South Bradford's stellar year
South Bradford – Scot Minto, Captain Andy Crowe, Andy Busfield and (front)
Archie Rowntree and Oliver Tasker
There can’t have been many sports teams – let alone in golf – who found themselves celebrating an 8-0 defeat in their final match of the season.
The gallant golfers of South Bradford were though, when despite losing by that margin at Bingley St Ives, they landed a first-ever Bradford Union Division One Scratch title.
“We’d gone into the final match leading Northcliffe by a single point,” explained 2023 Captain Andy Crowe. Both teams were unbeaten in their previous nine matches.
“Our last man Andy Busfield was all square coming down 18, but we’d already got word that Northcliffe had also lost 8-0 at Cleckheaton. Buzzy lost his match but it didn’t matter, we were champions. I guess it goes to show what nerves can do to you!”
The title capped a stand-out year for the 9-hole club located just below Bradford Bulls’ Odsal Stadium.
The scratch team began the year in the Yorkshire Union’s Division Six and managed successive promotions to Division Three, winning the Division Five title at Hallowes on the way.
They won the Bradford Union’s 9-hole club championship at Bradford Moor, Busfield and Tasker paired up to win a Union 4BBB medal at Northcliffe and are one win from the Division pairs finals at Cleckheaton in September. In addition, Karl Fawcett was best gross in the Union’s 8-15 competition at West Bradford.
Captain Crowe put much of the success down to the friendly and supportive club environment, although there was a significant recruitment involved.
South Bradford share their club professional Gareth Moore with another 9-hole club Hanging Heaton.
“Unlike some clubs who have a number of scratch golfers to call upon, we’ve often had to field players on a 5 or 6 handicap, although we’ve managed to stay in Division One for 12 years,” said Andy.
“Our core team is our stalwart Andy Busfield, Oliver Tasker and a junior in Archie Rowntree. Talking with
Gareth, the idea came up to recruit Scot Minto from Hanging Heaton [who are in the Halifax/Huddersfield Union], and he was really keen. We wouldn’t want to ‘poach’ a player from a club within our own union.”
Crowe, who has followed the scratch team for some years, also wanted to make sure there was plenty of sup- port out on the course.
“I thought it would be good to ensure the lads had caddies in their matches. Big thanks are due to Simon O’Brian, Shaun Gutsel, Craig Boldy, Peter Pilgrim, Luke Fawcett and Simon Fagin – they have been a big part of the team.
“It’s a really friendly club that gives everyone a chance. This success hasn’t happened overnight.”
South Bradford also won Division A of the Lawrence Batley Seniors League this season.
“A lot of people have contributed to us getting here,” Andy added. “I’d like to think that as we celebrated the scratch win, our late and great clubmates Malcolm Yarnold, TP O’Reilly and Karl Curran were up there somewhere, smiling down on us.
“It’s made for a fantastic year and I’d like to thank Past Captain Paul Haigh and the committee for their vote of confidence in me and what we’re doing.”
PS: For good measure, just before YG went into production, Oliver Tasker won the Yorkshire Order of Merit event at Bingley St Ives, shooting -6 over the two rounds to win by two shots from Habib Khan.
“The trophies just keep coming,” said his delighted club skipper.