leeds Union captain Nigel McKee has former county champion Adam Frontal returning to his side’s ranks as they take on Teesside at Howley Hall on Sunday in their second Yorkshire Inter District Union League match of the season.
It is a huge boost for Leeds, as is the availability of Selby’s Robbie Wardle, as they look to build on their opening draw with Halifax-Huddersfield at Wakefield.
“It’s great to have Adam Frontal back, absolutely,” said McKee.
“He’s a former Yorkshire champion, he’s absolute class. He’s a fantastic golfer and it’s a big shot in the arm having him back.”
As is usual, McKee has met with the usual frustrations of player unavailibility due to work, family commitments or alternative golfing events.
“This match I’ve lost George Heath because he’s playing in the (Yorkshire Order of Merit) Woodthorpe Trophy,” said McKee.
“I understand it because it’s on his own course at Wakefield, he’s only 16, 17, and obviously it’s an event he can do well in. But Dan Bradbury, who is Yorkshire Boys’ captain, is passing on the Woodthorpe as is Tom North.
“We’ve still got an excellent line-up. I’ve got a good line-up although I’m again missing Tom Gray, last year’s Yorkshire Boys’ champion, who can’t get time off work.
“He’s struggling like crazy to get time off for the matches, and I’m missing Ben Firth, who I desperately need in.”
Firth and Selby’s Matthew Pearson both work at Leeds Golf Centre and only the latter will be able to get Sunday off to line-up againstTeesside.
“I’ll also be missing Firthy for the following match – against the champions Sheffield – because he’ll be playing in the Open qualifying the following day.”
McKee had approached four Howley Hall members with the hope of including players on their home course against Teesside.
“Tried to get Howley Hall players to play, but they’re doing other things – either playing elsewhere or tied up,” said a rueful McKee. “People have lives away from golf, of course, especially when you’re older.
“There’s other things to do besides playing union golf on a Sunday afternoon.”
While appreciating the alternative attractions, McKee is keen to get across to players the honour of representing Leeds Union.
“I’m passionate about Leeds Union, I always have been,” said a man who teed it up just short of 50 times. “I just want the Leeds Union to go forward and my feeling is that we are as strong as Sheffield, or should be as strong as Sheffield, but it’s creating that air of belief – and privilege.
“I want to instil in people that they should be proud to represent the Leeds Union because there are hundreds of golfers in the 33 golf clubs in Leeds who would give their right arm to represent their area side.
“That’s how I look at it, and hopefully I’m getting that across to people – in fact, I’m sure I am.
“By playing in the YIDU League you can get noticed by the county officials.
“Last year in our match at Howley Hall we had the English amateur champion, Dan Brown, playing the Yorkshire amateur champion, Ben Hutchinson, so it doesn’t get any better than that, really, in a union game.
Last year was McKee’s first as captain and the campaign began with a 24-12 defeat at Cleveland against Teesside.
“We got thumped up at Cleveland so hopefully we can get a bit of revenge,” said McKee.
The match at Howley Hall will involve six foursomes matches in the morning followed by 12 afternoon singles matches.
Admittance is free to any members of the public wanting to go along to watch and support Leeds.