Review of the matches played in Round 1 of the Julie Fuller Trophy played on 9 May
There were three wins for lower-placed opponents over Division 1 teams in the opening round of the Julie Fuller Trophy even though one of those was probably not a surprise at all. The trophy holders, Slaithwaite, re-emphasised their attraction for this competition with a repeat of the 2021 semi-final when they knocked out Longwood. The Division 2 side won only one of the three pairs games but still ran out 59-52 aggregate winners which are the only figures that count in this KO competition.
The shock result of the day was the elimination of the Division 1 leaders, Netherton Con, by mid-table Division 2 side Skel Windmill 'A' by a massive 71-41 scoreline winning all three pairs games and not needing to use their 8-handicap advantage. Other teams in Division 2 will need to give a lot of respect to this Skel side in the coming weeks if they continue to show this form.
The other surprise result was the win for Division 3 team Marsh Lib over Division 1 opponents Thongsbridge 'B' and again the winners didn't need to refer to their handicap advantage to provide the passage through to Round 2.
Two of the teams involved in the titanic tussle at the top of Division 1 met in the opening round to intensify their rivalry. Last year they finished in the two Division 2 promotion places with runners-up Golcar C&BC completing a league double over Champions Honley Cons. That hold continued into the Julie Fuller Trophy as the Golcar side edged it once again 66-55 and only dropped one aggregate point in the process. Next week the two teams meet again in the League.
Division 1 strugglers Linthwaite Hall will have been pleased to record the first victory of their return to the 6-Man League after beating Division 3 side Holmfirth 'B' 65-63 and the reward for that is a Round 2 tie against the League Champions Shepley 'A'.
The closest result of the day was the 42-41 win for Division 1 side Brockholes 'A' over Division 3 opponents Hemplow but that doesn't tell the whole story. Brockholes could only field four bowlers so conceding the third game 0-21 plus a 12-point handicap deficit meant they had to overtake a 33-point start given to their opponents with only two games in which to claw it back. This they did with two remarkable 21-4 wins to snatch the match by one-point.
Regulation wins for Marsh United 'A', Clayton West, Golcar Lib, Almondbury Lib, Milnsbridge, Lockwood Con, Shepley 'A' and the two Lindley Lib teams completed the opening round of the only team knock-out competition open to the 6-Man League teams,