It has become increasingly obvious now for some time that all three sections have divisions within their division, so a total re-think may not be such a bad idea.

One suggestion which is repeatedly being sounded out to me is for a proper three-division system, of 10 teams in each, with every club playing each other THREE times during the season, giving a total of 27 games.

That may find favour with the current top flight clubs, the majority of whom are eager to play more matches for the added revenue, but it might not win support from some of the Conference clubs who sometimes find it hard enough to staff 22 League games, let alone 27.

And then, of course, there is the added problem of the acute shortage of umpires, which would stretch their limited resources even further than they already are.

However, let us explore the downside to the current system.

Although the top two clubs lost last week, thereby throwing the title race open and leaving six clubs still in with a shout, it is more common than not to find ourselves arriving at the August fixtures with just two or maybe three teams still realistically in the hunt.

Indeed, at the start of every season, it’s not too difficult to predict which top four clubs will contest the Championship. And similarly, it’s also quite easy to pick out the relegation candidates.

There is always one side (more often than not one of the three promoted teams) who immediately drop to the bottom like a brick budgie, and stay there for the entire campaign, and it’s not long before they are joined by another luckless outfit, leaving just one more relegation candidate to be permed from a possible two or three others.

That leaves half-a-dozen in the current top flight who neither have a chance of winning the League crown nor are likely to fall into the relegation scrap, and are destined for yet another season of mid-table disinterest – losing to the cream, but beating the poorer sides.

The Conferences, too, suffer in a similar vein, with virtually every year, one stand-out team in either section and then, if we’re lucky, two more in each half vying for the Conference final play-off spot and the chance to grab the third promotion place.

I have the utmost respect for all the clubs in the League, and (for the most part) all the players, however, the bottom four or five clubs in either Conference (and the Premiership) are hardly ever likely to figure in the promotion stakes or title race, and there cannot be much enjoyment in getting rolled over week in week out, season after season by the leading sides in each section.

A three-division system, with two up, two down on the other hand would almost certainly guarantee far more competitive games, with probably more in it for every club, and far more entertainment for the spectators.

Back in the early nineties (92/93/94) the Huddersfield Giants – or Fartowners as they were better known to the more mature rugby league supporters – played in an eight-strong Second Division. The idea being that the bottom four of Division I and the top four of Division III would make for a highly competitive league with each club being of similar strength, thereby ensuring close-fought matches.

The other benefit was that the teams which were subsequently promoted into the top flight would be better equipped to survive there, having had tough games, week in week out.

There’s no reason why the same thing should not apply to the Drakes League.

Using that same yardstick for the current standings in the Premiership and Conferences, Holmfirth, Meltham, Lascelles Hall and Emley Clarence (bottom four in the Premiership) would surely find more enjoyment playing in a second division with the likes of Scholes, Kirkheaton, Broad Oak, Slaithwaite and Marsden.

Respective Conference leaders Scholes and Slaithwaite have struggled at times to ‘get a game’ this season.

For example, in Slaithwaite’s last four games the combined total of runs against them has been exactly 250 – in FOUR games!

No wonder their batsmen from four downwards are gettingfrustrated.

Broad Oak chairman Andy Roebuck agreed that a structural change is now overdue.

“I’m firmly of the opinion, and so are a number of officials at other clubs I’ve spoken to recently, that the League is desperately in need of a shake-up, and the sooner the better.

“If they were to go down the line of having three divisions, everyone would soon find their level, and I really believe we would have a really good second division.

“In fact, probably quite a number of clubs would be happy to play and stay in a second division, where it wouldn’t necessarily cost them as much to keep up with the big boys, while at the same time still playing some very attractive teams.

“And those in the bottom division could aspire to something higher, instead of expecting to struggle every season.

“At the moment there is such a big divide between Conference and Premiership, that those of us who might have the chance of promotion know for a fact we’d struggle if we were to go up.

“I also believe a middle section would benefit some of the League’s promising youngsters, many of whom need a move to continue their progress, but who are not quite ready for ‘Section A’ cricket.”

Slaithwaite spokesman Chris Payne shared the same opinion adding: “It’s not just the clubs who want to play similar strength teams – so do the players!

“One of our members stated: ‘I’d rather be drubbed by Delph than roll over Rastrick, at least you know you’ve played in a competitive game against high quality players.’

“This season we’ve only had two competitive League games, one against Scholes, which we just lost, and one against Kirkheaton which we just won, although we were rained off against Broad Oak and Marsden, both of which had the makings of good games.

“I know the lads at Marsden feel the same way, and would probably jump at the chance to play in a second division.”

Roebuck and Payne are just two voices, but many more have expressed similar concerns at the present structure.

To coin Barack Obama’s US presidential election mantra: “we need a change we can believe in.”