UNFANCIED Halifax have won the Yorkshire Inter District competition for the first time since it became a one-day event in 2005.
They were successful at Wakefield on Sunday when their outstanding player on the day, Elland WMC’s John Armitage, won the last individual contest on the Horbury WMC green by 21-13 to give them a 174-166 final success over the East Coast.
The climax to the event didn’t finish until 10.20, making it a very long day for a Halifax side who had looked set to make an early exit when they lost their first group match 187-173 to West Riding at Horbury.
A disastrous 21-3 defeat for Paul Demetriades threatened to cost them dear and at that stage Castleford were hot favourites to progress from the group, having already beaten the West Riding 198-161 in the opening contest.
Keith Hatzer’s Halifax side knew they needed to beat Castleford by more than 25 to progress - a very tall order indeed - but they came out on top 181-152 with Richard Hobson, Robert Holmes, Robert Hitchen and Armitage restricting their opponents to 10 chalks or less.
That put Halifax into the semi-final against hosts Wakefield at Wakefield Thornes. Home teams have a good record of making the most of their green knowledge in this event, since it switched from being a league competition played on Friday evenings, but Halifax came out on top 170-159. They had six of the 10 winners and Martin Griffiths’ thumping 21-5 triumph was vital.
Because the event was running late, it was decided to switch the final to Horbury and a close contest ensued. The teams each had five winners but handsome successes for Hitchen, Gordon Bradford and Griffiths paved the way for Armitage to win his fourth match of the day and seal the triumph.
Hatzer said it had been a tremendous team effort from Halifax, who had been much less fancied than Huddersfield, Leeds, Bradford, West Riding and the hosts.
“I think it helped that we picked the team from two clubs (Elland WMC and Hill Crest) and several of the players had also bowled together for Calderdale,” he said.
“It was close all day but our team spirit helped us pull through.”
HALIFAX RESULTS (Halifax names first) - Halifax 173 West Riding 187: R.Holmes 16 M.Bramhall 21, S.Haynes 15 M.Foulton 21, P.Demetriades 3 M.Sweeney 21, M.regan 21 J.Hepworth 17, R.Hitchen 16 R.Brook 21, G.Bradford 21 F.Griffin 18, R.Hobson 18 R.Mosley 21, J.Armitage 21 M.Sykes 13, M.Griffiths 21 G.Hirst 15, J.Senior 21 A.Sykes 19.
Halifax 181, Castleford 152: M.Regan 21 M.Lewis 17, R.Hitchen 21 M.Brain 10, R.Holmes 21 P.Thomas 8, S.Haynes 15 R.Robbins 21, P.Demetriades 13 S.Williams 21, J.Armitage 21 C.Newton 10, R.Hobson 21 R.Thomas 6, J.Senior 21 J.Webster 17, G.Bradford 11 N.Webster 21, M.Griffiths 16 S.Thompson 21.
Semi-final - Halifax 179, Wakefield 159: R.Hitchen 21 K.Burns 10, R.Holmes 21 J.Evison 16, R.Hobson 17 D.Cowsill 21, S.haynes 10 J.Whiteley 21, G.Bradford 13 J.Dodding 21, P.Demetriades 13 S.Fisher 21, J.Armitage 20 I.Shuttleworth 20, M.Griffiths 21 J.Mordue 5, J.Senior 21 J.Normanton 10, M.Regan 21 D.Atkinson 14.
Final - Halifax 174, East Coast 166: R.Hobson 16 A.Landers 21, R.Holmes 21 K.Gates 15, S.Haynes 14 D.Lowe 21, R.Hitchen 21 T.Coyne 12, P.Demetriades 17 G.Watson 21, G.Bradford 21 M.Trotter 12, J.Senior 10 D.Pryce 21, M.Griffiths 21 M.Gates 9, M.Regan 12 D.Cooper 21, J.Armitage 21 A.Deighton 13.
GRAEME Wilson returns to his home town on Sunday (5.30) for the next qualifier in the Elland CA and BC Open competition.
Brighouse Sports pair Tony Riley and Chris Mordue are also involved but there are two vacancies and six for the following weekend.
Anyone wishing to play should contact Barry Nicholl on 07710 633153.
The latest two players through to the final on Sunday, Septrember 11 are Welsh pair Nick Hughes and Kevin Williams.
Hughes beat Dean Ferris 21-7 and Williams accounted for John Bailey by 21-14.
BRIGHOUSE Sports' Chris Mordue is through to the final of the Spen Masters on Saturday, September 3.
He came through the latest qualifying heat alongside Gerwin Davies from Wrexham.
The field for next Saturday (6.0) includes Halifax pair Graham Hickey and David Scott, Brighouse's Danny Fountain and Sowerby bridge's Philip Holroyd.
SATURDAY'S RESULTS: T.Riley (Brighouse) 15 I.Riss (Sheffield) 21, I.Nicholson (Kendal) 20 G.Nicholson (Halifax) 21, G.Davies (Wrexham) 21 P.Chamberlain (Anglesey) 13, C.Newton (Wakefield) 21 J.Dyson (Huddersfield) 17, R.Nicholson (Halifax) 16 R.Jackson (Sheffield) 21, R.Crowther (Huddersfield) 7 P.Rooks (Bradford) 21, C.Chamberlain (Anglesey) 21 J.Webster (Wakefield) 20, N.Cranston (Leeds) 18 C.Mordue (Brighouse) 21.
Ross 21 G.Nicholson 12, Davies 21 Newton 16, Jackson 12 Rooks 21, Chamberlain 16 Mordue 21.
Ross 17 Davies 21, Rooks 9 Mordue 21.
SATURDAY'S LINE-UP: D.Walker (Leeds) v D.Scott (Halifax), A.Mailer (Sheffield) v J.Beecham (Wirrall), N.Hughes (Wrexham) v D.Fountain (Brighouse), J.Fitzpatrick (Wirrall) v T.King (Blackpool), S.Watson (Pudsey) v M.Hughes (Leeds), D.Jones (Wrexham) v G.Hickey (Halifax), A.Tattersley (Huddersfield) v P.Holroyd (Sowerby Bridge), Matt Beever (Sheffield) v R.Fitzpatrick (Wirrall).