Halifax-Huddersfield Union team boss Andy Shaw is hoping that two home outings will give his side a chance to return to winning ways in the Yorkshire Inter-District League.
The representative side will play Leeds at West End on Sunday, August 3 and Bradford at Woodsome Hall a fortnight later.
That follows a 19-17 defeat at the hands of champions Sheffield at Sitwell Park last Sunday when the visitors earned praise from Shaw for a bold showing with a weakened team.
Young Tom Hunt was beaten in the decisive final singles match iand the side’s second defeat of the season by two points - the first was away to York at Malton and Norton - caused further damage to their hopes of matching or improving on last year’s runners-up position.
Sunday’s visitors were hit by three last minute withdrawals with Tom Williams, Adam Colcombe and Hunt coming in for Aaron Schnacke, Dan Hartley and Jake Hamilton.
Bradley Hall’s Shaw said: “This was going to be a hard game anyway, so this made it just that little bit tougher.
“Fortunately we had some quality players that made themselves available at short notice, which was much appreciated.”
Shaw said that it had soon become apparant that home knowledge at Sitwell Park was a big advantage. There were many short par fours with relatively blind tee shots.
The visitors were 8-4 down after the morning foursomes, their points coming from a win by Andy Wilford and Jarrad Hazelden and halves for the Jamie Smith/Richard Broadley and Steve Martin/Graham McLean combinations.
Halifax-Huddersfield faced a massive task to get back into the match against a team with great strength throughout.
However, they were boosted by a good early singles win for Smith and when Martin killed off his match with a superb second shot into the 18th the gap started to narrow.
“With a lot of close matches out on the course it looked like we could possibly get something out of the match,” said Shaw.
Adam Colcombe, who didn’t know he was playing until 9pm on Saturday, pulled off a superb win which showed great character and determination.
More solid successes followed, including a great performance by Andy Wilford, and a good half for Hazelden to top off an excellent debut.
At 17-17 it came down to the last match on the course, which went down to the last hole.
Hunt, one of the area’s up and coming juniors, was one down on the 18th and despite a great effort couldn’t win the last against an opponent who made a solid par.
Shaw added: “There were a lot of positives to take out of the game, including great team spirit from everyone.
“We were out supporting the rest of the players and I was hugely proud of all the players and their efforts on the day. I couldn’t have asked for more from them.”
Sheffield v Halifax-Huddersfield results (Sheffield names first) - foursomes: I Clarke and J Harrison finished all square with J Smith and R Broadley, D Moon and J Perry finished all square with S Martin and G McLean, K Lowe and N Stones lost to A Wilford and M Colcombe and 2 and 1, G Fulwood and N Fell bt A Colcombe and A Shaw 4 and 3, J Gregg and R Hodgkinson bt T Williams and T Hunt 2 and 1.
Singles: J Harrison bt R Broadley (Huddersfield) 3 and 2, D Moon lost to J Smith (Halifax) 2 and 1, N Stones bt G McLean (Meltham) 2 and 1, J Perry lost to S Martin (West End) 2 down, K Lowe lost to M Colcombe (Dewsbury) 1 down, I Clarke bt A Shaw (Bradley Hall) 6 and 4, N Fell lost to A Wilford (Crosland Heath) 3 and 2, B Gill finished all square with J Hazelden (Outlane), G Fullwood bt T Williams (Huddersfield) 2 and 1, J Gregg lost to A Colcombe (Dewsbury) 4 and 3, R Hodgkinson bt T Hunt (Meltham) 2 up.
Woodsome Hall’s Chris Hanson salvaged some pride in Friday’s second round of the Open Championship at Hoylake.
Hanson struggled in Thursday’s first round, shooting 81, but followed up with a creditable 74 to finish 11 over.
Nine players were below him, including Sandy Lyle, winner of the Open at Royal St George’s in 1985 and the Masters at Augusta in 1988.