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Free-fall Cowcliffe in relegation fight

Veterans League

A review of the matches in Divisions 1 & 2 of the 10-Man League played on Tuesday 15 August

The dreaded promotion and relegation dividers have been added to the latest tables to emphasise the growing importance of the proposed rebalancing of divisions at the end of the season. The dotted line shows the drop zone for the teams should the rebalancing be based on the current number of 60 teams in the League. The straight unbroken line depicts the usual 2-up/2-down dividing area.

This rebalancing work indicates that 3 teams could be relegated from Division 1 and that brings in to play 5 teams vying to stay out of that dreaded 11th place. The bottom two seem fairly settled, although Longwood will undoubtedly prove me wrong, with only the third relegation place to be decided but you never quite know which Longwood team is going to turn up for matches. Will it be the team that has beaten the top two teams in the League or the team that loses to one of their prime rivals for the drop as this week when they went down 7-2 at Lockwood Con 'A'.

In a week where all 7 home teams won their matches Cowcliffe suddenly appear in the battle to stay out of the extended drop zone as they are in free-fall having now lost 7 of their last 8 matches with the latest being a 0-9 defeat at Marsh United 'A'. The Cowcliffe team had been a long-time fixture in the top three but that has all gone wrong over recent weeks and they are now only 2 points above the relegation places. The opposite is true of Marsh United 'A' who are now in a 6-match unbeaten run to go with the 6-match losing run that preceded it which took them down into the bottom three. This week they sit in fourth place within touching distance of the runners-up spot.

A 7-2 home win for Lowerhouses over Milnsbridge 'A' pushes them up to second place overtaking a Rastrick side who went down 2-7 at leaders Golcar Lib 'A' who are within touching distance of a second title with a 23-points lead over the rest. Kirkheaton Con 'A' stay 5th despite losing 2-7 away at Meltham who refuse to drop below the relegation line for yet another week but, like fellow strugglers Elland C&BC, have played a match more than their nearest rivals to keep the trap door still ominously looming.

A top two confrontation usually points to a close encounter but that was certainly not the case in Division 2 this Tuesday when Netherton Con 'A' annihilated their nearest rivals for the title, Shepley, by 9-0. That was a 9th consecutive win for the Netherton team and what was a 2-points gap between the two teams is now a massive 11 points. In addition Shepley have seen their 9 points cushion above 3rd placed Lindley Lib 'A' almost disappear altogether as it is now down to 1 point and all bets are off in the run-in for the second promotion place. An 8-1 home win for the Lindley Lib 'A' side may have put them well placed to challenge for the 2nd promotion place but it wasn't enough to shake off their neighbours and the growing threat that comes from Lindley BC 'A' who matched that 8-1 scoreline away at Hemplow 'A' to remain 4 points behind the Lindley Lib side.

That defeat for Hemplow 'A' leaves them 28 points from safety and odds-on to drop down a level at the end of the season. The teams either side of them in the drop zone, Holmfirth 'A' and Bradley & Colne, met each other this week with the Holme Valley side coming out on top 6-3 but the plight of both teams looks desperate. Thorpe Green suffered a third consecutive loss when going down 1-8 at home to Thongsbridge 'A' and now sit below the dotted line and potential relegation. A 6-3 home win for Almondbury BC 'A' over Linthwaite Hall would suit both teams confirming them as entrenched in mid-table security.

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I would just like to apologise to Cowcliffe, as this run of bad results coincides with me selecting them in my fantasy bowls during a recent transfer window.

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