UNION champion Richard Broadley was a late withdrawal, weakening the side for tomorrow’s Yorkshire Inter-Union League date with York, a match that team manager Chris Mear had already expected to be a close affair.
Top West End junior Ryan Greenwood comes in for Fixby’s Broadley, getting a late call like he did for the season opener against Bradford, his first-team debut.
Mear, who has had to re-jig his order and come up with a new top-match man, said: “Richard Broadley’s absence means a loss of experience against a side that won the league championship last year and who have the same squad available.”
Good experience can prove vital on two fronts as Halifax, Huddersfield go into their last away match of the campaign.
Firstly, York maybe nowhere near as consistent as last season when they shook everyone by achieving their first league title win, but they still have strong capabilities in players with county experience outside Yorkshire and that needs to be matched.
They are not the pushovers they were in the past. York have beaten Leeds and drawn away at Teesside and Bradford this time, their one defeat coming against East Riding, three-times winners this season and second in the table to front-runners Sheffield.
Secondly comes the venue, Heworth. It is a quaint course in that it has 11 holes, some being played from different tees to make the 18. Some of Mear’s side will be seeing it for the first time.
Nevertheless, if his players perform to their potential Mear’s side, with Dan Stocchero and Graham McLean back in place of the unavailable Edward Battye and Sam Bridges, could be celebrating a second league victory of a campaign which had high hopes at the outset.
Though the Union side sign off with home dates against Harrogate – their best chance of points – and the tough test with Sheffield, realistically it is in the Inter-Union Team championship – six-man teams playing medal golf – that offers the chance to make a success of the season. Fixby on September 14 will provide home advantage and Mear will be happy that most of his top players will have got the required three qualifying league matches under their belt.
Sheffield, the firm title favourites with a 1005 record, can get one hand on the title by beating Harrogate at Ilkley.
East Riding can keep up their challenge in second place at the expense of Teesside at Allerthorpe Park.
Leeds and Bradford, who meet at Mid Yorkshire, have seen hopes nosedive after two defeats and a defeat and a draw respectively They also look to the strokeplay championship for some reward from the season but have lost key men.
Leeds champion Marcus Armitage has turned professional and Bradford’s England elite squad man Gareth Evans, who won the Yorkshire championship at Fixby a couple of years ago then added the English Champion of Champions title, has taken the same route, though he would have struggled to fit in the required number of qualifying league matches.
Former Bradford champion Darryl Berry, another past Yorkshire title winner, has regained amateur status after four years as a pro, but says he will not play Union team golf.
Halifax, Huddersfield (v York): F Scholefield, J Ellison, D Stocchero (all Huddersfield), A Appleyard, A Shaw, J Fairhurst (all Bradley Hall), I Powell (Hebden Bridge), B Crowther (Dewsbury), F Greaves (West End), M Colcombe (Longley Park), G McLean (Meltham), R Greenwood (West End).