East Riding sink to foot of table after York loss
EAST Riding Union's search for a victory goes on after a convincing 24-12 defeat by York at Flaxby Park, which leaves them bottom of the table.
These are frustrating times for team manager Andy Woodhead (Brough) in his first season in post, given national and county demands are depriving him of his leading players and preventing him from forming a settled and experienced squad.
The York match saw Woodhead having to cope with the non-availability of Paul Lockwood (Hessle), Matt Daley (Hainsworth Park), Alan Wright (Hessle), Steve Robins (Hull) and Andy Lockwood (Hessle), plus the Beverley pair of Neil Burnley and Union amateur champion Richard Norton having ruled themselves out for the season.
Despite the enthusiasm of their young replacements, the loss of such experienced players leaves a huge hole to fill.
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Woodhead certainly endeavoured to set the example on the course registering two wins when teaming up with teenager Joe Coyle (Burstwick) for a convincing 5 and 4 victory in the foursomes, then accounting for Fulford's Rob Moore by 2 and 1 in the singles.
Finding themselves with a four- point deficit after the morning foursomes the fast start required in the afternoon singles to make up lost ground just did not happen.
Despite battling halved matches by Luke Robinson (Hornsea) against Martin Brown (Pike Hills) and Steve Pybus (Scarborough North Cliff) against Craig Smith (Pike Hills), plus Woodhead's win, and victories for Michael Helyard (Beverley) and a splendid debut win for Yorkshire Under-16 champion Harry Woollfall (Hessle), York proved to have too much strength in depth and took the singles 16-8 and the match 24-12.
Reflecting on the defeat, Woodhead said: "With the loss of experienced players we called on the services of four young men.
"It was a big ask and they will have benefited from the experience gained.
"I will certainly be using some of them in the next match as we will again be missing some team regulars.
"I was particularly impressed with Joe Coyle, who partnered me in the foursomes, and Harry Woolfall, who had a great singles win.
"We are paying the price of previous success with our top players raising their sights and striving to impact on the national scene.
"Whilst their loss weakens the side, it also provides an opportunity for those players coming through to impress."
East Riding now languish at the foot of the Yorkshire Inter-Union District League, being the only side without a point.
The Union's next match on Sunday, July 8 will be a stern test, albeit on home ground at Bridlington (Belvedere) when they face league leaders Sheffield.