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Four weeks to go and lots to sort out

Veterans League

The weekly preview of matches coming up on Monday in the Veterans 6-Man League with a special emphasis on the relegation scrap at the bottom of Division 1.


Four weeks to go in the 6-Man League's season and four nervous Division 1 contenders vying for two safe places out of the drop zone with two teams to be relegated this season. The table above tells the story of the remaining fixtures with the Yellow shaded boxes indicating matches against bottom four opponents. The Blue shaded boxes show fixtures against teams in the top three places at present.

That table also shows that all four teams have two home matches and two away still to play. Lockwood Con currently have the most points (49) and with three of their remaining fixtures being against teams in the bottom three their fate is very much in their own hands. But that means those fixtures are really worth 14 points with the maximum impact that any defeat can bring with it.

The blue shaded boxes indicate fixtures against top three opponents and bottom of the table Elland C&BC have two of those against the top two teams actually. Elland C&BC have done well after an opening 14-match run of defeats to register two wins in August to mathematically still be in with a chance of avoiding the drop. They were clearly out of their depth at this level and should never have been asked to compete at the top level in their first season in the League. How does the League keep getting this wrong?

Last year the same thing happened with Linthwaite Hall when they were also put in the top division for some reason and only won one match to go through the relegation trapdoor. Looking at their position this year as well it asks the question why didn't they start in the bottom division? With Elland's remaining fixtures including matches against the top two teams in the table, it looks like they will be relegated so we are looking at one more team to accompany them into Division 2. Will that be Crosland Moor or Longwood?

Crosland Moor have a two-points advantage but also have the more demanding remaining fixtures which includes two of the top three teams in the table. Both Crosland Moor and Longwood have to play Lockwood Con who could hold the key to the trapdoor. It looks like it will be a very tight finish and could go down to the last day of the season when both teams have away fixtures with Crosland Moor having the more demanding last day challenge at Shepley facing them.

Moving up to the top of the table and it is possible, although unlikely, that the destination of the title could be determined this week but will probably have to wait at least one more round of fixtures before it is officially awarded to Marsh United 'A'. Meanwhile it is up to the chasing pack of three to stretch the waiting out as long as possible by keeping the pressure on each of their opponents by continuing to win each match.

Similar story in Division 2 where it seems that Slaithwaite are coasting to the title and with a home match against bottom of the table Denby Dale this week will look to extend their already comfortable 16-points advantage. But who goes up with them is very much up for grabs with three teams realistically in contention for that second promotion place. Two of those three contenders face each other this Monday as 2nd-placed Lindley Lib 'A' entertain 4th-placed Paddock I&C and with 6 points between them it is clearly a must-win match for the Paddock team.

Lindley Lib 'B' need to make a move soon if they are to replace their 'A' side in the 2nd promotion place but that won't be easy this week with an away match at Clayton West but time is running out and a win is imperative to keep their hopes alive.

It looks very much like 2 from 3 at the foot of the table for as well as Denby Dale, Skel Windmill 'B' and Linthwaite Hall are in the relegation mire. Linthwaite Hall are the only one of the three strugglers with a home fixture this week and a win against Milnsbridge 'B' would be most welcome in helping them avoid a second successive relegation.

The top two teams in Division 3 go head-to-head on Monday with the leaders, Marsh Lib, having to travel to New Mill who sit just 6 points behind them with a match in hand. Third-placed Greenhead Park will be looking to pick up the pieces of a big win for either of the top two when they go to play Shepley 'B' who are still looking to add to their solitary win of the season.

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