WILL WHITEOAK said representing England Golf in the Home Internationals had been the highlight of his final year as an amateur – despite his team missing out on victory by the smallest of margins.

The Haworth-based player was hoping to get his hands on the Raymond Trophy along with his team-mates before he turns professional next month.

But England were pipped by Ireland at Moortown after the sides had finished level on points in the four-team annual event, with the holders taking the title having won 26½ games to the hosts' 26.

Whiteoak won his foursomes and his singles in the last-day decider against Ireland, which ended 7½-7½ and meant the rivals finished level on points and therefore had to be separated by other means.

The Shipley member said: "Ireland won on 'goal difference'. It was disappointing because at one point it was looking quite good and then it all changed at the back end around the last few holes."

England had earlier beaten Scotland 9-6 and Wales 9½-5½ to set up the showdown with the defending champions, who have now won the trophy for a record fourth consecutive time.

Whiteoak won 3.5 points out of six overall, which included two foursomes victories with Josh Hilleard.

He said: "My results were quite good. I won a singles, halved one and lost one.

"The one I lost (to Scotland's Sam Locke) was down the last. I was four down through eight. I had one bad hole and he started quite hot but I played the last ten holes in five under to end up one down.

"In my half against Wales (playing Jake Hapgood) I birdied the first and then I parred every single hole after that. I played solid golf but it was very annoying as I didn’t putt very well.

"Then I beat the Irish lad (Conor Purcell) 3&2. I played nicely against him and it was what we needed, so it was good to do that."

The 23-year-old has represented England abroad before in the Costa Ballena tournament in Spain against Italy, Germany and the hosts.

But he was honoured to represent his country last week in a more prestigious competition.

Whiteoak said: "The Home Internationals are a much bigger deal. It is a good event and if you don’t play Walker Cup, I suppose it's the next biggest amateur team event to play in in Great Britain and Ireland.

"It's tough to get picked as there are a lot of good golfers so I was pleased to perform well."

The former Oakbank pupil will aim to make it through the first stage of European Tour Qualifying School at Roxburgh Hall next month.

Reflecting on his last season in the amateur ranks, the plus four handicapper said: "Overall it’s been a decent year. There have been a few ups and downs.

"The highlight has been playing home internationals for England and competing well. I lost in a play-off at the Tilman Trophy and finished sixth in the Lytham Trophy.

"But I lost in the first round of the British (Amateur Championship) and didn’t contend in any of the other massive tournaments."