Yorkshire Golf: Martin Simpson leads by example for Leeds Union

LEEDS fielded four debutants as they maintained their perfect start to the Yorkshire Inter-District Union League season with a 21-15 victory against near neighbours Bradford at The Manor.
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Team manager Nigel McKee had four players drop out in the days leading up to the game – including recently crowned Yorkshire Boys champion Isaac Smith, of Moortown – but Leeds made light of the enforced line-up alterations.

Martin Simpson secured his fourth win from as many matches and the number four featured again with the Selby man being part of a quartet with a 100 per cent record on the day.

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Barry Hardcastle (Wike Ridge), debutant Sam Claypole (Darrington) and Nathan Ali (Cookridge Hall) also won in the foursomes and singles while Wakefield’s Ewan Bromley, who answered a late call to play, finished the day unbeaten.

Martin Simpson playing a shot for Leeds Union (Picture: Chris Stratford)Martin Simpson playing a shot for Leeds Union (Picture: Chris Stratford)
Martin Simpson playing a shot for Leeds Union (Picture: Chris Stratford)

A 7-5 lunchtime lead laid the platform for overall triumph with the singles going Leeds’s way too, 14-10.

Saul Gilford (Moor Allerton), Waterton Park’s Tom Hirst and Tai Naylor, of Sand Moor, were the others making their bows for McKee, who was delighted with Leeds remaining at the top alongside Halifax-Huddersfield and Sheffield, who also have two wins from two.

“It was great, the team spirit’s fantastic, as ever,” enthused McKee. “Saul Gilford came in and he looks a decent player, Sam Claypole is an ex-Nottinghamshire player, used to be at Hollinwell off plus two there, and I’ve definitely got him in the fold and he’s committed to playing five games for us this year.

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“I should have played Tom Hirst before, he’s plus three. He and Sam both won their singles, which was great, and they’re both in the squad for the season now. We also had Tai Naylor, a young lad who’s not lost a game for the juniors this season.

Martin Simpson is unbeaten for Leeds Union (Picture: Chris Stratford)Martin Simpson is unbeaten for Leeds Union (Picture: Chris Stratford)
Martin Simpson is unbeaten for Leeds Union (Picture: Chris Stratford)

“The problem I’ve got for the next match is who I’m going to drop because it’s at Headingley and we’ve got a few players that I can put in that are members at both Headingley and Cookridge.”

Ali has won three of his four matches this season and cruised to a 7&6 win in the afternoon against Bradford. McKee commented: “Nathan’s an absolute top golfer, he just needs to have some belief in his own ability. 60 or 70 per cent of this game is mental. He’s a top lad and he was three or four under when he won his singles.

“Martin Simpson played well again for us and he beat the one guy in their team who was from The Manor, so that was a good win for Simmo.

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“Ewan Bromley stood in for me at the last minute and he came through with a win at No 12 against James Darcy, from Bingley St Ives, who they normally play as their banker man. Ewan really stepped up to the mark for us.”

Halifax-Huddersfield also won 21-15, taking the singles against York at Saddleworth 14-10 after the foursomes finished 7-5 in their favour.

Sheffield had to fight hard against champions East Riding at Hornsea to maintain their unblemished record with a 20-16 success.

The title holders produced an afternoon onslaught led by Hornsea’s Matty Raybould, who was seven under par when closing out a 2&1 win over Ollie Smith, of Sickleholme, himself five under.

Harrogate bounced back from their opening 27-9 home humiliation against Halifax-Huddersfield to beat Teesside 22-14.

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