YORKSHIRE had no need for the rearguard action which had earned a tie and a win in their previous two Northern Counties matches as they comfortably disposed of erstwhile leaders Cheshire at Ilkley.
A morning foursomes lead of 4-2 provided the platform for Darryl Berry’s team to secure victory, seven afternoon victors cementing an 11-7 triumph.
Reflecting on the outcome, Berry viewed the first match of the day as key to the outcome when Meltham’s Jamie Bower and William Whiteoak (Shipley) - a hole adrift with six to play - won the 18th for a one-hole victory.
“I’ve just said to the guys that the crucial match for me was the first one out. They looked comfortable, but then coming down the stretch you just don’t know - and our guys managed to get the win on the last.
“Leading 4-2 gives you more daylight than three and a half to two and a half.
“It meant in the afternoon I could say to the top seven ‘go out there and get points on the board quickly’ and they did that.
“We had a 7&5 win [from Jonathan Thomson, of Lindrick], and a 5&3 [from Bondhay’s Dan Wasteney] and to get both those points on the board early feeds confidence through to the rest of the team.
“It kind of frees the back end up. Without being awful, they’ve had to bring the results home in the last couple of games and sometimes they need a rest. It was good knowing that with four or five games out there we were looking like we were guaranteed the win, and when Jamie Harrison [Rotherham] birdied the 16th to go dormie two up that guaranteed us the win even if he got a half.”
Thomson’s win saw him overwhelm Delamere Forest’s Lewis George with some stunning golf which had him six under par through 10 holes.
The 19-year-old finished sixth in the recent Brabazon Trophy, England Golf’s flagship stroke play event, and he won the George Henriques salver awarded to the leading Great Britain & Ireland player aged under 20.
However, he had endured a foursomes thumping in tandem with Bedale’s Daniel Brown, 6&5, and Berry felt he was proving a point in the afternoon at Ilkley.
“I’m chuffed for him,” said Berry. “He had a struggle at the start of the season and then he did well in the Brabazon Trophy and then does exactly what we need here.”
Whiteoak was unable to add to his foursomes success in the top singles, edged out 2&1 by Prestbury’s James Newton, but the next two matches finished with the same margin of victory, but in Yorkshire’s favour - Lindrick’s Joe Dean defeating Royal Liverpool’s Matthew Jordan and Bower beating Caldy’s Dominic Barnes.
Wasteney, Thomson and Hull’s Steve Robins (a two-hole winner against Sandiway’s Rhys Nevin-Wharton) secured a full point each in games four, six and seven, and it was clear Berry’s pre-singles call to arms had been heeded.
Harrison’s position of dormie two was converted into a 2&1 win, and Hornsea’s Luke Robinson added the 11th point with a one-hole defeat of Stockport’s David Peel.
The only disappointment on the day for Berry was a last-green defeat for Ilkley’s Jack Lampkin to a birdie from Northenden’s Sam Prince.
Lampkin had been four up on the same opponent last year only to be felled by a barrage of birdies, and having birdied two of the first three at his home course held a two-hole lead which he maintained through the 11th.
However, Prince bit back late again, and Berry commented: “Unfortunately Jack lost in front of his home crowd and I felt for him, but when a guy makes a birdie putt at the last you can’t do much about that.”
Lancashire have taken over at the top of the table after beating Yorkshire’s next opponents, Northumberland, 12.5-5.5 at Lancaster.
They lead Yorkshire by virtue of a better games points total,31.5 to their Roses rivals’ 29.5.
However, Lancashire have to face Cheshire away in the final round of the season, a match which could prove pivotal should Yorkshire beat Northumberland and Durham in their final two encounters.