YORKSHIRE overcame the absence of several first-choice players to underscore their strength in depth with a narrow Northern Counties League win over Northumberland at York.
Examinations ruled out the likes of Alex Fitzpatrick and Barclay Brown (Hallamshire) while a handful of players were missing because of a clash with the Scottish Open championship at Western Gailes.
The champions were level at lunchtime after sharing the foursomes session, but found themselves a point adrift with four singles matches out on the course.
In one of those, Lewis Hollingworth (Rotherham) was three down with five to play, but he won 14, 16 and 18 for a pivotal half that meant his experienced club-mate Jamie Harrison was able to lose the last hole and still claim a half that nudged Darryl Berry’s side over the finish line, 9-5-8.5.
Yorkshire were indebted to English men’s amateur champion Dan Brown (Masham), who opted not to play in Scotland because of a busy schedule that will take in both the British and European championships.
Taking a ‘rest’ from his individual commitments did not prevent Brown putting his hand up for White Rose duty.
After winning the opening foursomes match alongside Middlesbrough youngster and debutant James Swash, Brown brought home a half in the top singles battle.
Swash had earned a call-up for his senior bow after placing second to Fitzpatrick in last Wednesday’s Yorkshire Boys’ championship at Harrogate.
He did not disappoint, backing up his victory alongside Brown with a 3&1 singles triumph.
Rotherham’s Richard Jones, after defeat alongside last year’s Yorkshire Boys’ captain Matty Raybould, also lost in the singles, but was presented with an enscribed salver, by Yorkshire Union of Golf Clubs president Alastair Davidson, to mark his 100th appearance for the county.
Yorkshire, who began the defence of their title with a 10.5-7.5 victory against Cheshire at Ganton, have a five-week break before embarking on their first trip of the season, to face Durham at South Shields.
Wath’s Nick Poppleton carried the Yorkshire flag alone into the final two rounds of the Scottish Open championship at Western Gailes and finished a creditable 14th.
County player Poppleton showed great consistency, carding 72 71 71 72.
Dumfries’s Liam Johnston (69 66 69 71) won by two shots to become the first home-born player in almost a decade to claim the title.
Yorkshire champion Ben Hutchinson (Howley Hall) narrowly missed the cut after scores of 73 72.
Others who were unable to progress were Lindrick’s Bailey Gill (71 76), Shipley’s Will Whiteoak (76 69), Moortown’s David Houlding (74 77), David Hague (77 75) and Fulford’s Charlie Thornton (77 78) and Craig Smith (78 84).