Injection of youth gives Leeds air of confidence

David Appleyard
David Appleyard
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Leeds Union hope an injection of a trio of championship-winning youngsters will help their senior team end a near two-decades of hurt in the Yorkshire Inter-District League this season.

Leeds open their 2015 campaign with a daunting trip to defending county champions Sheffield at Silkstone, Barnsley, on Sunday.

Daniel Bradbury

Daniel Bradbury

The city team finished mid-table last season after a slow start, and have not won the title since the late 1990s.

But the fact that the Leeds junior team won their equivalent championship last summer points to a strong under-current of talent ready to emerge onto the senior amateur stage.

Together, the trio of junior team regular Tom North (Howley Hall), junior champion Dan Bradbury (Wakefield) and Tom Broxup (Cookridge Hall) – who is back after his first year of a golf scholarship in the American collegiate system – make up one quarter of the team to face Sheffield.

Team manager Tony Greenhalgh said: “It’s been a long time since we won the title, back in 1998, so we are due a title-winning year.

“It will be tough again this year because Sheffield and York are strong unions.

“But the success of the juniors last year gives us hope.

“They should feed into the seniors and make them stronger, provided they are able to compete at that level and stay as amateurs.

“Because that is the big challenge we face year after year, not just ourselves but all amateur unions.

“You can’t be critical of these young guys if they are chasing a dream in the professional game.”

Two of those youngsters lost to the paid ranks over the winter were Joe Heraty (Moor Allerton) and Leeds amateur champion Lewis Clarke (Howley Hall).

Leeds are also without another promising youngster in Tom Murray (Moor Allerton) who is out injured.

The Leeds senior team has retained a strong core of experienced campaigners, with former Yorkshire amateur champion David Appleyard (South Leeds), Simon Coumbe (Pontefract), ex-Leeds amateur champion Neil Kinghorn (Wakefield) and Steve Cain (Scarcroft) all back for more.

Damian Simpson (Waterton Park), Rob Wardle (Selby), Barry Hardcastle and Matty Brighton (Wike Ridge) and Mark Griffiths (Normanton) have also been picked for Leeds’s opening game.

The format is foursomes in the morning followed by singles in the afternoon.

After the weekend’s trip to Sheffield, Leeds host York at Sand Moor on Sunday, June 14; visit Bradford atKeighley on Sunday, June 28; welcome the East Riding to Horsforth on Sunday, July 12; and got to Harrogate on Sunday, August 2; before finishing the season with home games against Halifax-Huddersfield at Headingley on Sunday, August 16, and Teeside at Howley Hall on Sunday, September 6.