After a 23 year wait the East Riding Union win the 2017 YIDU Junior Team Championship.
This years YIDU Team Championship was held at Sitwell Park Golf Club by the Sheffield Union. The East Riding arrived in good spirits and during the practice day devised a game plan to play the tricky Sitwell course, with its fast undulating greens and narrow fairways. Tom Duck led the team off and played some great golf only to drop shots towards the end to shoot 78. Then came Jack Maxey with a solid 76 which was matched by Joe Allenby. Team captain Ben Ratcliffe was struggling with his back and finished with a battling 80. The final two players were Lewis Hunt and Oliver Beckitt and they both finished with 79 each.
At the halfway mark Harrogate led the way with 461 shots followed by Sheffield 464, Leeds 465, Teesside 466 and the East Riding and York on 468. Only 7 shots separated the first six unions going into the afternoon and the tension could be felt on the first tee. President Steve Thornton, secretary John Illingworth, Kit Chapman and Steve Raybould rallied the boys who were a little disappointed with their first rounds. The message was to stay positive, stick to the game plan and try and beat your morning scores.
The team had gained lots of experience playing union games and tournaments around Yorkshire over the past few years and this was beginning to pay off during the second round.
At the half-way point Tom was +1 Jack -2 Joe +4 Ben +3 and Lewis and Olly +2. Things were turning East Riding's way when the heavens opened and thunder and lightening caused a suspension in play. All players were asked to mark their balls and take immediate shelter. The storm passed but it was unclear if play could resume; but thanks to the Yorkshire officials squeegeeing the greens play restarted at 6pm.
The break didn't seem to affect the East Riding Team and we got the feeling things were swaying our way. Sheffield had returned early second rounds of 75,72, 78 and 73 and took the lead from Harrogate. We returned a 77 from Tom 72 from Jack when he chipped in for a birdie 3 on the final hole, 79 from Joe Allenby and probably the performance of the day from Ben when he returned a 72. Ben was suffering from a back strain and negotiated his way around the course in 1 over par without hitting any woods! Great effort Ben...
We were still 6 shots behind Sheffield but when they came in with a 78, Lewis Hunt stepped up and matched the final hole birdie of his best mate Jack, holing from 35 feet to be round in another 72. This left it a tie at the top with Sheffield and the East Riding on 840 shots .Olly Beckett playing in his first team championship was put last out by team organiser Steve Raybould just in case this scenario occurred. Having hit a solid drive up the final hole, his second shot caught a tree and left him still in the trees some 150 yards away from the green. Olly composed himself and hit a punch fade under the branches into the heart of the green, what a shot! Two putts later and he returned round of 74 and with Sheffield's 77 they were beaten into second place on their home patch.
The East Riding last won the trophy back in 1994 at Selby with a star studded team which included Richard Finch, John Wells, John Samuel, Chris Smith, Frazer Kelly and Jamie Smith.
I would like to finish this report by saying thank you to all the boys who have played for the East Riding this year, their parents and all the officials who have helped and supported throughout the season. Without your support results like this would not happen. It takes time to develop the camaraderie and knowledge to be able to cope and succeed at this level.
Thank you all,