Leeds chasing six-man title 'bonus' after McKee's men place second in YIDU league

Leeds Union team captain Nigel McKee (Picture: Chris Stratford).
Leeds Union team captain Nigel McKee (Picture: Chris Stratford).
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LEEDS will go into Sunday's Yorkshire Inter-District Union six-man championship at Cleveland having finished just a point behind league title winners Sheffield.

Captain Nigel McKee's side, who rounded off their campaign with a 24-12 win over Harrogate at Ilkley, lost just once in the seven-match campaign, away to the champions.

Five wins and a half left them four points clear of Halifax-Huddersfield, Bradford and East Riding – and put them in great heart for Sunday's finale to the YIDU season.

McKee puts the excellent league performance down to a team spirit that he described as “fantastic”.

“Everyone is up for the six-man team championship next weekend,” he said. “We are all staying in the hotel together.

“I would love the team to win the six-man team championship at the weekend, anything at Cleveland would be a bonus this year as I think we have done amazingly well in the league.

“I am proud of them all. To a man, they have all gone out there and put their best foot forward every time they have played and that is all any captain can ask really.”

Leeds' line-up on Sunday will be Ben Firth (Moortown), Tom Broxup and Adam Frontal (Cookridge Hall), Simon Coumbe and Andy Wiltshire (Pontefract) and Rob Wardle (Selby). Oulton Hall's Ryan Beach is reserve.

Looking ahead to next year when he hopes Leeds can mount a successful title challenge to Sheffield, winners in the past three seasons, McKee said: “What we need to do is, over the winter, have a couple of get-togethers and keep the team building going.

“It is all about people being happy and wanting to play and the team spirit is infectious really. There are people asking to play who are fantastic golfers and want to get involved next year. And we will have Sheffield at home next season, which could be key.”

Leeds had only a 7-5 edge over Harrogate in last Sunday's game after the foursomes, but the big guns at the top of their singles soon fired them to the brink of overall victory.

Firth, Frontal, Coumbe, Wiltshire and Selby's Neil Clark all won while Broxup halved, leaving the visitors needing just a half from the six remaining matches to ensure the win.

Headingley's Sam Bridges, Tom Pilling, of Cookridge Hall, and Beach all returned wins to give Leeds a 12-point winning margin.

“We just edged the foursomes against Harrogate,” said McKee, “although the key for me this year is how well we've done in the foursomes compared to last year. It has been a revelation.

“Everyone performed really well again on Sunday and the top singles were crucial. It just shows what we can do if we can get the top guys playing, it really does. Plus the blend of youth and experience seems to be working well.

“To finish one point behind Sheffield is like a dream. After last year and this year [when Leeds placed fourth] we can only look forward to the future.”