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Divisions 3, 4 & 5 Previewed

Veterans League

A preview of the fixtures in Divisions 3, 4 & 5 of the 10-Man League for Tuesday 9 April

There is one new team in the 10-Man League this season and that comes from Elland WMC. They have been placed in Division 3 to replace Bradley & Colne who are the one team to drop out of the League this season. After suffering team-raising problems last year they have withdrawn but have a new team in the 6-Man Monday League instead.

Elland WMC open their programme at home to Holmfirth A who suffered relegation from Division 2 last season as part of the rebalancing of the divisions so will produce a good opening test for the new boys.

Thorpe Green also suffered a similar fate after finishing 9 points above the drop zone but will start life in Division 3 this year and will be one of the favourites for promotion. However they have an interesting opening day encounter at home to the 2023 Division 4 Champions Lindley Lib B who will also fancy their chances of further recognition this year after their runaway title success of last year. Springwood were the other team promoted from Division 4 and they have to travel to Hemplow to meet the A team who drop down a level to provide a good benchmark level for both teams for the new season.

Denby Dale were the clear third-placed finishers in Division 3 last season and will be aimimg to go one better than that this time around. However they have to go to play Paddock I&C on Day 1 which they will not relish as this is the scene of their biggest defeat of last season when they went down 1-8. Four mid-table finishers from last season start their campaigns facing each other as Slaithwaite host Skel Windmill and Outlane entertain Brockholes A to complete the opening day programme where a good case can be made for promotion contenders for most of the 12 teams in this Division.

With two teams getting promoted last season and three teams relegated only half of the 12 teams that played in Division 4 last year remain at that level this year. Four teams have dropped down from Division 3 and they are expected to be strong contenders for a quick return with Huddersfield Recreation Club and Kirkheaton C&BC A victims of the rebalancing being strongly fancied by Fantasy League punters to feature strongly at the top end of the table.

However Huddersfield Recreation Club have lost their strongest bowler from last year, Andy Wyke won all 15 of his matches but he has moved on to play at Longwood. Their opening day fixture sees them entertaining Meltham B who came down with them from Division 3. Two close games between the teams last season with both winning the home matches although the Recreation Club's win depended on a close aggregate (115-113) advantage.

Kirkheaton C&BC A were the other Division 3 casualty of the rebalancing exercise and will begin life in Division 4 by playing newly promoted Brockholes B. The Badgers came up behind Champions Milnsbridge B who play last season's third-place finishers Marsh Lib so a tough test for them especially as they have to travel to play at Marsh Lib.

Marsh United B finished mid-table in Division 4 last year so will provide a good opening day indicator for Lockwood Con B who have to visit them after dropping down a division from last season. The two remaining fixtures feature mid-table finishers from last season as Thongsbridge B (5th 91pts) host Huddersfield RUFC (7th 79pts) and then Ravensknowle Park (8th 78pts) have home advantage over Lindley BC B (4th 91pts). The Rugby Club will have to improve their away record if they don't want to become involved in another relegation fight which was mainly down to a poor away record when they lost all 10 of their fixtures. Lindley BC B won both their matches against the Park side last year by the same 6-3 scoreline so any improvement on that outcome would suit them fine.

Primrose Hill Lib and Kirkheaton Con B were both relegated last year down into Division 5 when they finished within a point of each other and both won their home matches when the two teams met. They meet again on the opening day of the new season and the Pip Hill team has home advantage this time.

Almondbury BC B were also relegated last year as a result of the rebalancing exercise and they have a tough opening day fixture when meeting last season's third-placed finishers from David Brown Sports although the Almondbury side does have home advantage this Tuesday. Broad Oak B finished last season strongly winning 5 of their final 7 matches to finish a close fourth-placed and have home advantage on Tuesday over Hemplow B who they beat 7-2 in the same fixture last year.

Dalton and Greenhead Park finished last year in comfortable mid-table positions and home advantage is likely to prove vital when the two teams open their 2024 campaigns on Tuesday. Netherton Con B separated those two teams in last years final table but wont want a repeat of last season's away encounter with Tuesday's opponents Kirkheaton C&BC B when they went down 2-7. Holmfirth B will be looking to improve on last season's bottom place finish and will need to start by making an opening intent at home to New Mill B and a repeat of last year's 8-1 home win would suit them fine.

Wherever you are playing this coming week enjoy the fresh air and hopefully a bit of sunshine as well but more importantly respect your opponent and play the game in the manner that we would all hope to enjoy every week throughout the season.


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