Yesterday I reproduced my 2017 season forecast for the Veterans 6-Man League. Today I record the 2017 review of those two divisions which I am sure will bring back memories for many of you. These are reproductions of articles printed on the old HDVBA website at that time. The callous ones among you may care to compare yesterday's list of division by division tips with the eventual outcome for each listed below which I have included anyhow. Enjoy my embarrassment.
From www.hdvba.co.uk October 2017
My Forecast was ....
FOUR-IN-A-ROW: Longwood DROP DOOMED: Farnley Tyas
The 25-team strong 6-Man League has seen a swing in power with Longwood, Section A winners for the last three years, losing out to a resurgent Lockwood Cons outfit this year. The Cons were top all season but never by more than 7 points which always meant that one bad week would let the 2016 Champions back in and the Cons have spent too many seasons viewing their backs to allow that to happen this time around.
With both the leaders entering the final fortnight with 19-1 win records and the only blemishes being defeats on their prime opponent’s lawn, suddenly Longwood hit a barrier that was Shepley A who overcame them 6-1 to really knock the final nail in their Championship coffin. Longwood were always struggling to catch the leaders up and the count of 7-0 wins involving the two teams explains how that came about. Longwood had just three 7-0 wins all season whereas Lockwood Cons achieved the ultimate scoreline 8 times in total.
That win over Longwood showed what Shepley are capable of but they didn’t show it enough last season with seven defeats in total and finishing in third position. Very similar for Brockholes A who were the only other team besides Longwood to beat the new Champions and that was by 6-1 on the last day of the season. When you drop 6 points to the team that is to finish at the foot of the table then you cannot harbour real hopes of upsetting the order at the top of the table and that final fourth-placed finish, one lower than the previous year, is as good as it is likely to get for Brockholes A.
The two promoted teams can feel very pleased with their seasons with both finishing comfortably in mid-table. Farnley Tyas finished with nine points more than Milnsbridge after a really bad start to their Section A campaign losing their first three matches, two of them to 0-7 against Shepley A and Oakfield T&BC, and they were their only two 0-7 defeats of the season. They did have the top individual bowler in the Section with Pete Rollins having a 13-1 record and he just carried on from where he left off in Section B last year. Milnsbridge in contrast started well enough and only had one 0-7 all season and that was to Longwood which is never a disgrace for any team new to this level.
In between the two newcomers were the perpetual mid-tablers from Paddock I&C and Thongsbridge B locked together on 71 points. Strong as ever on their own unique green, Paddock struggled away from that good home green with their only two away wins coming against the teams to finish in the bottom two places. Interestingly Thongsbridge B lost 5 of their 11 home games which meant that only the bottom two had worse home records.
Clayton West had their worst final position for some years which was somewhat compensated for by an appearance in the Julie Fuller Trophy Final. Things could have been worse as the second half of the season was disappointing as they lost 7 of the last 11 games. Almondbury Lib flirted with relegation by losing 4 of their final 6 fixtures to tease the bottom two who failed to take advantage.
So Oakfield T&BC and Primrose Hill Lib can have few complaints about the outcome which sees them both stepping down a level next year. They each managed a single win in the second half of the season and there was not even a sniff of great escape for either. Pip Hill lost their first nine games and never got off the foot of the table all season whilst Oakfield were in the bottom three throughout. Time to drop a level, regroup and look forward to a better season next year.
My forecast was .... CHAMPIONS-IN-WAITING: Meltham WOODEN SPOONERS: Greenhead Park
Another Section battle that went down to the last day of the season as Crosland Moor without a final day fixture could only look on as Netherton Con took the four points and more that they needed to go above them and take the title. The top four all finished with 11-1 home records and there was only one win between them in their away records but there was 15 points total between first and fourth. The team with most 7-0 scorelines was Netherton Con with four and those extra points went a long way to claiming their first ever Section 2 title. However that is some way from their best ever season in 2003 when they took the Section A Championship for the only time. This was a huge leap from their 2016 finishing position of fourth from bottom so great progress for them.
Crosland Moor were relegated last season so a quick return is especially welcome and they can look to their strong pairs combinations which saw them having the top two pairs bowlers in the Section. Skel Windmill were well positioned to take one of the promotion places with four games to go. Three of those games were against the three other top teams in the Section but it was the fourth fixture, but first in this final sequence, which proved to be their undoing. A home fixture against lowly Hemplow should have been the winning platform from which they would launch their promotion push but inexplicably they lost 1-6 at home. That really knocked the stuffing out of them and they lost more points than they gained in the other three matches to miss out by three points.
Golcar Lib will rue their only two 0-7 away defeats against Hemplow and Holmfirth which they would consider avoidable and critical in the final count-up. Meltham were not involved in a 7-0 scoreline either way all season and the absence of winning-to-nil contributed to a disappointing campaign to return to the top flight at the first attempt. Holmfirth were capable of mixing with the best of teams as wins over both the promoted pair shows but they were inconsistent especially against lower placed teams they would expect to beat.
Shepley B and Hemplow both had 12-12 win records and predictably they finished up in mid-table. But whilst Hemplow were always capable of producing a surprise result Shepley were the opposite, seemingly content to know their place and determined to stay there. Both teams will look back at home points dropped as being key to further advancement which is unusual as both their away records were most commendable.
Lindley BC had a really good first season in the 6-man league and started at a great pace in winning four of their first five fixtures to raise expectations and that run included a win away at Champions to-be Netherton Con. Reality moved in and they lost 5 of their final 6 matches but finished in a most satisfying ninth position.
A disaster of a season for Brockholes B with just two wins all year, the last of those being on 8 May followed by 18 straight league defeats. Unsurprisingly with that kind of record they finished at the bottom of the table which was a surprise after an 8th place final finish the previous year. The three teams immediately above them occupied the last three spots last year so will not regard the season as a significant improvement.
Looking on the positive side all three, Greenhead Park, Lindley Lib and Thongsbridge A, had greater points totals than last year and all had identical 8-16 win-lose records although there was a gap of 11 points between them. In addition each of them beat a top three team so demonstrating the potential. The second half of the season progress of Thongsbridge A is notable after losing their first 8 matches and still finishing ninth.
A full list of top bowlers in each Section follows but worthy of note is the fact that New Mill had the top singles bowlers in Sections 3 and 5; Milnsbridge A had the top singles and top pairs bowler in section 1; New Mill A also had the top four pairs bowlers in Section 3 and Almondbury BC B had the top three singles bowlers in Section 4. One 20-game unbeaten season-long individual record to report on as well from M. Chapman for New Mill B. Well done to all names mentioned and all those who feature in these lists.
That hopefully sums up 2017, apologies for any notable achievements or acts of negligence that I missed. Look out for the 2018 preview next March when I set myself up for season-long harassment and ridicule by going public with my selections of those teams that, in my opinion, are bang on for the 2018 titles, promotion and relegation. Will I never learn?