A TOUCH of Teesside helped Yorkshire to glory for the first time in the English Senior Men’s County Finals – leaving stand-in captain Tony Greenhalgh beaming with pride.

Greenhalgh, born in Hartlepool but living on the outskirts of Leeds, was asked to lead the team up to Northumberland’s fantastic Goswick Golf Club in the absence of regular captain John Grimbleby.

Yorkshire, who also included Middlesbrough’s Peter Ward in the eight-man squad and he claimed the crucial win in the final game, were crowned champions under his watch by succeeding in the prestigious competition after a hard fought victory over Warwickshire.

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Warwickshire pushed them all the way but Yorkshire pulled out the stops to snatch critical points on the 17th and 18th greens to emerge the 5-4 winners – even if they did have to recover from losing a star man to illness late on.

“It was absolutely fantastic,” said Greenhalgh. “Peter played five of the matches, won four of them and lost one. He’s a typical Boro lad, loves a joke, but is gritty and determined – and that showed by his results.

“Andy King (Garforth) and Johnny Lawrence (Moor Allerton) also won more than they lost to really help the scores, but everyone played their part.

“We did have to shuffle things around on the last day when we had to lose our Home England international Jonathan Plaxton (Fulford).

“Jon had played foursomes on the final morning and the standing joke every day after the morning’s play was to ask ‘how are you are all feeling?’ They would say ‘fine’ because they wanted to play on the afternoon. But on this occasion Jon said he had tummy upset and he was left out. He had to be replaced, but we still managed to deliver the result.

“We are absolutely ecstatic. It’s the first time we have won this trophy and so it’s very special.”

Ward, King, Lawrence and Plaxton were joined in the team by Ian Clarke, Garry Cuthbert, Mark Lawson and Andy Whitworth. The men managed to succeed in the competition they qualified for two years ago but didn’t win.

Greenhalgh was delighted to have been part of it. The seven-handicapper, a former county player himself, stepped in because Grimbleby was unable to lead the team because of family commitments.

“I feel a bit of a fraud because John has captained the team all year,” said Greenhalgh, 71. “But we’re delighted to bring it home for him.”

He added: “We stopped up there four days. It was a great event, well organised by England Golf and Goswick Golf Club. The course was magnificent and the members up there really pulled their socks up and worked hard.”

At the start of the final day’s play Yorkshire were in pole having beaten Sussex and Gloucestershire. They knew a win or a half would guarantee glory.

Yorkshire held a 2-1 lead after the foursomes, helped by gritty play from Cuthbert and Ward, who won despite being one down after 15. As the singles unfolded, Warwickshire took charge and, with six holes played, they trailed in only one game. Andrew Carman kept the momentum going as he eased to a 6&5 win and Tony Allen edged the team ahead when he won on the 17th.

The tension mounted as the final games played out the closing holes. Yorkshire’s Lawrence, who was ahead throughout his game, added his point on the 17th. King waited until the 17th before getting ahead in his game, but held on to claim his 1up win. Warwickshire’s Peter Gordon kept the team tally level when he also won 1up.

The decider was the last game on the course. Rob Soen hit a superb approach into the 18th green which finished about 3ft from the hole, but Ward did even better, playing in to within six inches. It proved to be the winner when Soen’s birdie attempt slipped past.

“It was a very demanding afternoon,” said Greenhalgh. “I kept looking at the scoreboard and Warwickshire were comfortably ahead. But Johnny Lawrence, Andy King and Peter Ward brought in the points when we needed them.”

Sussex finished the championship as runners-up, followed by Warwickshire and then Gloucestershire.