The Division 2 league season has now reached the halfway point with all teams having completed 8 of their 16 fixtures so a good time to take stock of where we are, look at what has gone well and consider changing anything that needs improvement. As usual this review looks at things on and off the green.
Springwood is enjoying its second season as the host club for a division of the Winter League and they continue to enjoy the support of the teams that visit every week. It is a very sociable atmosphere with the majority of teams taking the opportunity to provide a winter bowling experience to as many of their bowlers as possible and if that means they don't win as many matches as they could then so be it.
There are two teams that have set their stall out to win promotion to the top division as soon as possible by selecting their top teams every week and they are benefiting from that approach as Meltham and Lindley Lib set the pace at the top of the table. Both teams have only used five bowlers each in their 8 matches to date far lower than any other team in the division and no team in any division have played fewer.
The next group of four teams all work a team rotation system with a squad of bowlers that is good enough to see them safely positioned in mid-table. Things are getting interesting at the foot of the table with at least three teams currently involved in the relegation battle. All three have used at least 7 bowlers to date and it will be interesting to note if any of them revert to selecting their strongest four each week as the impact of relegation looms or if they continue to share out the playing duties.
The club has benefitted enormously from hosting Winter League matches as the profile of the club is now much higher and has resulted in attracting a growing number of new club members some of who have just joined to enjoy winter social bowling. In addition they now have a thriving ladies section with teams in the ladies leagues being formed in the last year.
I was talking to a bowler at a Division 2 matchday at Springwood recently, a very experienced local bowler with 70 years experience of bowling in Huddersfield who was very complimentary about the state of the Springwood green. He told me that he couldn't remember that green ever looking and playing better than it did at present. Remember that we are now in December, a compliment indeed. He went on to say that he had now taken out Springwood membership just so that he could enjoy coming along to practice on the green over the winter months.
Mike Ralph, Springwood bowler and Chairman of the Winter League added these comments
One of the standout things about matchdays is the friendliness and helpfulness in making a success of the league. The atmosphere is great, everyone seems to be extremely pleased to be here.
I don't want to get carried away but the start has been extremely promising but we really do need to have a full season behind us to learn everything there is to know about winter bowling.
The green is standing up to the extra usage very well, due no doubt to the favourable weather to date but again we need to experience a full season before we can draw any long term conclusions.
The major problem we have is car parking. This problem seems to be easing a little each week and perhaps if our visitors could be a little more mindful of the situation and arrange a bit more car-sharing it would help even further.
I think the standard of play has been very good, but I expected this as the participants were in the main keen, experienced and good bowlers.
My half-term report would be ....
"Extremely promising start but let's reserve getting too carried away until our first full season is completed".