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Tight & Tough at the Top of Divisions 1 & 2

Veterans league A preview of the 6-Man League matches to be played on Monday 16 May

After a week off from league duties teams return to action this week with a full 6-Man League fixture programme. Division 1 leaders Netherton Con will be pleased to put last week's performance behind them after being eliminated from the Julie Fuller Trophy by Divison 2 side Skel Windmill 'A'. They will be delighted to note that the two teams nearest to them in the table play each other this week whilst they have a home match against a beatable Brockholes 'A' team.

Golcar C&BC and Honley Com meet for the second time in 8 days when they clash in a Division 1 fixture this Monday following their Julie Fuller Trophy match last week. The Golcar side to have a bit of a hold over their opponents having beaten them on their last three meetings. Two of those were in last year's Division 2 meetings and then last Monday they knocked them out of the JFT 66-55.

Those two Division 2 losses didn't prevent Honley lifting the title last year, albeit on 'Goal Difference', and this week with home advantage they will be looking to reverse that trend and at the same time avenge last week's defeat. It would be a surprise to see the Netherton Con side fold for a second consecutive week so the odds are on them retaining top spot but which of the two nearest challengers will climb highest?

It may be neither of them will be mounting a challenge to the leaders with 7 teams within 2 points of each other at the top end. Any of the next four teams could push higher as all have winnable matches this week. Two of them are playing away but they are against the division's two bottom teams so could still expect to claim the majority of the points. Those two being Shepley 'A' and Crosland Moor and they meet Lindley Lib 'A' and Linthwaite Hall respectively whilst the other two top seven teams, Longwood and Lockwood Cons, both have home matches against Milnsbridge and Thongsbridge 'B' respectively. That means that all 6 matches in Division 1 have a direct impact on the top two places in the table.

Competition at the top of Division 2 remains equally intense although less teams are currently involved but the two major players confront each other as leaders Marsh United 'A' have home advantage over 2nd placed Slaithwaite. Slaithwaite have won 3 of their opening 4 fixtures but those wins all came at home so they will be keen to stake their claim for a higher place against a side that has won all five of their matches this season, 4 of them being in the League where they have the only unbeaten Division 2 record. Only one point separates the teams so are we already talking about a title-decider?

Things are even tighter at the other end of the Division 2 table with Lindley Lib 'B' and New Mill locked together on 7 points from 4 matches played. They meet up this Monday with a New Mill side still looking for their first win of the year having home advantage this week. The reward for the winning team could be quite substantial as the two teams immediately above the relegation-threatened pair are both stood down this week and it is mathematically possible, with the right 4-3 scoreline, for all those teams to swap places. Interesting times.

Skel Windmill 'A' will be looking to their club mates in their 'B' side doing them a big favour by taking some points off Clayton West away from home this week. That should present the 'A' side with the opportunity to leapfrog the West by beating Paddock I&C and moving right into the promotion battle as a result.

Golcar Lib and Marsh Lib continue to set the pace at the top of Division 3 and both can expect to extend their unbeaten league records with home matches against bottom-three opponents this Monday. In addition both teams had good Julie Fuller Trophy wins last week to further their form and intentions. Leaders Golcar Lib have the Marsh United 'B' side as visitors this week who are still looking for their first win of the season whilst second-placed Marsh Lib entertain Greenhead Park.

Brockholes 'B' will be looking to pick up a first win of the season when Holmfirth 'B' visit them on a poor run of form which has seen them lose their last four league matches but a better performance in the JFT last week where they only lost 63-65 to Division 1 Linthwaite Hall will have given them renewed hope of better times ahead.

Having won 3 of the 4 league matches to date Hemplow could have expected to be in the top half of the table but aren't. The opportunity to address that imbalance comes for them this week away at Shepley 'B'. Only a single point separates Thongsbridge 'A' and Almondbury Lib who meet this week with the incentive of a top three position a very obtainable reward for the winner of that match.

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