Time is running out for Drakes League clubs in relegation trouble to save themselves.
It’s the closing spell of the season and the battles at the bottom end of the tables will be fierce – Saturday’s games start at 1pm.
In the Drakes Premiership, Slaithwaite are on 32 points in the last remaining safe position, just four clear of Meltham (who were promoted alongside them last year) and Holmfirth, who are bottom on 21 points.
Holmfirth entertain Sykes Cup finalists Golcar on Saturday, while Meltham will be hoping they can topple fourth-bottom Elland at Mean Lane to put pressure on Slaithwaite, who visit second-placed Shepley.
With the next two weekends being double headers for Premiership clubs, it’s worth noting that Meltham host Slaithwaite on Sunday, August 31, while Holmfirth host Meltham on Saturday, September 6 – matches which could have a massive impact on who plays where next summer.
In the Jedi Sports Championship, Emley are nine points adrift at the bottom following their promotion last season – the Welfare Ground club have been struggling for players this summer – while Hall Bower are bidding to avoid a second successive relegation.
The Castle Hill club, who slipped out of the Premiership on the final day of last season, are second from bottom on 28 points, five behind Almondbury Wesleyans in the last safe place.
The Wes host Emley on Saturday, so that’s a crunch game, while it doesn’t get any easier for Hall Bower, who play host to leaders Broad Oak.
Meanwhile, the battle for the Hopkinson Trophy (first teams) and Schweppes Trophy (second teams) is already under way in the Jedi Sports Championship and Cedar Court Conference sections.
The trophies are awarded to the clubs with the best records over the final six matches of the season – so Premiership clubs (who have seven matches left at the moment) do not enter the fray until next weekend.
It’s the same with regard to eligibility of players at second-team level.
Restrictions are already in place for the bottom two divisions, because they are already into the final six matches (they have five left), while Premiership second teams need to make special note of who they are playing from next week onwards.
League matches start at 1pm for the next three weekends, while the last two sets of fixtures in September are 12.30 starts.