BRADFORD bid to consolidate their place among the early pace-setters for the Yorkshire Inter-District Union crown when they take on Harrogate at Otley Golf Club tomorrow.

A 19-17 win over Halifax-Huddersfield at Cleckheaton saw Martin Gaffney's side open their account last time out after losing to defending champions Sheffield in their opening game.

Even at such an early stage in the campaign, victory was essential if Bradford want to be in the mix for honours.

Skipper Gaffney acknowledged as such as he said: "After losing the opening fixture to a strong Sheffield team, it was important to battle for the win at Cleckheaton.

"With three more home ties to come, should another Union provide an upset against Sheffield, we can still challenge for the title."

Bradford's success over Halifax-Huddersfield went down to the wire, with host club player Andy Busfield securing the points with a half on the last green in the final match.

After the home side had edged an even morning foursomes session 7-5, Woodhall Hills youngster Ben Rhodes got them off to a flier by winning the first singles match.

He beat the visitors' current matchplay champion Chris Lander, birdieing the last to win two up.

Rhodes had stepped in for Terry Brushwood, who was out with a sore back, as Bradford's lead-out man and Gaffney said: "This was the second occasion Ben has led the singles and risen to the challenge successfully."

Chris Green and George Grant suffered defeats before Bingley St Ives' Darren Rands, who recently regained his amateur status, produced a solid 2&1 win.

Reigning Bradford Open champion Jordan Clements followed up with a one-hole victory and although Mark Birkett lost 2&1, Rob Hillas overcame the disappointment of his foursomes defeat with Gaffney to secure a 3&1 victory.

The Bradford skipper lost his game but Cleckheaton's Oliver Tasker – who is leading the Captain's Salver with a maximum 24 points from two games – maintained his unbeaten record with a two-hole triumph.

Dane Bairstow's 3&2 defeat meant the match would hinge on the final two games down the last, which were both all square.

Jamie Lavin halved his game with a solid par, leaving Busfield to do the same and seal victory.

Bradford have made three changes to their line-up to face Harrogate, with Brushwood, Rob Malloy and Marc Read coming in for Birkett, Hillas and Gaffney.

Harrogate have lost their opening matches to York (21-15) and East Riding (22-14).

Bradford team to face Harrogate: Dane Bairstow (West Bradford), Terry Brushwood (Bingley St Ives), Andy Busfield (Cleckheaton), Jordan Clements (Northcliffe), George Grant (Bradford), Chris Green (Cleckheaton), Jamie Lavin (Cleckheaton), Rob Malloy (Northcliffe), Darren Rands (Bingley St Ives), Marc Read (Woodhall Hills), Ben Rhodes (Woodhall Hills), Oliver Tasker (Cleckheaton).