The explosion of interest in the Winter League has led to a third division being created for the 2021-22 season which begins life with a full set of fixtures on Monday starting at 12noon. The expansion of team entries from the 14 that played in the inaugural season to 27 that are starting this year has resulted in the formation of a 3rd Division.
All three divisions have 9 teams with 8 playing every week in each division. The Division 3 matches are all to be played at Thorpe Green on Mondays starting at 12noon. Same format as the other two divisions, 2 Singles and 1 Pairs games, with Division 1 being first out of the blocks last Wednesday with a full fixture programme played out under a blue sky with spectators allowed to be present for the first time.
Four teams in the new Division 3 played in the League last season - Dalton, Huddersfield Recreation Club 'B', Milnsbridge B and Lowerhouses 'B'. So the five new teams experiencing winter bowling for the first time being Brockholes, Springwood B, Rastrick B, Lindley BC 'B' and Thorpe Green 'C'. With the number of new teams and a range of new bowlers involved it is difficult to forecast how they will all perform but hopefully they will all be of similar playing standards to establish a close competition although it is known that some are just here for the experience, they say, but then the competitive element kicks in no doubt at some later stage.
It is known that a number of these teams have a remit from their clubs to introduce as many bowlers as possible to winter bowling so expect a rotation of bowlers to be making up their teams throughout the season and therefore making forecasting results a bit of a lottery. Maybe as the lure of promotion or threat of the wooden spoon comes into focus then maybe the attitude may change but whatever the motive it is still just a game of bowls at the end of the day.
Thorpe Green became the first club to enter three teams in the League and with home advantage but with catering and organisational duties to handle as well it remains to be seen where they end up. As it does for all the teams and we will follow their progress with equal interest as the other divisions right through the season. Playing all their matches on a Monday makes them different as well and offers another opportunity to view for the casual spectator looking for an excuse to get out of the house during the winter months. If you are hoping to witness winter bowling then please support the host clubs by buying a raffle ticket or paying for a cup of tea and help the funding of the competition.