YORKSHIRE captain Darryl Berry hopes his strong line-up can produce a fitting tribute to Tony Grayson on Saturday by beating Lancashire to retain the Northern Counties League title on the former county selector’s home course, Lindrick.
Grayson, one of the White Rose’s best known and highly respected administrators, and captain of Lindrick during this, their 125th anniversary year, died in July.
“We would like to win the league this year at Lindrick, especially with losing Tony Grayson,” said Berry.
“Obviously he was chairman of selectors for Yorkshire and he was a big part of my golfing life.
“Tony caddied for Graeme Clark, who I played with in the foursomes, and he was always a good person to have around. It would be very fitting to win the title at Lindrick. His death was a tragedy. Hopefully we can do him proud.”
Yorkshire, for whom a win by any margin will confirm successive championship triumphs, have two English champions in their ranks – Brabazon Trophy holder Jamie Bower (Meltham) and English men’s amateur champion Dan Brown (Masham).
England B international Will Whiteoak (Shipley), and Hull’s Steve Robins – who was within a play-off at Hillside of qualifying for this year’s Open – also return to the side, as does Hallamshire’s Alex Fitzpatrick, leading points scorer for Great Britain & Ireland in the Jacques Leglise Trophy match against Europe at Prince’s last week.
Their availability has led to the difficult decision of who makes way, and Berry admits to it being the toughest part of his role.
“Among those I’ve had to leave out are a couple of really experienced players in Martin Brown (Pike Hills) and Jamie Harrison (Rotherham), who have got really good records for us, and are fantastic team men,” said Berry.
“I feel really bad for them guys, but it’s just one of those things where some players are just performing a little bit better than others at the minute. But they are part of it and they have helped get us to this position.
“But obviously we have to find a space for Jamie Bower, we have to find a space for Dan Brown, Will Whiteoak, Steve Robins – they are all England players or near England players, and I’ve got Alex Fitzpatrick back too.
“I’ve got probably my strongest team for a long, long time, but Lancashire have a good, experienced line-up, too.”
Last year Yorkshire needed a helping hand from Cheshire on the final day, their win over Lancashire and the White Rose victory against Durham proving a winning combination for Berry’s side.
This time around, Yorkshire have their destiny in their control, a fact welcomed by Berry.
”It’s pretty simple really – win and the title’s ours,” said Berry. “It’s as simple as, which is a nice position to be in, not having to wait on other results like last year where if we won it depended on how Lancashire got on.
“If we win, we win - it’s as good as it can be.
“Obviously it’s a big match, the White Rose versus the Red Rose, and it’s the biggest one out there for us in the Northern Counties League and I think most of the players know that, and will want to get one over on Lancashire.”
Berry is hopeful that golfers from around the county will head for Lindrick and support the team in their title bid.
The six foursomes matches get underway at 9.30am and the 12 singles at 1.30pm.