The Division I title race has opened up again.
Following Hombridge’s win over Berry Brow two weeks ago, Holmbridge were in the driving seat, but in the last seven days Diggle have thrown a spanner in the works.
Last Saturday, they entertained leaders Holmbridge and beat them 3-1 and then, three days later, Diggle visited Newsome. Newsome were 7-1 to the good when, with just one minute remaining, an accidental collision of heads led to a Diggle player being unconscious.
He was in this state for approximately four minutes and, by the time the ambulance arrived, the referee had decided to abandon the match.
The League rules can allow the score to stand if “it does no injustice to either club” – but a final decision will be made by the Management Committee.
Today’s fixture, Newsome v Holmbridge, could go a long way to deciding the destination of the Division I Shield.
Promotion to Division I is now down to any two from three.
Second-placed Shelley have just one remaining fixture (home to Cumberworth) but a win in that game will take them to 46 points. Third-placed Heyside still have four matches to play and four wins will take them to 46 points as well.
Current leaders Holmfirth Town are already on 44 points and, therefore, a win today (away at Holme Valley Academicals) will guarantee them the divisional title.
Second spot could be difficult to sort out.
Shelley’s current goal difference is plus 19 while Heyside have a plus 12 difference. If both sides win their outstanding fixtures, then the goal difference is going to be close.
In the event that the goal difference is identical, the rule (as imposed by National FA) states that if goal difference is the same, then the higher-placed team must be the one that has scored most. At present, Heyside have just the one goal advantage in that area.
The injustice of the rules dictated by the National FA could hit Shelley. When a club fails to raise a team, the National FA allows all Leagues to award the points to their opponents, but it states specifically that “the award of goals” is not allowed.
Two opponents of Shelley have failed to fulfil their fixture and it is safe to assume that had the games gone ahead, Shelley’s goal difference would have increased – time will tell if these prove costly for Shelley.
Division III has had KKS Spartans and Aimbry as the top two teams for some while but, as reported recently, Upperthong are the dark horses.
Two wins in four days extends their winning League record to seven and despite the fact they are 19 points off the top, they still have a chance. There is however a ‘BUT’, and it’s a big ‘BUT’ which comes within 48 hours.
On the 17th and 19th, Upperthong are away to the top two and these matches could decide the eventual winners.
In Division IV last week, Colne Valley travelled to 3D Dynamos in a clash of the top two. Colne Valley ran out 4-1 winners and clinched at least at promotion place at the first attempt in the District League.
One of the other new teams look a banker to join them in Division III. Royal Oak won last week 4-2 at Cartworth Moor. The Oak are in third position, just three points behind 3D but the Oak have played four fewer games.
Reserve Division I is proving to be the most open of all the divisions. Even at this stage, there are five clubs who still think they have a chance.
After a couple of recent defeats, Honley Reserves’ position at the top looked vulnerable, but without a game last Saturday or in midweek, their position is slightly brighter.
Berry Brow Reserves lost 5-2 at home to Diggle Reserves and to make it even better for Honley, third-placed Netherton Reserves lost 3-0 at home to Kirkheaton Reserves.
The other two in contention are Newsome Reserves and Diggle Reserves – and both have claimed six points in five days.
Diggle now share second spot with Berry Brow on 35 points and these two are a just a point ahead of Newsome on 34, with Netherton a further point away on 33. All these four have five to play and have two games in hand of Honley, whose lead is now five points.
The League Cup semi-finals have been hit by a couple of postponements at Warrenside, but the Gee Cup semi at Shelley went ahead between Scissett Reserves and Cumberworth A. It was a tight affair for the whole match and both sides will claim that they should have won, but ten minutes from time, it was Cumberworth A who scored when Dave Roberts followed home from 10 yards.
Roberts will now face his former teammates in the final as Skelmanthorpe Reserves beat Berry Brow A 3-1 with goals from Glover(2) and Needham.