MARK ENGLAND is a name that has been out of the picture lately but he'll be back in the spotlight at Halifax (Ogden) tomorrow when he defends the PS Cockroft Trophy.
The Fixby man claimed the trophy and title of Halifax, Huddersfield Union strokeplay champion at Bradley Hall a year ago,
Eighteen years on from his first success in the event, he shot 72 74 to hold off home club favourites Andy Shaw and Andy Whitworth by a stroke.
Shaw, who was two shots away from making a play-off in the Open Championship regional qualifying at Pannal in midweek, and Whitworth, twice winner of the title, look certain to be in contention again.
Steve Sweeney carries the main hopes of the host club while the field of 60 includes a couple of other past champions and a number of players who feel it is time to land a Union ‘major’.
They include Dewsbury’s Ed Battye, who has had some solid shows in Yorkshire Order of Merit events.
He produced the hottest streak of the year in winning his club’s open scratch by eight shots.
He followed birdies at the seventh and eighth with an ace at the ninth, the famous Tom Morris hole, then eagled the long 10th and birdied the next.
The run gave Battye a 66 which he followed with a more ordinary 71.
The Cockroft, sponsored by BM Howarth, incorporates the Jubilee Trophy awarded to the leading junior.
That is held by Longley Park’s Matthew Colcombe, who is in the hunt again but also is a serious main title challenger.
He finished three strokes adrift of England last season.
The top 32 qualify for the matchplay championship, the first and second rounds of which will be staged at West End on August 10.
The quarter and semi-finals on August 24 and the final on August 31 will be at Halifax.