Date: April 08, 2008

Aussies lead tight Ashes battle at Moonah

Stephanie Na Australia and England battled valiantly on day one of The Ashes, but it is the home side that holds a slender edge going into the final day of action at Moonah Links in Victoria. The Aussies lead the old enemy 8.5 to 6.5 with 10 singles matches to be played on The Open course on Wednesday. The Legends course was bathed in sunshine in near perfect golfing conditions for just the second staging of this international event. The Australians set out to defend the inaugural title they won at this venue last year but this time they had the girls in tow. The morning singles matches were hotly contested with all four of the girls&apos contests going to 18 holes; two resulting in halves and the other two resulting in English victories to Naomi Edwards and Liz Bennett. Kristie Smith and Stephanie Na were the Aussies who managed to claim half a point for their team, but it was advantage England throughout the early stages of the day. The Australian men started the fightback thanks to a 3&2 win by Scott Arnold over Dan Willett. Matthew Griffin was narrowly downed by Steve Uzzell of Yorkshire, Matt Jager posted a 1up win before Rohan Blizard produced the performance of the day, blitzing former Spanish Amateur Champion Sam Hutsby 6&5. Tim Stewart had his hands full with former Czech Amateur Champion Neil Chaudhuri who won 3&2 while Daniel Beckmann posted a solid 3&2 win to level the overall scores heading into the afternoon foursomes. The Australian women fared better in the afternoon as Smith and Na recorded a stirring 6&5 win over Edwards and Florentina Parker. The dynamic duo was unstoppable on its way to a convincing win, while compatriots Clare Choi and Julia Boland fought out a pulsating halved match with Edwards and Rachel Jennings. Blizard and Stewart, the last two Australian Amateur Champions paired up and were too strong for Willett and Uzzell despite being pushed all the way to the 18th. The all-Victorian duo of Beckmann and Griffin were also too strong, winning 1up while Arnold and Jager were outclassed 5&4 by Hutsby and Chris Wood. The final round of action gets underway on the Open Course on Wednesday morning with just 10 singles matches standing between Australia and a successful defence of The Ashes. However a very determined England squad will be keen to atone for last year and wrest the title back off their traditional adversary. Follow all of the action at and click here for all scores and results.