The Continent of Europe came back from a 4-2 mid-afternoon deficit, to lead 6.5 to 5.5 at the halfway stage of the two-day Vagliano Trophy match at Malone Golf Club.
“I’m quite happy with our position although it’s a pity that Olivia Mehaffey’s putt for a birdie on the last green of the last match lipped out,” said Elaine Farquharson-Black, the GB&I captain.
“If you had offered me this scoreline before the start of play I would have taken it.
“We were strong at the top and at the end of our line-up today, but we hit too many slack shots, missed too many fairways.”
The morning foursomes were shared 2-2 on a warm but very wet morning.
The sun came out in the afternoon when the Continentals shaded the singles 4.5-3.5.
The all-Ireland pairing of world No 1 Leona Maguire and Olivia Mehaffey drew first blood for GB&I by beating the French partnership of Celine Boutier, recent winner of the British Women’s Open Amateur Championship at Portstewart and Justine Dreher.
Maguire and Mehaffey won the first and were never in arrears after that.
Boutier and Dreher squared it at the second, but went one down again at the third before getting back on level terms by winning the fourth.
After a series of halves, the Irish pair won the seventh, ninth and 11th to take a three-hole lead they preserved through halves from the 12th to the 16 inclusive for a 3&2 victory.
Team Europe’s Noemi Jimenez Martin and Luna Sobron from Spain levelled it at 1-1 by beating Bronte Law and Chloe Williams by two holes.
Meghan MacLaren and Alice Hewson put GB&I back in the lead with a grandstand finish for a one-hole victory over Albane Valenzuela and Nuria Iturrios.
Team Europe won the last of the four morning foursomes to make it 2-2 at lunch.
GB&I began the singles in great style with Maguire winning by 2&1 over France’s Celine Boutier, whom she displaced as world amateur No 1 earlier this year.
Maguire was two up after six holes but Boutier won back the eighth before seven holes in a row were halved. Maguire holed a 10ft birdie putt at the 16th to go three up and a half at the the next ended a classic singles tie.
GB&I then went 4-2 up overall with a 2&1 win by Bronte Law over Germany’s Olivia Cowan.
Hayley Davis, two down at the turn, went down by 4&2 to Luna Sobron Then Nicole Jimenez Martin of Spain levelled it at 4-4 overall by beating Alice Hewson by 3&1.
Chloe Williams lost by 3&2 to Albane Valenzuela who was two up at the turn, before winnng the 10th and 11th. Team Europe surged 6-4 ahead with a 3&1 win by Nuria Iturrios over Gemma Clews.
GB and I were in a position to win both the final singles and make it 6-6 at the end of the day. Charlotte Thomas, two up by winning the 14th and 15th, then lost the 17th but was conceded the 18th by Madelene Sagstrom, ranked No 3 in Europe.
Olivia Mehaffey playing the girl who beat her in the semi-finals of the recent “British”, Linnea Strom, was two up after 13. The Swedish player hit back at the 14th and 16th to set up a nail-biting finish and the match was halved when Mehaffey’s putt for a birdie lipped out.
The Continent of Europe ended the opening day of the Junior Vagliano Trophy match with a 6-3 lead, reversing Team GB&I’s winning margin of 2-1 from the morning foursomes.
The Vagliano Trophy, Malone Golf Club
Europe vs Great Britain & Ireland
Celine Boutier & Justine Dreher (EUR) lost to Leona Maguire & Olivia Mehaffey (GB&I) 3&2
Noemi Jimenez & Luna Sobron (EUR) bt Bronte Law, & Chloe Williams (GB&I) 2up
Albane Valenzuela & Nuria Iturrios (EUR) lost to Meghan MacLaren & Alice Hewson (GB&I) 1up
Linnea Strom & Madelene Sagstrom (EUR) bt Hayley Davis & Charlotte Thomas (GB&I) 2&1
Celine Boutier lost to Leona Maguire 2&1
Olivia Cowan lost to Bronte Law 2&1
Luna Sobron bt Hayley Davis 4&2
Noemi Jimenez bt Alice Hewson 3&1
Nuria Iturrios bt Gemma Clews 3&1
Albane Valenzuela bt Chloe Williams 3&2
Madelene Sagstrom lost to Charlotte Thomas 2up
Linnea Strom (AS) Olivia Mehaffey (AS)
Noemi Jimenez, Luna Sobron (Europe) v Leona Maguire, Olivia Mehaffey (GB&I)
Albane Valenzuela, Nuria Iturrios (Europe) v Bronte Law, Chloe Williams (GB&I
Celine Boutier, Justine Dreher (Europe) v Meghan MacLaren & Alice Hewson (GB&I)
Linnea Strom, Madelene Sagstrom (Europe) v Hayley Davis, Charlotte Thomas (GB&I)
Junior Vagliano Trophy
Europe vs Great Britain & Ireland
Agathe Laisne & Frida Kinhult (EUR) bt Hollie Muse & Shannon McWilliam (GB&I) 1up
Isabella Holpfer & Mathilde Claisse (EUR) lost to Mairead Martin & Annabel Wilson (GB&I) 5&4
Emma Spitz & Julia Engstrom (EUR) lost to Emily Price & Hazel MacGarvie (GB&I) 1up
Agathe Laisne bt Shannon McWilliam 2up
Frida Kinhult bt Emily Price 5&4
Isabella Holpfer lost to Hazel MacGarvie 2&1
Mathilde Claisse bt Mairead Martin 4&3
Emma Spitz bt Annabel Wilson 3&2
Julia Engstrom bt Hollie Muse 2&1
Agathe Laisne, Frida Kinhult (Europe) v Hollie Muse, Shannon McWilliam (GB&I)
Mathilde Claisse, Isabella Holpfer (Europe) v Mairead Martin, Annabel Wilson (GB&I)
Julia Engstrom, Emma Spitz (Europe) v Hazel MacGarvie, Emily Price (GB&I)