As the clock tick-tocked its way into the evening and the golfing gods could be heard guddling in their pockets for some loose change for the meter to get some additional light on to the scene, folk were genuinely thinking that the Solheim Cup fourballs might still be going on as the rousing strains of Land of Hope and Glory were being belted out at the Last Night of the Proms.

There was plenty of nail-nibbling drama in the gloaming at Gleneagles as this transatlantic tussle remained on a knife edge but, my goodness, this was another prolonged process.

Nearly six hours for a fourballs encounter? The matches seemed to go on so long during a dour, damp and decidedly boisterous and brutal afternoon in Perthshire, the hosels on the clubs just about had moss growing on them.

By the end of it, Europe and the USA were evenly poised at 8-8. This is the first time since 2011 that the biennial contest has been tied heading into the final session.

Catriona Matthew led from the front that particular year and routed Paula Creamer in the top singles tie as Europe eventually won.

A good omen for the skipper? Time will tell, but today’s closing series of 12 head-to-heads promises to be such a fraught shoot-out, they will be getting Wyatt Earp in as an on-course marshal.

HeraldScotland:

In the relentless, gusting wind which reached nearly 40mph and shuddering, plunging temperatures, this was an exercise in golfing attrition, both for the players and the hardy legions behind the ropes.

It was a day when you needed all the layers possible. Team USA’s Lizette Salas, for example, seemed to be shrouded in so many heat-preserving accoutrements, you wouldn’t have been surprised if the Californian had been lagged and fitted with her own central heating system.

READ MORE: Captains happy but Hall "frustrated" by slow play

Europe had led by a single point after the late drama of Friday’s exchanges and things would come to a head again on the 18th as three of the four afternoon matches went right to the death. It was a slow burner but things certainly heated up as the time drifted on.

The honours were shared in the morning foursomes but Europe were left to reflect on the one that got away as Anne van Dam and Anna Nordqvist went from a position of total dominance to one of surrender as they lost a decisive encounter with Morgan Pressel and Marina Alex.

The European duo, dovetailing perfectly early on, were four-up through six but when Alex holed a decent putt on seven and Van Dam missed a short one to lose the hole, the pendulum swung violently as the volatility of the foursomes format was perfectly illustrated.

From the ninth, the US duo birdied four of the next five – and won five holes in a row – as they went from three-down to two-up en route to a thrusting two-hole triumph.

“The seventh hole forced their hand and to win that was a huge deal for us,” said Alex of that significant turning point. There would be a few more of those as the afternoon unravelled.

One point behind after the foursomes, the US drew level in the top fourballs as Brittanny Altomare and Annie Park staved off the menacing advances of Van Dam and Suzann Pettersen to win on the last.

The US alliance were never more than one hole to the good from the seventh and Pettersen’s robust offensive included five birdies in six holes as she cranked up the pressure. The US pair stood firm and Altomare closed it out on the 18th.

“If you had told me I was going to go play golf in these conditions I would have said ‘no’,” admitted Pettersen of the grisly elements. “But you kind of forget about the cond-itions and you just play. We made them work for that win.”

The grandstand on the last was certainly a handy place to be. Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Caroline Masson were pegged back to all-square on 16 as Maria Alex trundled in a fine putt in partnership with Lexi Thompson.

Masson would have the chance to pinch the match on the 18th, however, but her putt hit the hole and stayed out and Europe had to settle for a half point.

There was nothing in it at this stage but here was better news for Europe behind that match, though.

Georgia Hall and Celine Boutier’s valiant two-hole win over Ally McDonald and Angel Yin was full of guile, graft and grit and featured all the attributes that were required on a mentally and physically demanding day.

The Europeans had been four down after seven and were still three down through 13 but wonderfully won four of the last five holes with Boutier’s raking eagle putt on the 14th providing the catalyst for a thrilling surge.

“I was getting a little frustrated as I had missed a couple of putts so I was looking for some momentum and the putt on 14 was it,” said Boutier, pictured.

The US would have the final say, though, and the outspoken Danielle Kang, in the company of Salas, would make a telling statement of intent against the ponderous Carlota Ciganda and Azahara Munoz.

In a nip-and-tuck affair, Kang kept the US one-up with a fist-pumping par putt on 16 then holed a 10-footer for birdie on 17 to seal a 2&1 win.

That tied everything up. It’s all to play for now.