THE worlds of rugby league and cricket collided at Headingley Golf Club this week in what could become an annual event after it raised around £9,500 for Leeds Rhinos’ Ryan Hall and Yorkshire CCC fast bowler Steve Patterson.
Both are enjoying well deserved testimonial years and the Headingley Challenge was staged by the golf club to help celebrate their 125th anniversary year.
There were 48 players on each side made up of past and present players, key partners, management, VIPs and corporate guests, as well as four teams of Headingley GC members and two sponsors’ teams.
Rhinos’ chief executive Gary Hetherington is one of many people involved who is keen to see the Headingley Challenge become an annual part of the calendar.
His enthusiasm might be fired by a desire for Rhinos to exact revenge after they lost 64-37 to Yorkshire CCC in the contest, which involved fourball betterball match play with each contest going the full 18 holes, and the holes-up score counting towards the aggregate.
Tony Cavanagh, in charge of marketing at Headingley GC, said: “Gary is really up for it (to become an annual event), and I know Headingley would be up for it. I can’t see why this couldn’t be something we can stage every year.”
Cavanagh said there was plenty of positive feedback from members of both teams, and added: “They’re all real team guys so an individual sport like golf is not something they get to play too often.”
Headingley captain Adrian Arnold said: “To welcome and host the two great teams of Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Cricket Club to our golf course during our 125th Anniversary year was a true privilege.
“Headingley Golf Club was absolutely delighted to stage the inaugural Headingley Challenge, where two teams known worldwide and so synonymous with sporting excellence, and the name Headingley, did battle against each other for glory in our wonderful game of golf.”
Hetherington said: “Top class rugby and cricket has been staged at Headingley for the past 127 years and it was fitting for Leeds Rhinos and Yorkshire Cricket Club to join Headingley Golf Club in celebration of its 125th anniversary with this unique event.”
Andy Dawson, Yorkshire CCC’s commercial director, said: “Yorkshire County Cricket Club was delighted to take part in this inaugural event to celebrate Headingley Golf Club’s 125th anniversary at the oldest and most idyllic golf club in Leeds.”
The prize for the longest drive on Headingley’s 14th hole went to Ross Webster while nearest the pin prize on the 17th was won by David Ryder.
A portion of the funds were raised via a raffle and auction at the evening dinner when Cavanagh had to have a quiet word with son Steve – director of sponsors, The Copier Company (UK) – who was bidding for tickets for four to one of Yorkshire’s T20 games at Headingley.
“Steve was bidding for it and then I reminded him that the date of the match is actually his mother’s 60th birthday – and that he would be otherwise engaged,” laughed Cavanagh senior. “Fortunately his friend jumped in and upped the bid so he was okay.”