Updated: Dec 8, 2021
The Division 1 teams are the first to reach the halfway point of this season when they played their 9th week of fixtures at Milnsbridge last Wednesday. So that seems like a good time to review how things are progressing both on and off the green.
On the green, it seems like a straight-forward procession to the end-of-season confirmation of Lower Hopton taking the inaugural completed season trophy of the Founder's Cup as Division 1 Champions. Couple that with Rastrick 'A's struggles at the opposite end of the table just about sums up two highly likely final outcomes. Everything else remains up for grabs!
We have been fortunate in adding 13 more teams to the League this season but it is not just about quantity but quality as well and the two new teams added to the top division, Lower Hopton and the New Millers, have certainly raised the bar in playing standards. Lower Hopton have won all their first 8 matches, 5 of them by the ultimate 8-0 scoreline whilst the all-ladies team from New Mill have contributed enormously to raising the playing standard which may yet see them end the season as runners-up. However, at least three other teams - Kirkheaton Con, Lindley BC 'A' and Clayton West - will believe that they have a good chance of claiming that spot for themselves and being runner-up to this Lower Hopton team would certainly be no disgrace.
The chase for the second position is likely to run for a few weeks yet and obviously the head-to-head meetings of these four teams will be critical in the final outcome. It might even take one team beating Lower Hopton to stake a higher claim to that position, you never know.
At the foot of the table it looks a straight battle between Milnsbridge 'A' and Lowerhouses 'A' for the second relegation place and Milnsbridge will need not be sat in that spot as they reach the end of the campaign as they finish off with their last two matches being against Lower Hopton and the New Millers.
Off the green, the Milnsbridge catering team continues to spoil their guests with an array of dishes to keep them coming back for more. Such hot delicacies as samosas, spring rolls and chicken drumsticks as well as a range of sandwiches, pork pie, buns and cakes, and the latest addition of crackers with butter and brie. Thank you ladies you are wonderful and contribute enormously to the success of winter league bowling on your green.
Milnsbridge President Jim Baxter adds
I for one think the matchday atmosphere has been brilliant, it could be by bowling on the same green each week people get to know each other more. It could also be the inclusion of mixed and ladies teams or the more social setup.
Comments have been in the main positive but there are always people who think they could organise things better but if they ever do will realise that even organising a match day let alone a full league program needs thought and a fair amount of work and cooperation from all concerned.
The standard of bowling has been high, I would say as good as the inter-district matches and section one of the men’s veterans league.
From our point of view at Milnsbridge we are pleased that winter bowling is proving so popular. Our green at the moment is standing up well but when you think of it the winter league matches only use the green on average for 3.5 hours per week. Some club bowlers practice on other days but nothing to worry our greenkeeper at the present time.
The only problem I can think of was car parking on match days. As everyone knows we have a limited car park and we must avoid upsetting local residents by double parking on Bowling Street in front of the club. Most, if not all, bowlers have now taken this on board so hopefully, the council will not become involved and resident parking permits will not materialise.
Even if you are not on the green there is always good bowling to watch and admire.
The Winter League has had, and no doubt will have, challenges to overcome, but let’s hope winter bowling is here to stay.
Next week it is the turn of Division 3 as the nine teams reach the halfway mark of the 18-week season and we look again at how things are going both on and off the green at Thorpe Green.