Sheffield Unionof Golf Clubs
A distinctly autumnal day at Halifax West End saw the final Inter-District League game of the season bring with it a first defeat for Sheffield.
Pipped 19-17 by hosts Halifax-Huddersfield, it was a disappointing conclusion to an otherwise flawless campaign, as the men’s side looked to emulate Sheffield’s juniors in compiling a clean sweep of seven victories out of seven.
With a strong side and a morning foursomes lead, Sheffield were poised to complete the perfect season, but a very tightly fought round of afternoon singles saw Halifax Huddersfield clinch a memorable win.
Eight of the twelve singles games, including each of the last five, were settled on the 18th green. Although Nick Poppleton won the home hole in the top game to rescue a half, and fellow Yorkshire player Jamie Harrison also won by one hole, thereafter the close games were all edged by Halifax Huddersfield. Jordan Perry, Sam Rook and Richard Hodgkinson all perished by a single hole margin.
When Dean Longden bravely holed from four feet at the last to snatch a half, Sheffield sniffed the opportunity of a tied match. Michael McGuinness of Phoenix looked to have grabbed the opportunity with an immaculate pitch from behind the 18th green, but the wicked slopes and lightning fast greens at West End swept the ball 15 foot past the hole. With his opponent Ben Crowther showing exceptionally good touch for an exceptionally big man, as well as nerves of steel to hole from five feet, it was defeat by the narrowest possible margin to finish off another league title winning season.
Captain Neil Stones had little reason to complain. “It was a bit of a role reversal today,” he commented. “Several times we have been behind after the foursomes and turned it round to win. Halifax Huddersfield pulled our own favourite trick on us!
“But well done to them. We had a strong team out, and the fact that they were fourth in the table before today shows how strong Inter-District golf really is, and how well we have done to win the league again. Plus we still have the Team Championship to go for next week.”
Sheffield’s six-man team for that event is Nick Poppleton (Wath), Nathan Fell (Lindrick), Neil Stones (Wheatley), Lewis Hollingworth (Rotherham), Sam Bairstow (Hallowes) and Matt Evans (Phoenix). The links of Cleveland await next Sunday, as does the incentive of a third consecutive league and six-man double.