A twenty month wait for the return of team golf, saw a keen and quietly confident East Riding team assemble at Abbeydale for the opening match of the 2021 season against Sheffield. Andy Lockwood, in his new role as Team Captain (non-playing due to injury), had drafted in some familiar faces from the past, Mark Lamb and Steve Uzzell, as well as up-and-coming U18 player, Tommy Risker and Phil Wright, a former member of the U18 squad, who was making his second appearance for the Men's team more than 15 years after his first.
On the previous day, Abbeydale had been hit by a huge storm, making the course very wet and causing the greenstaff to cut the holes on high spots to guard against the greens flooding in the event of a repeat performance from the weather. This made it tricky to get the ball in close and even some short puts were not conceded. As it turned out, the rain stayed away and targetted Doncaster instead.
In the morning, the foursomes were evenly balanced at halfway. Apart from the top match, where Sheffield had established a three hole lead, all the matches were close, with East Riding 1 up in matches 2, 3 and 4 and 1 down in the final two. Sheffield duly took the top match by 4&3 but Jack Maxey & Matty Raybould in match 2 levelled the score with a win by the same margin. Match 3 saw a reversal with Sheffield winning by 2&1 but Leigh Gawley and Steve Lynch countered with victory on the final green. Match 5 went to Sheffield by 3&2 and the final match, featuring Mark Lamb and Andy Woodhead, looked to be East Riding's, with the pair 1 up and on the final green in regulation when the opponents chipped in to win the hole and square the match.
Foursomes score: Sheffield 7, East Riding 5
The afternoon singles started well for East Riding with wins in the top two matches , 4&2 for Nick Raybould and 3&1 for Steve Uzzell, whilst Jack Maxey at match 3 came in with a half. Poor Matty Raybould at match 4 caught a tiger by the tail and was beaten 6&5, despite shooting 11 straight pars. Jamie Gregory battled hard but went down 2&1, whilst Amateur Champion, Steve Lynch secured a win on the final green.
At this point, with half the singles matches complete, the overall match score was tied. However, matches 7, 8 and 9 were all won by Sheffield, giving them an unbeatable tally and when the final three matches were shared, it was Sheffield that took the spoils, for a ninth consecutive time!
Tommy Risker was cross with himself for letting a two hole advantage slip in his halved match whilst Mark Lamb in the final match, with both teams watching on, thought he had won it for East Riding when he holed for a winning birdie on the final green.
Andy Woodhead was probably the unluckiest player on the day. Having been denied victory in the morning by that last hole chip in, his three foot put on the 10th in the afternoon, hit the pin full on and bounced out. He lost the hole and went on to lose the match 1 down!
Singles score: Sheffield 14, East Riding 10
Overall score: Sheffield 21, East Riding 15