Yorkshire golf: Leeds prove an unstoppable foursomes force at Howley Hall
LEEDS Union team captain Nigel McKee was enthusiastic about his line-up ahead of the Yorkshire Inter-District Union League home match with Harrogate.
During his debut season in the position, McKee has endured his share of frustration when it comes to player unavailability, but the dozen players at his disposal at Howley Hall left him confident of a win.
However, even he did not anticipate a morning foursomes session in which his side whitewashed their opponent, taking the series 12-0 to lay the platform for a 29-7 overall triumph.
And this despite Harrogate having newly-crowned English men’s champion Dan Brown, of Masham, in their line-up.
“12-0 in the foursomes was like a dream,” said McKee. “I was wondering if I’d woken up. It was incredible, absolutely fabulous.”
He has made almost a half-century of appearances for Leeds Union as a player, but added: “I can’t remember seeing that before in my time. It may well have happened before, but it was absolutely amazing.
“And in the first game of the foursomes and singles we had the Yorkshire amateur champion in Ben Hutchinson (Howley Hall) taking on the English amateur champion.
“Hutch had to come off injured, unfortunately, in his singles against Dan.
“They’d played about 11 or 12 holes and were all square at the time – although Hutch did say he was in better position on the final hole when he had to retire hurt!”
Leeds’s victory, their second of the season, hauled them off the bottom of the table, with Bradford and Teesside now below them on match-points difference with one match to play.
McKee admitted the foursomes landslide took both him and his immediate predecessor, Tony Greenhalgh, somewhat by surprise.
“Notoriously, Leeds, in the foursomes, have been very poor. Tony Greenhalgh said the same thing to me on Sunday,” he said. “But against Harrogate we were just incredible.”
With their foot already metaphorically on Harrogate’s throat, all life was squeezed from the visitors with a series of emphatic singles victories.
Cookridge Hall’s Adam Frontal led the way with an 8&6 triumph and his club-mate Tom Broxup came from four holes adrift to win 3&2.
Recent Wharfe Trophy winner Matt Pearson (Wetherby) cruised home 7&5, just slightly more impressive than Ben Firth (Moortown) who recorded a 6&5 win.
Harrogate did enjoy three singles wins plus a half, while the only game that went the distance ended in Leeds’s favour when Selby’s Rob Wardle – one down with three to play – birdied both 16 and 17 and halved the last for a one-hole victory.
“It bodes well for next season,” said McKee. “I’ve got to know a lot of the guys, who didn’t know me at the start of the season, and I think when you’re in a change-over period, until you get to know people better, which I am now doing, it can be difficult.
“We will have Yorkshire Boys’ champion Tom Gray available all next season, which is fantastic news, because he’s not working in the Moortown pro shop next year.
“We play Halifax-Huddersfield at Outlane in our final game and if we can get a win against them I won’t be too disgruntled with six points from my first season.
“I’m delighted with Sunday and it all bodes well for the Inter-District six-man team championship at Halifax Bradley Hall next month.”