THE season can only get better.
Those are the thoughts of League officials following drop-outs and refereeing shortages.
Following the annual meeting, Team Forward decided they could raise only one team and not two, and then Netherton dropped out, leaving the League with its lowest ever total of 17.
A further blow was to come, however, when only two referees were available for the seven scheduled games, and one of those did not turn up.
And all this before a ball was kicked left Fixture Secretary Alan Carter with a hatful of problems, and feeling of ‘surely it can’t cget any worse.’
The match that had an official referee and then hadn’t was the top game between Heywood Irish Centre and GNG Sikh Temple, but a Centre player stepped into the breach and, under the circumstances, did an excellent job.
Irish took the lead early on but then lost a player injured and as they had no substitutes played the rest of the game with 10 men.
After the break Sikh bombarded the Irish goal, but blocks with bodies and legs and some excellent saves by the keeper kept them at bay. Irish then broke away twice within minutes to make it 3-0 and in the end gained a very creditable 4-2 win.
Adam Bell (2), Matthew Tattersley and Paul Quinn were on target for Irish and Derek Joseph and Kirk Smith for Sikh.
Royal FC will want to put their opening game behind them as quickly as possible as they lost 12-0 to a rampant Team Forward side who had hat tricks from Paul Pike, Dwayne Willie and Michael Fill, while Ryan Buckley, Damian McKenzie and Javin Clarke all grabbed one.
Marsh Liberal got off to a good start with a 3-2 win over Walpole thanks to strikes from Dale Roys, Ben Roys and Richard Dyson.
Division II new club Slaithwaite Athletic were inviolved in a hig-scoring game at Dryclough recreation ground but finally lost out 7-3 to host club Wellington.
A brace each from Anthony Haigh and Hamlet and further strikes from James Keen, Dan Waddington and an own goal settled the issue in the home side’s favour.
Heywood Irish Centre Reeserves could not emulate their first team and finished their game against Gas Club on the wrong end of a 4-1 scoreline.
Cashel McGowan scored for the Reserves but Gas were on fire with strikes from Michael Foreshaw, Woodward, Campbell and Tattersall.