Aye, aye, Skipper!
Leeds District and Yorkshire Union stalwart David Appleyard is the man chosen to inherit the mantle of long- serving County Men’s captain Darryl Berry. Berry led Yorkshire to seven consecutive Northern Counties titles before stepping down last year. In his place comes the long-time South Leeds but now Howley Hall man who knows full well what the job entails, with 69 appearances for Yorkshire in addition to 87 for the Leeds Union, where he was the first man to do the treble back in 2000 – winning the Leeds Strokeplay, Matchplay and Golfer of the Year titles in 2000. He also broke the course record when winning the Nelson Grimshaw Classic at Garforth in 2003, a time when his handicap almost reached +2 – his lowest. He won the Yorkshire Amateur title in 2004. Still a +1 golfer, Appleyard has worked since leaving education at the National Centre for Atmospheric Science based at Leeds University, a department associated to such institutions as the British Antarctic and Geological Surveys. You might not have to be a rocket scientist to captain a golf team, but if you did – well the married father of a sporty 11-year- old son, might just be your man! A south Leeds local and member at the now-closed course since he was nine, Appleyard was a director at the club when it closed and along with 50 or so members made the switch to nearby Howley Hall, where he subsequently became club champion in 2021. Conversations about possibly taking over when Darryl Berry stepped down had taken place for some time, before he was formally appointed by the YUGC on Monday February 6. Of the new role he said: “It’s a massive job, but we have a lot of talented players and they know how to win. I have to make sure they are prepared and that they know what the expectations are. “Our next step has to be to get back to the national finals and win there – like every new football manager, you have to aim as high as possible. “We have a lot of talent but that talent will get drained with England call ups and top amateur events, so we have got to have a good squad and pool of players to call on. “It’s not going to be as if we can just call on them [elite players] so we need our depth of talent and indeed find other players who can step up. It’s a really exciting prospect.” One player Appleyard is sorry he won’t get to work with is fellow Howley Hall man Tom North, who has made the decision to turn pro for 2023. The county skipper is predicting big things however, as North looks to follow in the footsteps of fellow Howley Hall tour winners Marcus Armitage and Daniel Gavins. “Tom’s a great talent, so it’s a shame he won’t play for me this year, but he has got massive potential and I think he’ll do every bit as well as such as Dan Bradbury and Dan Gavins. I really can see him going on to great things.” For now however, all eyes are on the talent available for Yorkshire’s campaign for 2023 and step one – continuing Darryl Berry’s domination of the Northern Counties – starting with a group coaching day at Sandburn Hall on February 10.