Review of matches played 17 August 2021
Division 1 title challengers and favourites, Lower Hopton 'A', had their league encounter with Ossett Flying Horse 'A' postponed on Tuesday due to a COVID incident that threatens to derail their title challenge. They now have to play two home games on the same day to complete their fixture programme within the date period allowed. So next Tuesday they will first of all play that outstanding match against foot-of-the-table Ossett Flying Horse with a 3:00pm start time. Then in the normal Tuesday evening slot they take on 3rd placed Pudsey 'A' in a match that could see them clinch the Championship title. Currently Lower Hopton 'A' sit two points behind the leaders and defending Champions, Thongsbridge C&BC 'A', who were beaten at Pudsey 'A' last week 4-8 to undermine their defence of the title. It is really tight at the top with 3 points separating the top 3 teams with Lower Hopton 'A's match in hand probably the deciding factor. Crossgates 'A' in 4th place will consider themselves to also be in the race for honours as they have to play the top two teams in their final two matches and could become the real party-poopers although they will be disappointed not to be nearer than the 7 points they are behind the leaders after an 8-4 home win over lowly Denby Grange 'A' this week. Those 4 points for Denby Grange weren't enough to move them out of the relegation places as Lower Hopton 'B' got 5 points from their trip to Crosland Moor to open a precious 2-point gap between themselves and the drop zone.
With Division 2 leaders Kirkheaton Con 'A' winning 10-2 at home against Pudsey 'B' and their two prime challengers both losing they now need 16 points from their final two games to guarantee the title. However an even lower points total could suffice as those two nearest challengers, Alverthorpe 'A' and Woodlands Park, meet each other next week and both will have been disappointed with this week's results as both went down 4-8 away from home to Whitkirk and Eccleshill respectively. The defeat for Pudsey 'B' was compounded by the 4 teams immediately above them all winning and they drop into the relegation places as a result. Brighouse vacated the 2nd relegation place by beating bottom team The Harold Club 'A' 9-3 away from home to renew their hopes and bid in avoiding a second consecutive relegation.
With Horbury and Milnsbridge 'A' both already relegated from Divison 3 the focus is on the tussle at the top and the top three contenders didn't disappoint as they all recorded double-figure wins to preserve the status quo for another week. Dodworth are 6 points clear after an 11-1 home win over Milnsbridge 'A' a scoreline matched by 2nd in the table Shipley at home to already relegated Horbury but their game in hand could be a key factor in determining the destination of the 2021 title. A 10-2 home win for Cleckheaton Sports 'A' retained their interest in the second promotion spot for at least another week.
Division 4 leaders Thornhill C&BC may be disappointed at their 5-7 result away at Ossett Flying Horse 'B' but with one match left to play may actually discover that it could be a sufficient contribution to clinch the title. With a 13 point lead and one match left to play at home to Spen Vistoria 'B' whereas their nearest challengers, Farsley BC, have two remaining fixtures but they are versus the two teams immediately below them in the table which leaves Thornhill as favourites to clinch the title in my eyes. In fact Farsley could possibly lose their 14 point lead in the race for the 2nd promotion spot as Lowerhouses and Kirkheaton Con 'B' are both on that mark and both have to meet Farsley yet and both have a bottom two side in their other remaining fixture. It could go the way of either and may yet see Farsley as Champions or alternatively out of the promotion places altogether. The relegation fight is also going to go to the last week with Mirfield Old Bank at real risk of dropping down a level as they have to play both of the bottom sides who will be really up for the challenge.
Morton House are the Division 5 title winners after their 10-0 whitewash win over second-placed Heckmondwike put them out of reach of their predators. That result was a blow to Heckmondwike's promotion hopes as Almondbury Lib took over the second promotion place despite going down 3-7 at Alverthorpe 'B'. Interestingly both promotion contenders now have to play the bottom two teams in their final two games of the season and the current one-point difference between them could soon become worthless or priceless. A 7-3 home win for Marsh United over Cleckheaton Sports coupled with The Harold Club's 7-3 home win over bottom team Cowcliffe means there are still 3 points between these two teams still fighting to avoid taking the 2nd relegation place although Longwood will be anxious observers if they lost to Marsh United next week as they have to go to the title winners in the final match of the season.
Any one of the top four teams can still claim the Division 6 title with the outcome of the 20 July fixture between Milnsbridge 'B' and Netherton Con still not determined but key to sorting out the honours situation. Regardless of all that this week's results significantly enhanced the title chances of current leaders Thongsbridge C&BC 'B' after they beat Grange Moor 9-1 at home whilst their two main challengers both lost their away games. Second-placed Golcar Lib going down 4-6 at Rastrick and Thorpe Green 'A' losing out 3-7 at Bradley & Colne leaving Thongsbridge 'B' with a lead that looks ample especially as their final match will be at home to the bottom team Milnsbridge 'B'.
Shepley won the Division 7 title last week but who gets promoted with them is still to be resolved in a week when unusually 3 of the 4 fixtures went to the away teams on a day when there were only 7 away wins in the whole league programme.. Second-placed Royds Park did all that could be asked of them by beating visitors Broad Oak 'B' 9-1 this week whilst third-placed Springwood 'A' also won with a 6-4 scoreline at bottom team Dalton. 10 points between the two promotion rivals with Springwood having a game in hand and Royds Park having to travel to meet title winners Shepley in their final match means that Springwood have the outcome in their own hands but have to play the two teams immediately below them in the table. Interesting times which like a number of the other divisions mean that it is likely to be the final day of the season before many of these matters are finally resolved.
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