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It wasn't supposed to be like this!

Winter League Review of the Divisions 1 & 2 fixtures played on Wednesday 1 November

The Division 1 table wasn't supposed to look like this! The top two teams fancied by the Fantasy League entrants and most other sane people in bowling fully expected to see Golcar Lib and Lower Hopton pushing for the title right from the start of the season. Instead what we have are those two teams in the bottom three after the first two weeks of the season. That is no disrespect to New Mill A and Clayton West who share the top spot after successive big wins for both puts them ahead of Thorpe Green who are the one expected title contender showing their true colours.

Can we expect Lower Hopton to narrow that 14 point gap that distances them from retaining their title at present? Will the 16 points gap be too much for Golcar Lib to rein in? Can New Mill A and Clayton West keep up this pace for another 3 months?

So many questions but what we do know is that New Mill A and Clayton West are thoroughly deserving of their positions after both lodged second wins on Wednesday. An 8-0 victory over Golcar Lib added to last week's same 8-0 win over Meltham shows that New Mill A mean business this season and are aiming to avoid the flirtation with relegation that they suffered last term. Clayton West are equally deserving of their position after adding a second 8-0 win to the one that they logged last week over Lower Hopton when beating Kirkheaton Con A by the same scoreline. The West were not at full strength so will be particularly happy with the outcome.

All this coupled with Thorpe Green's 8-0 thumping of Lower Hopton indicates that things may have changed forever and the destination of the title will be more open than ever. When Les Holmes accepted the Division 1 trophy at the presentation event for a second successive year he said that the points gap was narrowing and he expected it to be even more difficult to retain the trophy for a third year. He probably wasn't expecting that forecast to become so evident so early in the season.

Last week Lindley BC A recorded a 6-2 win over Lower Hopton to send shockwaves to all the top-tier teams. This week it was Lindley BC A's turn to be on the wrong end of a surprise result when going down to Lowerhouses 2-6 as they made their first appearance of the season.

Cowcliffe A have made a really promising start to the Division 2 season in their first season in the League and head the table after the first two weeks. They added a 6-2 win over Huddersfield Recreation Club to an opening day 8-0 victory and are level on 14 points with Milnsbridge A who saw off the other expected title favourites, Lindley Lib A with a 6-2 scoreline.

The other two Wednesday fixtures both ended with 4-4 scorelines as Lindley BC B and Lockwood Con A shared the points as both collected their first points of the season. Brockholes A and Denby Dale also shared the points as both improved on previous opening-day defeats.

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