Updated: Dec 11, 2021
I forecast that the gap between the leaders and the chasing pack will narrow considerably this week. I can say that with some confidence as the leaders, Lower Hopton, do not have a game this week as we repeat the opening day set of fixtures. However I can also say that Lower Hopton will remain at the head after this week's matches as they already have an 18-point lead over second-placed Kirkheaton Con. Coupled with the fact that the Con play the New Millers this Wednesday who inflicted an opening day 2-6 loss on them and being just a point difference the incentive is certainly there for both teams.
Lindley BC 'A' currently separate those two teams and are also one-point off second place so they have everything to play for as they take on fifth-placed Clayton West. Looking at how Clayton West performed last season coupled with the quality of bowlers in their squad then I believe that they have underperformed this season and I suspect they feel the same. The halfway point is as good a time as any to address that situation and go in search of more points than accrued in the first half of the season, they are certainly capable of that. If the West has underperformed then Lindley BC 'A' have surpassed their own expectations as they lobbied for a Division 2 place at the start of the season. Time has confirmed that they were put in the right division and are thriving at this level.
The bottom four teams play each other this week and speaking of teams failing to reach expectations then two teams who filled the top two positions in the Milnsbridge Division last year should not be featuring in this relegation battle but they are. Lowerhouses 'A' and Milnsbridge 'A' find themselves in the thick of a three-way tussle with two of the three apparently destined for Division 2 next season. This week Lowerhouses 'A' meet a Rastrick 'A' team still searching for their first win of the season whilst Milnsbridge 'A' meet a Thorpe Green 'A' team desperate for a big win to elevate them into the fight for second place when a defeat could drag them into the relegation battle instead.
Even if Lower Hopton aren't playing this week there is still a very good standard of bowling being played out in a friendly and competitive manner. It all happens from 12noon on Wednesday at Milnsbridge BC when spectators will be made most welcome. Hot drinks and hot and cold refreshments are available to all and the bar is open as usual.