffolk), Todd Adcock (Nevill, Sussex), Tommy Fleetwood (Formby Hall, Lancashire), Charlie Ford (Kirby Muxloe, Leicestershire), Luke Goddard (Hendon, Middlesex), Matt Haines (Rochester & Cobham, Kent), Sam Hutsby (Liphook, Hampshire), Eddie Pepperell (Drayton Park, Berks, Bucks & Oxon), and Dale Whitnell (Five Lakes, Essex). The reserve is Matt Nixon (Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire).  

The Portuguese title, in which he beat Abbott in a playoff, was Whitnell's first foreign success although he did win the Daily Telegraph Junior Championship in Dubai in 2006. The Essex 20 year old's wins last year included the Lagonda and Tillman Trophies and the North of England Youths Championship, while he also reached the semi-finals of the Australian Amateur.  

Hutsby, 20, battled back from 7-down with eight to play to lose the Spanish crown to Dutchman Reiner Saxton by 2 and 1, having won the title back in 2006. Like Whitnell, Hutsby made his full England debut in the 2007 Home Internationals while last year he won the Bernard Darwin Salver and was runner-up in the Welsh Open Stroke Play.  

Abbott, 21, from Suffolk, had been knocking on the England door for some time before being called up as a replacement for Pepperell on the final day at Muirfield. Joint winner of the Henriques Salver with Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy at Ganton in 2007, last year Abbott was runner-up in the Midland Open Amateur and the Parman Trophy and third behind Hutsby in the Welsh Open Stroke Play.  

Adcock was a surprise winner of the England Amateur Championship at Woodhall Spa last summer. The 23 year old former Sussex Champion was capped for the first time in last September's Home Internationals and finished fourth in the Federal Amateur in Australia towards the end of the year.  

Fleetwood, 18, also made his full England debut at Muirfield having captained England in the Boys Home Internationals. Also in 2008, he won the Lancashire Championship, the English County Champions Tournament and finished runner-up to Saxton in the Amateur Championship.  

Ford, 23, was another who made his full England debut in the 2007 Home Internationals. The Leicestershire man is a graduate of the University of Tennessee, where he gained golfing success, and finished runner-up in the World University Games in Bangkok in 2007. Ford also enjoyed a successful sortie in Australia earlier this year, losing a playoff for the Avondale Medal, finishing tied third in the Lake Macquarie International and reaching the quarter finals of the New South Wales Amateur.  

Goddard, 20, has also tasted recent success by winning the Argentine Amateur Championship at the end of last year. That topped off a successful 2008 in which the Middlesex man won the South of England Stroke Play, was a member of the side that won the Portugal Nations Cup, finished runner-up in the Lagonda Trophy, third in the European Amateur and was a quarter-finalist in the English Amateur.  

He also earned his first full England cap in the Home Internationals and was a member of the England Eisenhower Cup team with Hutsby and Whitnell.  

Haines made his full England debut against France at Frilford Heath last May. The Kent 19 year old is a former winner of the McEvoy and Carris Trophies and last year won the Lytham Trophy. He also helped GB&I beat Europe in the St Andrews Trophy.  

Pepperell, 18, earned his first full England call-up in last year's Home Internationals only to miss the final two days through illness. A former winner of the Reid Trophy, the Oxfordshire-based player reached the semi-finals of the British Boys in 2007 and the semi-finals of the Spanish Amateur last year. His other 2008 successes include runner-up in the McEvoy Trophy and the Bernard Darwin Salver, third place in the Berkhamsted Trophy and the West of England Stroke Play, while he also helped GB&I win the Jacques Leglise Trophy.  

England have a good record in their matches with Spain which began in 1985. They sported an unbeaten record until 2005 when the Spanish gained their first success by 15-8 with one match halved at Puerta de Hierro. Two years ago England returned to winning ways with a 16-8 success at Royal Ashdown Forest.



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