SYKES CUP holders Delph & Dobcross will no doubt give a ‘warm welcome’ back to one of their popular ex-players when Armitage Bridge’s Carl Jump and the Dean Brook Road side pay them a visit in next season’s first round.
Grant Jones, who hoisted the Cup aloft last August, will be delighted his side’s run of home draws has continued – Delph & Dobcross were at home in every round last season – and will happy to start the defence of the newly-named arrowselfdrive.com Sykes Cup against a Conference club.
The tie of the round (made during the League’s annual meeting) is undoubtedly at Hullen Edge, where last season’s League runners-up and Hopkinson Trophy winners Elland will entertain fellow Premier Section heavyweights Kirkburton.
Like Elland, Kirkburton were in the title race right up until the closing stages before finishing just behind them and title-winners Hoylandswaine.
And, as in the Delph clash, Elland will also be welcoming back two of their former players, Greg Buckley, who is set to skipper the Riley Lane men next season, and Craig Fletcher.
There are two more all-Premiership ties, with Scholes playing host to Marsden, while newly-promoted Holmfirth will be able to test their top-flight capabilities when they visit Shelley.
Next season will see a preliminary round in the competition, due to the recent admittance of four new clubs, bringing the overall strength of the Drakes League to 34 clubs.
And following a League proposal, passed by the clubs at the AGM, the four newcomers, Almondbury Wesleyans, Denby, Denby Dale and Moorlands, will contest the preliminary round this season.
Following the draw, Wesleyans will entertain Moorlands at Kaye Lane, while Denby Dale have home advantage over neighbouring Denby.
League champions Hoylandswaine and Conference side Lascelles Hall, who were both penalised by the League for holding counter attractions on their grounds on the same day as last season’s Cup final, forcing them to play all their Cup games away from home, will play at Slaithwaite and Lepton Highlanders respectively.
To avoid confusion, and with preliminary rounds to take into account, the draw for the first round of the Fired Up Paddock Shield will be made at a later date.