YORKSHIRE ladies will look to make the most of home advantage as they seek a third consecutive Northern Counties Match Week title at Huddersfield, starting today.
And overall victory in the five-day round-robin format is required if they are to have the chance to defend their English title at Royal North Devon in September as holders do not gain automatic qualification.
Captain Helen Lilley and her team, including coach Lysa Jones, of The Oaks, completed their preparations yesterday at Fixby.
“We had a couple of sessions together and a day up at Fixby itself doing some course mapping [ahead of yesterday], so it is all systems go,” said Sickleholme’s Lilley. “We have several of the team who are members at Huddersfield, so they know the course quite well already.”
Former Yorkshire champion Megan Lockett and Megan Clarke are among a quartet of Huddersfield members alongside Hannah and Georgia Holden, although the latter pair play out of Lightcliffe.
Yorkshire would have had a fifth Fixby player in England Under-16 international Charlotte Heath, but she is sidelined with a wrist injury.
England Under-18 player Nicola Slater (Lindrick) took part in an international training weekend on Saturday, but gained permission from England Golf to head for Huddersfield yesterday to join her 11 Yorkshire team-mates ahead of today’s first fixture against Cumbria.
They follow up with matches against Northumberland tomorrow, Durham on Wednesday, Lancashire on Thursday and Cheshire on Friday. Each match involves three foursomes followed by six afternoon singles.
Regarding the choice of foursomes pairings, Lilley said: “We are fairly lucky in that quite a lot of the players have been in the squad for more than one year and are therefore used to playing with each other, so we have some history there we can fall back on.”
Yorkshire’s squad for Northern Counties Match Week: Megan Clarke and Megan Lockett (Huddersfield), Mia Eales-Smith and Nicola Slater (Lindrick), Megan Garland (Selby), Hannah and Georgia Holden (Lightcliffe), Lily Beth Hirst and Melissa Wood (Woodsome Hall), Olivia Jackson (Pannal), Holly Morgan (Hallamshire), Toni Louise Naylor (Sand Moor).