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Golcar Lib heading for title

Veterans League

Review of the 10-Man League matches played on Tuesday 20 September

After the latest round of Division 1 fixtures Golcar Lib 'A' are in prime position to claim the title for the first time in 17 years as they hold a 13-point lead at the top over their two nearest rivals. That leaves them needing 6 points from their final game of the season (v Kirkheaton Con 'A') to become Champions for the first time since 2005.

Even that target may have been reduced by that time with Lockwood Con 'A' and Kirkheaton Con 'A' both having another match to play before the final day of the season. One of those two challengers needs at least 4 points from those matches to take the title race into the last day of the season. Although mathematically any one of those three teams could still win the title race it is certainly there for Golcar Lib to lose rather than one of the two challengers stepping up to prise it away from the leaders.

All that has come about following the latest round of matches saw big 8-1 home wins for Golcar Lib (v Waterloo) and Lockwood Con (v Cowcliffe) whilst Kirkheaton Con were tasting defeat for the first time in 9 matches when going down 2-7 away at Clayton West.

Meanwhile at the other end of the table Lindley BC 'A' roused hopes of a great escape after a 7-2 home win over Elland C&BC 'A' put them within range of passing Meltham 'A'. Now 12 points off their lifeline to safety with two matches left to play with the Meltham team needing 7 points from their final match next Tuesday at Cowcliffe to extend their Division 1 tenancy. That is a big ask having only won one of their last eight matches although Cowcliffe have only won one of their last seven so everything remains in the balance.

Milnsbridge 'A' finally clinched their promotion from Division 2 after a 6-3 home win over Netherton Con 'A' although falling short of the extra point that would have secured the title as well. That will have to wait until their final match of the campaign away at Thongsbridge 'A' next Tuesday.

Lowerhouses remain favourites to go up with them after a narrow 5-4 away win at Shepley where the 123-120 aggregate advantage was key in determining the outcome. Almondbury BC 'A' also had a 5-4 away win at Bradley & Colne which sees them hang on to the second promotion place they have held almost all season but things are about to change. With a match in hand and two home matches to finish their season from which they need 10 points the balance is very much in Lowerhouse's favour.

The dark horse among all this is the in-form New Mill 'A' team after they extended their winning run to six, with only one defeat in their last 12, when beating Thongsbridge 'A' 8-1 and avenging an early season 0-9 defeat they remain very much in the frame although currently sitting in 5th position. They have the division's only unbeaten home record (played 12 won 12) and Slaithwaite as visitors today (Wednesday) in a catch-up fixture before a final day trip to play Lowerhouses which could have huge rewards for the winning team.

The relegation battle continues but things are becoming clearer after the latest round of fixtures saw Thorpe Green just beat already relegated Brockholes 'B' 5-4 at home and that coupled with a 0-9 away defeat for Lockwood Con 'B' at Hemplow 'A' leaves Thorpe Green needing a single point from their last match away to Netherton Con 'A' to be sure of retaining their Division 2 future. That would see the Lockwood Con 'B' team finally being relegated after finishing the last two season just one place above the drop spots.

A combination of results sees Linthwaite Hall claim both promotion and the Division 3 title this week. They had a 5-4 home win over a resurgent Kirkheaton C&BC 'A' whilst their main rivals, Holmfirth 'A', were going down 1-8 at Denby Dale who resurrected their own promotion hopes in the process. Holmfirth 'A' retain the second promotion place for now but have played a match more than their three nearest rivals who are all within range of passing them. Denby Dale being one of that threesome along with Skel Windmill who won 6-3 at Huddersfield Recreation Club and Golcar Lib who lost 4-5 away at Paddock I&C.

Skel Windmill have to play both Denby Dale and Golcar Lib 'B' away from home in their final two fixtures so if they do go up they will certainly deserve to. Holmfirth 'A's challenge rests on a current 4-point lead over the group of three and the fact that those three could cancel each other out with the programme offering such a scenario plus their final fixture is away at lowly Springwood.

Throw into the equation the need for Springwood for collect some more points to secure their Division 3 future and condemn Marsh United 'B' to the drop, all adds to the puzzle that will play out over the final two weeks of the season. A second successive 7-2 win for Springwood, this time over relegated Lindley Lib 'B', aided their plight and with Marsh United 'B's two final matches both being at home, against Champions Linthwaite Hall and promotion candidates Golcar Lib'B', could mean that Springwood's current 10-point cushion could be sufficient to see them over the line.

Division 4 is the only division where at least one of the promotion or relegation places have still to be claimed although that may be about to change. Two big matches on Tuesday altered entirely the chances of the two main promotion protaganists. Meltham 'B' collected a 9-0 home win over one their main rivals for promotion, Ravensknowle Park, which was a real statement about their intent. Coupled with a 1-8 shock reversal for their main threat, Outlane, at Almondbury BC 'B' means that Meltham 'B' only need two points from their away trip to play Lindley BC 'B' next Tuesday to ensure promotion. Second placed Outlane could join in the celebrations after next Tuesday's matches when they host Brockholes 'B' depending on how Primrose Hill Lib and Ravensknowle Park have gone on in their home matches versus Almondbury BC 'B' and Elland C&BC 'B' respectively.

Eight points separated the bottom six teams at the start of play which was stretched to a 13 point gap by the close of play. Wins for Thongsbridge 'B' (7-2 v Milnsbridge B), Almondbury BC 'B' (8-1 v Outlane) and Brockholes 'B' (6-3 v Primrose Hill Lib) eased them further away from the bottom two with Milnsbridge 'B' now being one of those along with New Mill 'B' who lost 1-8 at Huddersfield RUBC.

Kirkheaton Con 'B' added the Division 5 Champions title to the promotion confirmed last week when seeing off their nearest challenger, Marsh Lib, by 7-2. That means that Marsh Lib need 6 points from their final two matches to thwart Dalton from claiming the second promotion place. Next Tuesday Kirkheaton Con 'B' play Dalton which may help Marsh Lib's cause. A good 7-2 home win for Holmfirth 'B' over Broad Oak took them clear of the Wooden Spoon position with 4 points separating the bottom 4 contenders vying to avoid the last spot.

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