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Season opens with 6-Man League

Veterans League

Preview of the 6-Man League fixtures to be played on Monday 4 April

The bowling season starts on Monday as the Veterans 6-Man League and the Heavy Woollen Afternoon League being their League programmes on the same afternoon. We will be featuring weekly fixture previews and match result reviews for both forms of the Veterans League beginning with a preview of the opening round of 6-man fixtures. Not forgetting that the 'Sections' have been renamed as 'Divisions' this year and we look at each one in turn.

Division 1

Last season the top 3 teams all finished with identical Win-Lose records. All won 14 and lost 4 of their 18 fixtures over the season resulting in just 5 points between them and all 3 will expect to be involved at the top of the division again this year.

Then you have to factor in the two newly promoted teams from Honley Con and Golcar C&BC who finished level on points with the first-named taking the title with a 33-point better 'Aggregate For' total. Then take into account the return to the League of multiple title winners Lockwood Con and we are looking at the tightest title race for many years.

So I make that 6 serious contenders or maybe 7 when you add in the new boys to the League from Linthwaite Hall who are deemed strong enough to go straight into the top division. The opening day set of fixtures only puts 2 of those 7 teams against each other as the 2 new teams from Lockwood Con and Linthwaite Hall meet up. Should any of those top 7 not win then a few Fantasy League entrants will be looking on anxiously. I make that top 7 in no particular order to be Shepley 'A', Netherton Con, Thongsbridge 'B', Lockwood Con, Linthwaite Hall, Honley Con and Golcar C&BC. There is always one surprise team that bats above its expected level and this opening round of fixtures may reveal who that could be this season.

Division 2 By comparison Division 2 looks to be a lot tamer competition although I am sure the teams involved will not agree with that. Division 3 runaway Champions last season were Slaithwaite suffering only one defeat all year and, with a home match against a Meltham side that was bottom half finishers last year, they will expect to start with a big home win. A more interesting meeting could be the Skel Windmill 'B' versus Paddock I&C encounter. With the Skelmanthorpe side finishing third last year and Paddock dropping out of the top division it will be interesting to see which will be the first to flex their muscles when home advantage could be key.

New Mill are new to the League and they will get a good pointer as to their potential at this level when they entertain Marsh United who finished in the top half of Division 2 last season. The other promoted team from Holmfirth 'A' are without a match this week as are the new team from Lindley Lib 'B' so a watching brief for them for a start.

Division 3 Greenhead Park and Marsh United 'B' are both new teams to the 6-man competition this season and both are in action on the opening day. Greenhead Park look to have the more difficult start to life as they go to Almondbury Lib who have a good home record with only the top two teams winning more points at home than them last season. Marsh United 'B' entertain Holmfirth 'B' who had a good 4-4 away record last season. The two teams dropping down to this division both have away matches this week with Primrose Hill Lib at Marsh Lib whilst Golcar Lib go to last season's wooden spooners Shepley 'B'. Only the latter can look with any confidence to take most points in their matches as Marsh Lib will expect to build on their mid-table finish of last year.

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