Leeds’s YIDU victory over Bradford was close affair

Waterton Park's Jack Owen was one of five Leeds players who won in both the morning foursomes and the afternoon singles as Leeds defeated Bradford 21-15 (Picture: Chris Stratford).
Waterton Park's Jack Owen was one of five Leeds players who won in both the morning foursomes and the afternoon singles as Leeds defeated Bradford 21-15 (Picture: Chris Stratford).
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LEEDS won both the singles and foursomes sessions at Howley Hall on their way to a 21-15 Yorkshire Inter-District Union League victory over Bradford.

But Leeds captain Nigel McKee says that – despite what those simple statistics suggest – the route totheir fourth triumph of the season was anything but straightforward.

“The match could have gone either way,” acknowledges McKee, whose team took an 8-4 advantage into the afternoon’s battles in which they emerged with 13 points to Bradford’s 11.

“Scarcroft’s Steve Cain was one down going down the last and he won the last for a half and a point.

“Martin Simpson, from Selby, he was one up coming up the 17th, so that match [against Skipton’s Harry Ayrton] could have gone either way.

“But Martin won the 17th to win 2&1 and that got us the points that got us to 19, which is the magic total.

“Cookridge Hall’s Jeehvan Singh – he has just won the Leeds junior match play title – was three down at the turn in the last match, but he turned it round to win two up.

“So it never tells the whole story when you see 21-15. Steve Cain and Martin Simpson were either one up or one down through most of their matches, then one wins and one halves – that’s three points where we could easily have got none.

“It was a little bit precarious, but I’m delighted as it cements third place if we beat East Riding in our last match [at Hessle on September 2].”

Leeds finished with five players who won in both the morning and afternoon against Bradford: Cookridge Hall’s Tom Broxup, Pontefract & District’s Andy Wiltshire, Wike Ridge’s Barry Hardcastle, Waterton Park’s Jack Owen and Simpson.

Winning foursomes partnerships were Adam Frontal with his Cookridge Hall club-mate Broxup, Wiltshire and Hardcastle, Selby’s Neil Clark and Simpson, and Owen and Pontefract & District’s Ryan Armitage.

Finishing runners-up again to probable champions Sheffield is a possibility for McKee’s men, but they trail Halifax-Huddersfield by two points and would need to win at Hessle and then see Halifax-Huddersfield slip to a home defeat against sixth-placed Teesside at Meltham.

McKee adds: “I can’t see Halifax-Huddersfield losing to Teesside at home, not the way they’ve played this year.”

Even third place would be a further indication that Leeds’ star is rising under McKee, now in his third season as their leader.

“It does take a little bit of effort to get the players all there [at matches] and get them onside, but they are all there, they are onside and everyone seems to be enjoying it,” he continues.

“The spirit about the team is infectious, everybody’s up for it.

“It’s great, I’m delighted, and I absolutely love it. I’m just so happy with how everybody is, and the team spirit – I can’t ask for more.

“You only have to see all the guys on the putting green before the start. Everyone’s enjoying the craic, everyone’s having a chat, and that’s what it’s about. Yes, we want to win, but we don’t want to win at all costs. We want to compete and we want to try to be the best. Sheffield is the strongest union and the biggest, no doubt about it.

“My aim is to try to get us in a position where we can beat Sheffield, that is my ultimate goal really.”

McKee is already looking forward to the final league encounter against East Riding, and the union’s six-man team championship at Knaresborough the following Sunday.

“Against East Riding I’ll have Dave Appleyard [South Leeds]and Robbie Wardle [Selby] both back, so that should be a good, strong team and hopefully we can beat them. I think East Riding are probably a bit deflated.

“I think they will have been thinking at the start of the season, when they won their first three games, that it might be between them and Sheffield for the league.”