A review of all the 10-Man League results for matches played on Tuesday 12 April
Lockwood Con 'A' began the defence of their title as the Division 1 10-Man League Champions with their heaviest home defeat for 5 years when newly-promoted Kirkheaton Con 'A' beat them 6-3 on their own green. As a member of that Kirkheaton Con's team, I find it very difficult to be anything but upbeat about the result without over-egging it as the Champions are the yardstick against which all teams are measured and the scalp that everyone wants to take.
The Lockwood Con team have won the League Championship for the last 7 years. They have only lost four home matches in the last 5 years with the last heavier setback being against Waterloo in June 2017 when they went down 2-7. No one is going to write off their chances after just one result but it gives hope to the other Division 1 sides that maybe the balance of power is about to shift, but then again maybe not, as the Champions have been in this situation before and still prevailed.
I do know that this result does raise the expectations of the Kirkheaton Con team as we reappraise our objectives from consolidating our position at the top level but this result will do no harm to the confidence of the team that they are more than capable of operating at this level.
The League table has an upside-down look at the present as last season's top two teams. Lockwood Con 'A' and Elland C&BC 'A', currently occupy the bottom two positions as they both have had bye weeks in the new season programme and so have played a game less than the rest of the teams. However, the fact remains that neither has clocked up a win yet as Elland lost on the opening day of the season.
The win for Kirkheaton Con 'A' was enough to propel them to the top spot and level on points with Marsh United who have started strongly with two wins the latest being by 7-2 away at Meltham who look to be in the same form as last year when they flirted with relegation for much of the season.
Golcar Lib 'A' are the third Division 1 side with two wins from their opening two matches after a 6-3 home win over Rastrick. Newly promoted Lindley BC 'A' collected their first win at this level with a very good 7-2 win over Waterloo and they are clearly going to prove a stubborn force on their own green once again.
First wins of the season also for Lindley Lib 'A' and Clayton West as they both claimed 6-3 home wins to kick-start their seasons.
In Division 2 five teams have collected wins from both their opening two fixtures with newly-promoted Lowerhouses among that pack. They have recruited well during the close season and can expect to be among the front-runners as the season progresses. However, there are four teams above them at present and all were in this division last season with a rejuvenated Milnsbridge 'A' side leading the way after adding a 6-3 away win at Bradley & Colne to their opening day whitewash win. That win was over New Mill 'A' who recovered from their 0-9 drubbing in the best possible fashion with a comprehensive home win 8-1 over Lockwood Con 'B'.
Shepley, Homfirth 'A' and Broad Oak 'A' are all in contention after good home wins to add to the opening day away victories they all enjoyed. There are five teams still looking for their first win of the season and that includes the two teams relegated from Division 1 along with promoted Slaithwaite who will be disappointing their Fantasy League supporters with a second defeat as they begin to realise that the bar has been raised with this higher standard of bowling.
Denby Dale head the Division 3 table after their promotion as Division 4 runners-up last year and a good 7-2 home win, including all three pairs games, this week over the much-fancied Golcar Lib 'B'. Four teams have two wins under their belts so far and they include the new team from Linthwaite Hall and Paddock I&C who dropped a division after relegation last year. Holmfirth 'A' make up that leading quartet just as they did last season with a promise of more of the same to come this time around. Linthwaite Hall had a big win when overcoming a strong Huddersfield Recreation Club team who are widely expected to launch their own challenge for a second successive promotion whilst Paddock won all four singles games on their way to a 7-2 home win over Skel Windmill.
Kirkheaton C&BC 'A' are in a group of four still looking for their first wins of the season and may be facing a second relegation fighting season after losing some of their more experienced bowlers over the past two years. Alongside them are Lindley Lib 'B', Marsh United 'B' and Skel Windmill who will all be looking to put slow starts to the new season behind them sooner rather than later.
Making a strong start in their new surroundings of Division 4 are New Mill 'B' who were promoted as Division 5 runners-up last term. A good 6-3 away win at Almondbury BC 'B' this week enabled them to claim a second win in two games but that still sees them sitting behind Ravensknowle Park in the updated league table. A comprehensive 8-1 away win for the Park at Brockholes 'B' keeping their opponents at the foot of the table and already looking like strong contenders for a second successive relegation.
A 105-105 aggregate draw was sufficient for Outlane to pinch the points 5-4 away at Thongsbridge 'B' and become the third team in this division with two wins under their belt already. Home wins for Meltham 'B', Milnsbridge 'B' and the Rugby Club completed the picture which left three teams at the foot still looking for their first wins of the new season they being Almondbury BC 'B', Primrose Hill Lib and Brockholes 'B'.
Dalton are the only Division 5 side with two wins to date whilst this week's 8-1 win at David Brown Sports hardly tells the story of the match. With an aggregate difference of only 9 points (129-138) it could have been a very different story with just a little bit more of the good fortune rolling the other way. It can be a cruel game but Dalton wont care as they have opened up a 4-point lead over Greenhead Park and Broad Oak 'B' who both had good away wins. The team raising problems that contributed significantly to Netherton Con 'B's relegation last season don't appear to have been resolved as they were a man short at home to Greenhead Park and a predictable 3-6 defeat.
The two Kirkheaton teams had byes last week and started their season's very differently this Tuesday. The Cons 'B' side had an 8-1 home win over an 8-man Hemplow 'B' side whilst the Cricket Club's team went down 2-7 at home to Broad Oak.