The 43rd Team Championship, which East Riding has never won, was held at Halifax Bradley Hall Golf Club on Sunday 11th September 2016. Expectations were high after finishing third in the League, despite our youthful six-man team conceding an aggregate differential in handicaps of 12 to the favourites, Sheffield. The East Riding team comprised three scratch players and three with a handicap of 1, whereas Sheffield had two off scratch, one off +1, one off +2 and two off +3!
Bradley Hall is a compact course with narrow, sloping greens, which had been double cut and ironed for the competition. Moreover, some of the pin positions were such that it was virtually impossible to lag a putt or chip from above the hole. Consequently, all the teams had difficulty on the greens, resulting in the winning score being 54 over par, which equates to 4.5 strokes per round.
One consequence of the difficulties experienced on the greens was to bring all the participants down to a similar level of ability, resulting in the competition being closely contested. At lunch, Bradford led the field by four from Halifax/Huddersfield with Sheffield, Leeds and Harrogate two further back. York was another stroke behind and East Riding were lying seventh but not out of the running, being only 11 strokes off the lead.
During the morning round, 16 year-old Joe Allenby had a nightmare start, finding his ball plugged in a bunker at each of his first two holes but he kept his calm to finish in a creditable 79. Top scorer was Nick Raybould with a level par 70, whilst Mark Woodall carded a 75, Andy Woodhead 76, Ryan Gray 77 and Matty Raybould 78.
In the afternoon, it looked likely that the hosts, Halifax/Huddersfield, would take the title, having overhauled Bradford by a single stroke but a late run by Sheffield, saw them tie the hosts and win the competition on a count-back.
The East Riding’s two youngsters, Joe Allenby and 18 year-old Matty Raybould, both improved in their afternoon rounds scoring 74 and 75 respectively, whilst Mark Woodall and Nick Raybould both added 74s. Ryan Gray scored a plucky 77 after being 6 over through 7 holes but Team Manager, Andy Woodhead slipped to an 82, due in part to not feeling well.
East Riding finished in seventh place, 17 strokes behind the winners, equivalent to less than 1.5 strokes per round. Well done to all the players for a fine performance on a difficult course and thanks to Dan Digby, the reserve, for his support.