LEEDS came within a last-hole, final match chip of gaining a hard-fought draw from their latest Yorkshire Inter-District Union League match, going down 19-17 to East Riding at Filey.
Nigel McKee’s men must have sensed in the morning that the fates were not going to smile favourably on them when an opponent’s ball, which had come to rest, was blown into the cup from two feet away by the heavy wind that buffeted the course.
But they battled back after conceding an 8-4 foursomes deficit to take the singles session 13-11.
“I know we got beat, but I am not disgruntled with the performance that the guys put up in any way, shape or form,” said McKee. “To go out and battle like they did in that wind was fantastic.
“We got there and I thought the game was going to be abandoned because of the wind. I have never seen golf played in wind as strong as that.
“The balls were oscillating on the greens so we put a local rule into place that if any ball moved you could replace it.”
Leeds’ disadvantage magnified when the usually reliable Adam Frontal, of Cookridge Hall, lost in the top singles, but there followed a run of wins from the visitors’ top order that threatened to turn the match on its head.
“At one point in the afternoon, Adam was one down and then the next eight singles were all up in our favour,” recounted McKee.
Ultimately, it was only an amazing fightback by Leeds GC’s Paddy Noble, who drew all square with The KP’s Kevin Beattie after 15 having been five down after seven holes, that meant McKee’s men had a chance of earning a point.
“Paddy, to be fair, was amazing,” said Leeds’ captain. “He asked me on the last tee, ‘what do I need?’ and I said he needed to win the hole for the match to be tied.
“They both hit great drives down the last and their guy wedged to about 12ft while Paddy just ran through the back of the green.
“But he nearly chipped in, bless him – he tried his best and that’s all you can do.”
Selby’s Neil Clark deserved a better overall team outcome on his debut after winning both in the foursomes – with Pontefract’s Ryan Armitage – and in the singles.
Leeds sit bottom of the table after five of seven matches due to Teesside’s better match points difference, but McKee is encouraged by the fact that he will have a strong line-up for their next match, against Harrogate at Howley Hall on Sunday, August 21.
He also hopes that Leeds can shake the habit of handicapping themselves with below-par foursomes performances.
“It is just the foursomes which are letting us down at the moment,” he said, “and part of that is because I have not got a settled side.
“I’m trying to put different people in and we are not getting settled pairings. People are not really getting to know each other.
“You get to know each other’s games and each other’s little idiosyncrasies when you play together regularly.
“Mind, you would back Andy Wiltshire and Daz Walton (a Pontefract pairing) to come up with the win, but unfortunately they got beat this time.
“But you would always put them together because they have been Yorkshire foursomes champions twice in the last five years.”
Champions Sheffield lead the table on match points difference from York, the side they usurped as title holders last year, after both won at the weekend. Halifax-Huddersfield lie third.