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Division 1 title race hots up

Veterans League

Preview of fixtures in the 10-Man League scheduled for Tuesday 2 August

A full Tuesday fixture programme with no chance of a heatwave to disrupt proceedings but plenty of opportunities for teams to disrupt table leaders. Let's see what could happen this week.

In Division 1 the leaders of a congested top half with 9 points between the top 8 teams are Elland C&BC 'A' and they entertain a Rastrick side that are not the best of travellers but they did take the reverse fixture 6-3 in May. The Elland team is on a run of six straight wins and returned to the top of the table following their Friday 8-1 home win over Cowcliffe.

Golcar Lib 'A' sit second but level on points with the leaders separated only by a 13-point aggregate difference. They also have a home match against Marsh United 'A' who they beat 7-2 away from home earlier in the season and it is worth noting that they are the only remaining team in the division with an unbeaten home record.

Two teams that have featured near the top of the table all season both need to win to retain that interest and the Waterloo v Cowcliffe encounter should favour the home side although Cowcliffe did win the reverse fixture 8-1 in May.

The two Lindley teams sit precariously in the bottom two places and they will both be keen to reduce the widening gap to safety with home matches this week. The Lindley BC 'A' side have Kirkheaton Con 'A' as visitors and fortunes have differed since they both came up together from Division 2 at the end of last season with the Lindley

team currently on a run of 13 consecutive defeats. Lockwood Con 'A' go to play Lindley Lib 'A' concluding a run of three consecutive away games having lost the previous two but the Lindley Lib side are in serious trouble as well having one win in their last 7 fixtures.

Meltham have lost all six of their away games this season and with 6 of their remaining 9 matches being away from home will be looking to break that record sooner rather than later. That is a big ask this week at the renowned homers at Clayton West.

Almondbury BC 'A' have lost 4 of their last 7 Division 2 matches which has severely damaged their promotion aspirations as they have dropped out of the promotion places but still well in touch and nothing that a couple of big wins cannot fix. This week they have to go to Lockwood Con 'B' who have their own problems as they are back in the relegation places after losing their last 3 matches. The Almondbury team are 2 points behind Lowerhouses and 2 points in front of Netherton Con 'A' who meet this week With 3 good wins behind them and a 6-1 home win record Lowerhouses are justified in having the confidence of building on that record and improving their placing this week.

Milnsbridge 'A' became the first League team to pass the 100-points marker this season last week but now have to travel to Broad Oak 'A' who won all 7 of their home fixtures this season to present a strong opponent but their 15-points lead cannot be breached this week.

Another team with a 100% home win record is New Mill 'A' so Bradley & Colne will be very wary of that record this Tuesday as New Mill are the team immediately below them in the table and they are on a run of 7 wins in their last 8 matches which includes wins over the top two teams in the division.

Having lost their last 6 matches Thorpe Green are in free fall and 19 points adrift of this week's opponents Hemplow 'A'. Slaithwaite could lift themselves well away from relegation fears with a home tie against bottom of the table Brcokholes 'A'.

Only one win in their last 6 matches for Shepley has got them looking over their shoulder at the chasing pack and if they don't win their home match against Thongsbridge 'A' this week then they could find themselves in serious trouble if that 17-point buffer starts to slip.

There is a hint of its now or never for third-placed Skel Windmill in Division 3 when they go to top of the table Linthwaite Hall looking for points to bridge an 8-point difference that there is between them and a promotion place. Seven of their last 10 fixtures are away from home and with only one win on the road to date it is clear where the improvements have to come if they are to promote a serious title challenge and what better place to start than at the home of the leaders. Skel Windmill are on the same 59 points total as Golcar Lib 'B' and Holmfirth 'A' who play Almondbury Lib (away) and Kirkheaton C&BC 'A' (at home) respectively and like the Skelmanthorpe team really need to start clocking up some big wins if they are to remain in the title and promotion race.

The Huddersfield Recreation Club with only one away win this season really don't have the appearance of a team about to trouble second-placed Denby Dale on their own green.

There is a crunch match at the foot of the table as Marsh United 'B' (2nd from bottom on 41 pts) are at home to Lindley Lib 'B' (3rd from bottom on 46 pts) and the bottom two teams both need Lindley Lib 'B' to be pegged back before the gap becomes too wide to recover from. Springwood with only two wins all season and with Paddock I&C (5th from bottom on 51 pts) are their visitors and anything less than a big win could be catastrophic for them.

There are only 10 points between the top five teams in Division 4 and with the three leaders all playing away this week it presents an opportunity for the Rugby Club (4th) and Elland C&BC 'B' (5th) to close that gap as they go head-to-head. Unfortunately for those two teams the top three are playing the bottom three so any celebration of a win against their closest rivals may be shortlived.

The top 3 v bottom 3 matches see the leaders, Ravensknowle Park, at Thongsbridge 'B' who are bottom; 2nd placed Meltham 'B' are at Almondbury BC 'B' and Lindley BC 'B' are at Brockholes 'B'.

Division 5 leaders Kirkheaton Con 'B' have only lost once this season so far and that was the second week of the season away at Broad Oak 'B' when they lost the aggregate by one point (121-122) to go down 3-6. That still rankles with the team and they will be well motivated to address that situation when the teams meet again this Tuesday.

Dalton and Marsh Lib are both level on 55 points which makes them 15 points behind the leaders although Marsh Lib do have a match in hand over their two rivals. This week they are at home to lowly Hemplow 'B' and will expect to reclaim second spot as Dalton have a bye week.

David Brown Sports have won their last two matches and if they take that form into their home fixture against bottom of the table Holmfirth 'B' where a big win could push them right in among the promotion hopefuls.

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