Founded 1970

   
THE HUDDERSFIELD & DISTRICT
VETERANS BOWLING ASSOCIATION

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The HDVBA is generously
 supported by the

CROFT CARE GROUP

Miscellaneous  

 
5 January 2019
WEBSITE STATISTICS UP AGAIN

The end of year statistics for the HDVBA website show yet another increase in visitors in 2018. We had over 100,000 visitors during the past 12 months which is a 12% increase on 2017 and a 300% increase in total number of visitors from our first year in 2014. We also saw the record for the number of visitors in a single day get beaten when 470 of you visited the site on Wednesday 2nd April. For those of you that like charts and graphs here are comparative figures presented in that format.
.

7 November 2018
FANTASY LEAGUE WINNERS COLLECT


The top three in our unique Fantasy League competition for 2018 collected their winnings yesterday. Competition sponsor Nick Blackburn of Well Bowled of Luddendenfoot was on hand to help our three winners select their prizes from the range of bowling equipment on display at the shop. Nick is above shaking hands with winner Kenneth Broadbent of Kirkheaton Cons with runner-up Reg Bailey (right) of Kirkheaton Con and third placed Andy Broughton (left) of Almondbury Lib looking on. Pleased to report that Well Bowled have once again offered to sponsor the 2019 competition and we will have some exciting news about the format of that early in the New Year.


4 October 2018

END OF SEASON COMP GOES TO HAROLD HICK


The two Finalists - Frank Griffin (left) and Harold Hick (right)


The annual end-of-season KO competition only open to the Inter-District League team members along with members of the Management Committee was held at Brockholes last Tuesday. The eventual winner being Harold Hick of Almondbury BC who beat Frank Griffin of Waterloo in the Final.

This year's winner means a new name on the trophy and he played very well throughout but in the final continually produced stunning woods to beat his opponent's very close woods that would normally have counted but Harold surprised Frank to earn the winners trophy and the £70 first prize. The full breakdown of the day's rersults being.....

Round 1
Dave Pollard 21-19 Roy Sutton
Allan Dobson 20-21 David Armitage
Dave Sykes 16-21 Derek Hewitt
Frank Griffin 21-11 Tony Emerson
Eddie Haigh 20-21 Malcolm Gilbert
Peter Kain 14-21 John Hodgson

Harold Hick 21-19 Barry Gibson
Ron Manning 18-21 Roger Stopford

Quarters-Finals
David Armitage 21-17 Dave Pollard
Derek Hewitt 16-21 Frank Griffin
Malcolm Gilbert 10-21 John Hodgson
Harold Hick 21-14 Roger Stopford 14.

Semi-Finals
David Armitage 18-21 Frank Griffin 21
John Hodgson 19-21 Harold Hick

Final
FRANK GRIFFIN 16 -21 HAROLD HICK





1 September 2018
FREE FIRST AID TRAINING SESSION
 

For the third year we are once again organising a First Aid Training event which will be a two-hour session from 10am-12noon to be held on Wednesday 24 October at Paddock I&C. Bookings are required as only 15 places are available. More sessions will be arranged if the demand is there. This session will be provided by the British Red Cross and will cover Everyday First Aid and will include:

      - helping someone who is bleeding heavily
      - helping someone who has a broken bone
      - helping someone who has a head injury
      - helping someone who is having a heart attack
      - helping someone who has a sprain or a strain
      - helping someone who is having a stroke
      - helping an unresponsive person who is breathing
      - helping an unresponsive person who is not breathing

To book your place on this Everyday First Aid course or to express an interest in attending a later session please email jefftheref2000@yahoo.co.uk and include your name and club.

Previous attendees have been very complimentary about the quality of the training provided and how it is beneficial for all regardless of your background. This session will once again be led by Vivienne Rowden of the British Red Cross and we cannot urge people enough to give up two hours of their life to be better prepared for any emergency that they may be faced with in the future.
 
This session is open to all bowlers not just those playing in the Veterans League and is completely free of charge. The League makes a donation to the British Red Cross funds in recognition of the value of the sessions to our members. Book your place now by emailing jefftheref2000@yahoo.co.uk

 
Free entry - Register here

28 March 2018
2018 SEASON PREVIEW: SECTION 1

Last year I tipped Lockwood Con to beat Clayton West to the Section 1 title and the Cons duly obliged but I had totally misread the lasting resilience of Milnsbridge A who led for most of the season but in losing their last three matches gifted the title to their main rivals. At the same time Lockwood were on a run of 11 wins from 13 matches and could afford to lose their final match of the season at Golcar Lib and still retain their title as Champions. Clayton West’s dire away form with only two away wins all season (only bottom team Shepley had a worse record) cost them any chance of honours and they eventually took third place.

So has anything changed from last season to influence the destiny of the title this year? Like last year Milnsbridge have lost an experienced bowler, they lost two last year but that didn’t seem to hold them back at all. But you can’t keep losing top bowlers and not expect it to have some impact over time and that awful final run of defeats to last season may produce a new season hangover and any delayed start to the new campaign could prove fatal. With the top singles bowler and the top two pairs bowlers in the 2017 averages it is inevitable that they will be sniffing around the honours again this year. When club bowlers start going in to print to talk down their own team’s chances then I have to view that with some scepticism. A bit of kidology and I certainly don’t expect Milnsbridge A to be far from the top once again this year even though they open their fixture programme next week by entertaining Lockwood Con A.

The Champions have recruited a number of new bowlers primarily to support their new B team but some will expect to be pushing for A team playing time. For the three seasons 2014-2016 the Cons had an identical 21-5 playing record which slipped to 19-7 last season. Over those four years Milnsbridge A have finished as runners-up on three occasions indicating their lasting resilience at this level. If the Cons needed any incentive to go all out for the title again this year then the fact that they will be aiming to equal the League record of five consecutive titles held by Milnsbridge A (2009-2013) should suffice. They haven’t lost any of their Championship winning team so it is the easy option to tip them to retain their title.

Clayton West have signed a good Inter-District away team bowler from relegated Shepley and if he brings his Inter-District form with him then that will certainly be a bonus. I struggle to reconcile the West’s away results with their totally dominant form at home. They haven’t lost a home game since going down 4-5 to Golcar Lib A in July 2016. Even that was a 4-3 game win and only losing the aggregate blemished their impressive home record. Assuming another strong set of home results this year and just a marginal improvement in away form would position right amongst the title contenders. So I will be sticking with my 2017 top tips once again this time around, Lockwood Con A to edge out Clayton West for the title and make it five in a row.

Meltham A have finished in fourth position for the last two years and with no new bowler registrations and no bowler leaving either one would expect much of the same this year. Those last two finishes were just three then two points off third place as well but what extra do they have to push on from this? It is a similar story for Marsh Utd A with top six finishes for the last two years but are they capable of any better? I look for reasons to talk up both team’s chances for 2018 but with no noticeable signings I can’t find any evidence of potential improvement, they have probably already peaked and believe both will be reliant on other team’s failings to progress further and I don’t see much of that from the teams above them.

With a sixth place finish last year and best points total for some years then the hopes for continuing improvement for Elland C&BC A are promising. Only Clayton West had a better home record than them last year and they could include Lockwood Con amongst their victims. All positive signs but the lack of a top 12 bowler in either the 2017 singles or pairs averages indicates that they lack that touch of something extra if they are to progress from their solid if unspectacular mid-table security. Netherton Con A had a really rocky mid-season last year when they suffered six consecutive heavy defeats. It speaks volumes that they were able to arrest that slide by winning five of their final six games all against teams above them to end up seventh but still well short of the runners-up finish of two years previous. However reaching the final of the Team KO was a bonus and with two Bistro titles in the past four years the pointers are that they are better suited to knock-out competitions than the consistency of league bowling.

Lindley Lib A were the deserved 2017 Team KO winners but their league form was disappointing following steady progress over the previous seasons. Promotion to the top Section followed by seventh and then fifth placed finishes promised much but they failed to build on that last year dropping to ninth place. With an away record only bettered by the Champions then they are obviously capable of a higher finish but a slow start which saw them only collect 15 points from their opening five matches gave them a mountain to climb to maintain the level of progress of recent times. With no noticeable comings or goings on the bowler front there seems little reason to talk up their chances for the coming season and maybe they are destined to be one of those mid-table regulars which in itself is a notable achievement.

Last season with a third consecutive bottom half finish for Golcar Lib A coupled with the subsequent transfer out of a couple of strong A and B team bowlers make a set of worrying signs. However their end of season form was excellent with five wins from their final six fixtures to add to a league double over Lockwood Con which are all positive portents. Cowcliffe had a terrible start to their 2017 campaign by winning just one of their first eleven fixtures and that was at home to bottom team Shepley to confirm my prediction for a bottom place finish. Not sure what happened then but they went on a run of nine consecutive home wins to gradually edge their way up to secure a remarkable tenth place finish.

The end of the 2017 season couldn’t come soon enough for Waterloo as they stumbled to safety despite losing 8 of their final 10 fixtures. Those two wins were crucially at home against the two relegated teams and it could so easily have been a very different outcome. The demise of their B team will cost them the availability of their back up bowlers and team raising problems were not confined to the B team last year as the A side failed to field a full ten in three of their matches. They have made a good capture from Shepley to boost their playing numbers but the signs are worrying. Three 7-2 wins in their last seven games enabled Almondbury BC A to avoid the drop and an immediate return to Section 2. With no transfer activity on the A team front they can only look forward to another difficult campaign and I really fear for their continuing membership of the top section.

Section 1 bowling standards are nothing new to either of the promoted teams as the A teams from Brockholes and Thongsbridge regularly flip between Sections 1 and 2. Usually they celebrate a second season at the top level before dropping again and that would suggest that they may find two worse out-of-form teams in 2018. I think those two teams could be Waterloo and Almondbury BC A and I keep coming back to them and alternating between which I think will end up bottom. Today it is the turn of Almondbury BC A to be chosen as my tip for bottom place this season.

My 2018 Tips
Champions:  LOCKWOOD CON A
Runners-Up:  CLAYTON WEST
Bottom:  ALMONDBURY BC A
 

25 March 2018
2018 SEASON PREVIEW: SECTION 2
 

Fantasy League tipsters have gone full measure on Longwood for the title with over 50% of entries including them as their Section 2 choice. After dominating the 6-Man league Championship for four years (202013-2016) but being pipped for the top spot last year by Lockwood Con there is good evidence of sustained success. In addition they have recruited well over the winter including Section 1 experience and newly qualified bowlers from within the club. Make no bones about it they are going to be the team to beat this year. Anyone who finishes above them is likely to have won the title. The Section 2 race last year was between three runaway teams. Two of those – Brockholes A and Thongsbridge A – were promoted with the odd-one out being Crosland Moor who lost their final game of the season at Thorpe Green by 2-7 to miss out on an immediate return to the top flight. That left them three points short of going up as Champions but still 28 points ahead of the fourth placed team. They are the obvious main threat to Longwood and it would be no surprise to me to see them as one-two come the end of the season.

The only other team that could nudge their way into consideration is Rastrick relegated after one season in Section 1. They had won the Section 2 title in 2016 with a higher points total than last year’s Champions so have to be respected at this level and as long as they don’t have a hangover after their bad experience at the top table then they could feature. Coming down with them are Shepley who had a really difficult second season in Section 1 last year being in last place all season and eventually finishing 30 points off safety. Subsequently they have lost their top two singles bowlers who will be staying in Section 1 with other teams this year. It is difficult to squeeze out any positives from their situation and they are more likely to feature in the relegation battle than the promotion chase.

The two promoted teams are New Mill A and Almondbury Lib who were both relegated from this level the year before. Are they any better than they were then? Too good for Section 3 but not good enough for Section 2? Probably not true of Almondbury Lib who had a Section 1 season two years ago but New Mill A have been promoted and relegated in alternate years for the past four seasons between Sections 2 and 3. Following that pattern would see them in the relegation places again come next October.

There are 13 teams in Section 2 this coming season with the remaining seven all staying put from last year when just 9 points separated these seven teams. So it wouldn’t take much to juggle the positions amongst themselves but, having already settled on my promotion contenders, which of these seven are more likely to becoming involved in foot of the table matters? Well the following table highlights the last three season’s finishes for these seven teams.

TEAM

2017

2016

2015

Lindley BC A

4th

7th

5th

Hemplow

5th

9th

10th

Skel Windmill

6th

8th

12th

Kirkheaton C&BC A

7th

2nd (Section 3)

9th (Section 3)

Meltham B

8th

10th

11th

Broad Oak A

9th

11th

9th

Primrose Hill Lib A

10th

6th

7th

So what does that tell us? Well it shows that both Meltham B and Broad Oak A have been in the bottom half each of the last three seasons, whereas Lindley BC A have consistently been in the top half. Hemplow and Skel Windmill have improved their final position each year over that same period. Kirkheaton C&BC A have made the greatest strides over those three years and may be best placed to push on to grander things still after a good first season at this level. I am discounting Primrose Hill Lib A after the upheaval of their second season on a new green after the demise of Newsome. Another season on that green should see them in good stead and I expect them to consolidate their Section 2 status although the statistics do not support this vote of confidence.

So after sifting through all that I am tempted to nominate Broad Oak A to fall through the trapdoor this time around but the relegation of Shepley coupled with the loss of their top two bowlers makes me think that they are in free-fall and I fear for their continuing status at this level so they are my selection.  After due deliberations I am going for Longwood to win the title from Crosland Moor as they just seem to be a really strong contender very keen to prove themselves at this new level but with bowlers who have performed at higher levels than this.

My 2018 Tips
Champions:  LONGWOOD
Promoted:  CROSLAND MOOR
Bottom:  SHEPLEY
 

22 March 2018
2018 SEASON PREVIEW: SECTION 3

 

If working out the permutations in Section 4 was difficult then it just increases in Section 3 with only five of last season's teams still competing at that level. Four teams coming down, two teams coming up and the new boys from Lockwood Con B. Let's look at them first then as Champions of the 6-Man League last year they have to be respected. The club has recruited well over the winter and look to have a very strong squad. Going against them is the fact that they will not be able to call on A team bowlers to supplement their team as they could last year when they played on a different day. Obviously a strong tip for the top and the Fantasy League punters favour their chances but with no 10-man league form to refer to it is a bit of a leap in the dark so let’s consider the other teams' credentials.

Me and my boys from Kirkheaton Con expect to be in the mix come the end of the season but I don't think we are any stronger than last year when we struggled against the good teams. That was a disappointment after finishing third the year before. Home advantage on the 'postage stamp' green is always going to be a factor and needs to be, considering our moderate away form of last year. Thorpe Green have a point to prove as they were mortified at being relegated as a result of the reorganisation last season. Their problems of raising teams last year because of illness are hopefully behind them and they have added to the squad as well. Their final day 7-2 win over Crosland Moor to deny them promotion showed their potential and I am sure that they will mount a serious challenge.

Of the two clubs that filled the real relegation places last year Canalside seem to have most to do to return to the level of three years ago when they were operating in Section 1. Since then they have withdrawn three of their four teams from the League and have the unwelcome continuing distraction of speculation about the future of their green. They will do well to steady the ship over the next six months and I see little to support any serious challenge to top places this season. Linthwaite Hall were also relegated after just one season in Section 2. They had a bad start winning just one of their first five games and cannot afford such a slow start again. They have lost their top bowler to Lockwood Con so have much to do to convince this correspondent that they can complete a quick return.

Turning to the two promoted teams and Golcar Lib B had an excellent year for as well as taking the Section 4 title they also won the Sub-Team Knock-Out Trophy. However they have lost one of their best performing bowlers from last year and are now operating at a higher level. Obviously a team on the up as are their promotion partners from Almondbury BC B who boasted the top three singles bowlers in the end of season averages as they performed an immediate bounce back after relegation in 2016. Of the two Almondbury BC B make most appeal as a team on an upward wave but as for all B teams any demands on their players from their A team could undermine their chances and the close season transfers indicate that the Golcar Lib B team may have the most demands on their bowlers from their Section 1 representatives.

Five teams retain their Section 3 status and with just 13 points between them at the end of the last campaign it is going to take some sorting out who will move on from that mid-table obscurity. All five were Section 3 also-rans the previous year as well with Lindley Lib B being the team to have made most progress over that time after winning Section 4 in 2015. Despite that they don't feature highly on the Fantasy League punter's radar with just four entries including them so far. I think they are probably better than that and I put them in my top three finishers. The other mid-tablers from Holmfirth A, Paddock and Ravensknowle Park A all improved their placings last year but the Section feels to be stronger this season so they may have missed their best opportunities to progress last year. All appear to have retained their team members without noticeable recruitment of new bowlers so it is difficult to envisage any of them improving on last year. Springwood are the other Section 3 team retaining that status once again but they slipped down the table last year after being relegated from Section 2 the season before that so on a downward spiral it would seem.

So decision time, who to pick for top and bottom place finishes? Bottom being more difficult to forecast than at the other end where I think that Lockwood Con B will have a good season, have a strong squad and have a number of bowlers capable of bowling at a higher level. I fear for the two that filled the bottom two places in Section 2 last year and think that either or both of them could fall through the trapdoor again. It is a toss-up for bottom place but have to look to Canalside to continue their slump, sorry guys although my choice may be just the incentive you need to go on to grander things, you certainly wouldn't be the first team to do that on me!.
 
My 2018 Tips
Champions:  LOCKWOOD CON B
Promoted:  LINDLEY LIB B
Bottom:  CANALSIDE
 

20 March 2018
2018 SEASON PREVIEW: SECTION 4
 

This is going to be difficult as half of the teams in Section 4 did not play at that level last year. Four teams relegated into the Section and two promoted teams to add to the six mid-tablers left from last season. Let’s start with the two promoted teams, Denby Dale and Outlane who both finished more than 20 points ahead of the chasing pack in Section 5. Denby Dale have lost two of their Championship winning team to New Mill during the close season so that will not help their cause. Outlane have done a lot of work on their green during the close season so it will be interesting to see if the home team can settle to the new surface quickly. Traditionally teams promoted from Section 5 tend to struggle with no team finishing in the top half of Section 4 after promotion over the past 5 seasons. With a strong contingent of teams dropping down a level as well it will be a surprise if either Denby Dale or Outlane can buck that trend so to survive the season at the same level will be regarded as an achievement.

Waterloo B and Bradley & Colne filled the two relegation places to drop into Section 4. The B&C side had real team raising problems last season culminating with them failing to field a full team in their last three matches of the season, twice only managing to find 6 bowlers to represent them. It was worse than that really as their last four games were against the four teams also fighting for their Section 3 futures and in losing three of those four games sealed their own fate. In a Section where only 6 points separated the bottom five teams you really didn't want to be turning up short of a full complement against your nearest rivals. The headier days of last April when Bradley & Colne topped the table were lost in the disappointment of the manner of relegation. However the Waterloo team decided to call it a day and as a result their top four bowlers have all joined Bradley & Colne so promising happier days ahead. The Fantasy League punters certainly think so anyhow as they are the leading Section 4 selection to date.

Casualties of the League reorganisation were Brockholes B, Milnsbridge B and Slaithwaite who will all be displaying their skills at a lower level this coming season. Brockholes B were in the relegation places for most of the season but three wins from their last four games gives them hope that better times are ahead and I think they could be right as their first team have strengthened their pack on promotion to Section 1 and that is bound to have benefits for the B side as well. If Milnsbridge B are to enjoy any success in 2018 they will have to address their away form with just one away win all last season whilst their home record suggests that they could be a major player at this level. The opposite is true of Slaithwaite with the worst home record in Section 3 last season winning just 4 of their 11 home games. Two years ago Slaithwaite took the Section 4 title only to come straight back down again. In that same year the B teams of Brockholes and Milnsbridge were top half Section 3 teams so make of all that what you will. As I said this is difficult. My assessment is that Slaithwaite are probably better equipped to bounce straight back than the other two and may be able to mount a promotion challenge but I could easily be wrong on that count.

Of the six teams left from Section 4 last year Marsden Park appear to have the strongest credentials to be taken as serious promotion contenders. Finishing in third place in 2017, one higher than the previous year and they flirted with the promotion places for much of last season and they had four of the eight finalists in the LD Trophy competition. All positive signs to take into account although the fact that they couldn't field a full ten on three occasions last year is a negative. Meltham C improved three places on the previous year to finish fourth at the end of the 2017 season which is exactly where they ended up in 2015. Being a C team has its own inevitable difficulties with bowler calls for the A and B teams cascading down to become the C team captain's problem. So to some extent their future is not entirely in their own hands so making it difficult to back them with any real certainty.

Netherton Con B regrouped after relegation at the end of the 2016 season and will look to push on from their fifth place finish last year. They appear to have stabilised to count a 9-0 home win over Marsden Park amongst their better moments last year. Whether they can move on from that remains to be seen and I see no further signs of recovery for them to win my vote (or kiss of death) for 2018.

Well on to my Achilles Heal - Marsh United B. I've tipped them to be relegated for the last two seasons. In 2015 they duly won the Section 5 title and then last year they built on that move-up to consolidate their Section 4 standing. I know that they really want me to select them once again for relegation as a sure pointer of their continuing success, maybe I will. Lindley BC B had a top four away record last year but finished in eighth position. I take that as a positive sign following promotion from Section 5 in 2016 and would expect them to build on that and become, at least, a top half team.

Broad Oak B finished last year in the bottom four for a second consecutive season and I am struggling to find a team more likely to fill a relegation place this time around. That being the case I am moving my (dis)loyalty away from Marsh United B this season and tipping Board Oak B to struggle again and finish in bottom place. Tempting as it is to follow the wave of support for Bradley & Colne for the top honour this year I have a sneaking feeling for Marsden Park and they are my tip for the title this year.
 
My 2018 Tips
Champions:  MARSDEN PARK
Promoted:  BRADLEY & COLNE
Bottom:  BROAD OAK B
 

17 March 2018
2018 SEASON PREVIEW: SECTION 5

Turning to the 10-man competition now with a first look at Section 5. What to make of Dalton? They finished third last year although a long way behind the top two who have both been promoted. After losing 5 of their first 6 games the boys from Dalton suddenly came good to lead a charge to the top. But they still managed to lose to the bottom three teams in the Section at the same time beating the top two! Not sure what to make of all that for a team that beats the best but loses to the worst.

The three relegated teams must all be a little surprised to see where they ended last year after giving few indications that they were going to have poor seasons. The Rugby Club in particular finished in 3rd position in 2016 so to end last season in a relegation place was not expected at all. Similarly David Brown Sports and Thongsbridge B had comfortable mid-table places in 2016 but it all went belly up for them last year. I can only see more difficult times ahead for all three although their past pedigree may see them recover at this lower level. Lowerhouses had a strong finish to last year winning 5 of their final 7 fixtures to suggest that better days are ahead and they are definitely a team to keep an eye on.

New Mill 'B' finished third last year despite winning only 10 games, only the bottom four teams won less. The club has been busy recruiting new bowlers during the summer months which should benefit both their teams so another team to keep an eye on as early results could give a good guide as to their potential. Primrose Hill Lib 'B' finished seventh last season, a one place improvement on the previous season. The potential benefits of taking on the displaced Newsome bowlers doesn't appear to have been realised so maybe a missed opportunity so no reason to indicate any improvement on last year.

Greenhead Park appear to have a mid-table annual booking after four consecutive such finishes and it would be a brave man (not me) to tip them for the top or bottom of this Section. Kirkheaton C&BC 'B' finished last year just below half-way even though only the Champions had a better away record than them. It wouldn't take much of an improvement to make them serious contenders especially as their 'A' team continues to improve and raise the playing level in the club. Better days ahead for them me thinks.

Elland C&BC 'B' have finished in the bottom three places for the last two years and if Ravensknowle Park 'B' sort out their team-raising problems (a big ask as despite their best efforts nothing seems to have changed) then it could be even worse news next year. Holmfirth 'B' appear to be in free-fall and cannot go much further down before touching rock-bottom although I think the Park will be there before them again this year.
  
My 2018 Tips
Champions:  DALTON
Promoted:  LOWERHOUSES
Bottom:  RAVENSKNOWLE PARK 'B'
 

14 March 2018
2018 SEASON PREVIEW: SECTION A
  
The Section A league will be very interesting this year with the withdrawal of the Longwood and Lockwood Con teams, who move into the 10-Man League, we have a wide-open race looming. The mentioned two have dominated the league title for the last 5 years and it will be intriguing to see which team will rise above the rest to assume the
new leadership standing. Shepley were the last team to win the title before the Longwood/Lockwood Con domination took over and after finishing third last year will be well fancied to resume their challenge. Last year they finished 9 points clear of their nearest rival Brockholes A and 25 points ahead of Farnley Tyas in fifth place. With 7-0 home wins over both of those teams last year it is difficult to present any argument which eliminates them from topspot. Shepley, like Brockholes, have the potential to call on better bowlers from their 10-man teams and if either decides to do so this year then that could be a telling moment in the title race.

Farnley Tyas don't have the luxury of a strong 10-man back-up resource but they are definitely a team on the up after their promotion the previous year. However they will need to improve their away form if they are to progress any further. Just one away win all last season (at Thongsbridge B) will not win them any title in this League. Brockholes A had a slow start to last season winning once in their first 5 games, they can't afford to do that again this year if any challenge is to be taken seriously. Yet they are capable of much better things as their final game 6-1 home win over Champions Lockwood Cons proved. I can see both the top two promoted teams, Netherton Con and Crosland Moor, having good seasons with top half finishes for both likely but it might be too big an ask at this stage to suggest anything better than that.

Skel Windmill and Golcar Lib B also got promoted due to the two Section A withdrawals but retaining their new status is likely to occupy their initial thoughts rather than greater aspirations and to still be in Section A for 2019 will be an achievement for both. Paddock are the perpetual mid-tablers having held that position for many years. They are the team other teams measure themselves against. Beat Paddock and you are are top-half contenders. Lose to Paddock and you will not get above half-way. That's just the way it is and nothing looks likely to change soon. Similarly with Thongsbridge B, mid-table for the last four seasons but maybe that good away record of last year, the most wins outside the top four, points to better days ahead. Certainly I see them improving on last year's seventh place finish.

Milnsbridge had a good first year in Section A after lifting the Section B title the previous year but after a good start to the season they faltered later on winning just two of their final eight matches. After that consolidation they need to move on to the next level and maybe they will but their late form throws doubts about that. A ninth place finish for Clayton West last year is poor by their standards after being a top five team for the previous three years. Was that a blip or the start of a decline? Time will tell but it is difficult to work up any enthusiasm on their chances based on last year's form.

Almondbury Lib were one place above the relegation spots last year but they beat both the bottom two by 7-0 to suggest that they are well above that level. However just one away win all last season (at bottom team Primrose Hill Lib) indicates another season of fighting relegation and this time they may not find two poorer teams below them.

My 2018 Section A Tips
Champions:  SHEPLEY
Runners-Up:  FARNLEY TYAS
Bottom:  GOLCAR LIB


12 March 2018
2018 SEASON PREVIEW: SECTION B

Well lets get started then with the 2018 season preview starting with the 6-Man League and first of all Section B. Twelve teams start the season of which three are brand new ones to our League. Two of those teams - Golcar C&BC and Marsh Liberal - seem to be made up of novice or totally new bowlers and wouldn't at first glance appear to offer any threat to claiming honours in their first season. It is worth noting that the Golcar C&BC captain is Mick Chapman who won all his 20 matches out of 20 played for New Mill B in Section 5 last season. He assures me that the rest of the team are new and novice bowlers. If that is correct then anything out of the bottom two final placings will be an achievement for both the new boys.
 
However the third new team are a different proposition altogether, a new 'B' team from Skel Windmill 'B'. This team is expected to be made up of primarily bowlers from last year's 10-man B team who have withdrawn from that competition due to team-raising difficulties. Even with such problems they finished mid-table in Section 4 with a W11 L11 record which points to a level probably higher than most teams in Section B. Speculation about the future of their green coupled with the uncertainty about the future of The Windmill pub wont help their cause but assuming that is clarified then I expect them to be serious contenders for the title. With last season's top four all being promoted that leaves Meltham as the top placed team of 2017 still in that Section. Having been relegated and promoted up and then back down in to the Section in the previous two seasons they are eminently qualified to go up once again this year.
 
Holmfirth, Shepley 'B' and Hemplow
finished within four points of each other in mid-table last season. For Holmfirth that was a one-place improvement on the previous year but it was a continuance of the declining fortunes for the other two. I would expect Shepley B and Hemplow to drop even further this season whilst Holmfirth could continue their improvement to lift themselves one or two places up on last season.  Of last season's bottom four Brockholes 'B' were well adrift at the foot some 18 points short of their nearest rivals. It is difficult to build a case for anything different this year but I trust they will still get the same level of enjoyment out of the exercise that they have always done.
 
The two above them were Thongsbridge A and Lindley Lib and these two were in the bottom three teams the previous season. Easter may be coming up and only a resurrection on biblical proportions is likely to see either of these getting a top half placing although I wish them well.
 
Looking at the two teams to drop down from Section A I believe that Oakfield are best placed to mount a challenge to renew top level bowling before their fellow 2017 strugglers Primrose Hill who should still have a top-half finish in them. In 2016 Oakfield had finished mid-table in Section A after winning promotion the previous year. Sixth behind Longwood and Lockwood Con points to better than average and I believe that they will be in a three-way tussle for the top of Section B this year. The three teams I think will fight it out at the top are therefore Meltham, Oakfield and Skel Windmill 'B' with the last named being my tip for the top.



My 2018 Section B Tips
Champions:  SKEL WINDMILL 'B'
Promoted:  OAKFIELD
Bottom:  BROCKHOLES 'B'



4 January 2018
A RECORD YEAR FOR THE HDVBA WEBSITE 
We have had a record number of visitors to the HDVBA website in 2017 with an overall increase of 9% to 95,699 in total. That equates to an average of 262 visitors every day of the year. The breakdown by month is shown in the chart below and compared against the same period for last year. The listing alongside shows the annual total number of visitors for the last four years. Thank you for continuing to support us and we hope that you keep coming back for more.

 
  
18 November 2017

BOWLING IS NOT ON THE DECLINE SAYS BILL

Bill Blackburn has responded to the suggestion that bowling might be on the decline in Huddersfield and he is certain that this is not the case. He backs that up with some interesting facts and figures regarding the Saturday League but starts off by quoting an area where there has definitely been a decline over the years.

In 1950 527 bowlers entered the Huddersfield Merit which was a drop of 80 from the previous year which is considerably more than enters now. Also many bowlers had to work Saturday mornings, dash home for lunch then catch a bus to their venue. Not everyone had a car 67 years ago.

 

In the Huddersfield Bowling Association four cups were bowled for on Saturdays: Subscription, Drayton, Littlewood and Binns. There were four sections in each cup: A, B, C and D.  Each teams played the other teams twice in their section on neutral greens. There were also inter-division matches usually between A and B sections and C and D.

 

At end of season winners of each section played off in a semi-final and final to determine winners of the cup. If you won the Drayton Cup you were not automatically promoted to Subscription. If you were in Section C that season you were promoted to Section B.

 

In the Subscription Cup were: Fartown WMC, Newsome, Linthwaite C&BC, Golcar Lib, Paddock C&BC, Skelmanthorpe, Broad Oak, Bradley Mills, Hillhouse & Birkby, HC&AC, Cowcliffe, Kirkheaton C&BC, Waterloo, ICI, Milnsbridge BC, Jackson Bridge, Linthwaite Hall, Thorpe Green, Crosland Moor, Almondbury Con, Taylor Hill, Thornton Lodge, New Mill, Lindley Lib, Lockwood Con, Longwood, Lockwood Lib and Lindley WMC

 

In the Drayton Cup: Turnbridge, Lowerhouses, CIW, Honley Lib, Springwood, Primrose Hill, Denby Dale, Marsh Lib, Outlane, Grange Moor, Paddock Inst, Primrose Hill WMC, Meltham, Almondbury Lib, Slaithwaite, Bradley & Colne, Kirkheaton Con, Sheepridge, Golcar C&AC, Brockholes, Thongsbridge, Netherton Con, Moldgreeen Con and Shepley.

 

In the Littlewood Cup: Linthwaite C&BC, Thorpe Green, HC&AC, Lindley Lib, ICI, Primrose Hill WMC, Fartown WMC, Kirkheaton C&BC, Broad Oak and Paddock C&BC.

 

In the Binns Cup: Almondbury Con, Jackson Bridge, Lockwood Lib, Milnsbridge Lib,  New Mill, Longwood, Meltham, HC&AC, Milnsbridge BC, Lowerhouses, Moldgreen Con, Skelmanthorpe, Cowcliffe, Almondbury Lib, Bradley Mills and Lindley Lib.

 

A total of 80 teams compared to today’s total of 93 which proves that bowling in Huddersfield is not on the decline.

 

Where we have gained considerably is in the number of Huddersfield bowlers representing Yorkshire. In 1950 only four played for the county, W Smith and T Chambers both HC&AC and W C Moorhouse Thornton Lodge and F Mitchell Lockwood Con
 

15 November 2017
WEBSITE VISITOR NUMBERS UP
The chart below shows the average number of visitors to the HDVBA website per day month-by-month over the year. The figures show a consistent increase over last year's figures for the later months of the season. Total numbers are also up with a daily average for the year showing 269 compared with 261 for the first 10 months in 2016. The stats also show that over the first 10 months of 2017 the site has had a total of 82,242 visits. Thank you for your continuing support.

11 November 2017
CURRENT ACTIVE GREENS
Here is a list of the 53 greens currently in use in the Huddersfield area, unless you know better and can add to this list. The believed opening dates of this greens are alongside them. Again you may know better and we are happy to be corrected and more than happy to learn of some of the missing start dates as well.

If we are able to complete the details of these greens then we will be in a position to see if we have an over all gain or loss on the total number of greens in the last 50 years. Please help to complete this listing.  Contact Us

Almondbury B.C. 1917 Longwood
Almondbury Lib. Lowerhouses 1920
Bradley & Colne 1920 Marsden Park 1910
Broad Oak Marsh Lib 1947
Brockholes 1914 Marsh United 1903
Canalside Meltham 1903
Clayton West 1927 Milnsbridge BC 1904
Cowcliffe Milnsbridge Lib 1921
Crosland Moor 1926 Moldgreen Con 1923
Dalton Netherton Con. 1923
Denby Dale New Mill 1921
Elland C&BC 1883/1924 Oakfield T&BC
Elland WMC 1928 Outlane 1913
Farnley Tyas Paddock C&BC 1901
Golcar Lib. 1910 Paddock I&C 1912
Greenhead Park Primrose Hill Lib
Grange Moor 1953 Rastrick 1902
Hemplow 1989 Ravensknowle Park 1928
Holmfirth 1901 Shepley 1906
Huddersfield RUBC 1998 Skel Central 1911
Kirkheaton C&BC 1901 Skel Windmill 1952
Kirkheaton Con. 1899 Slaithwaite C&BC 1900
Lindley BC 1894 Springwood 1909
Lindley Lib. 1911 Thongsbridge 1918
Linthwaite C&BC 1896 Thorpe Green 1922
Linthwaite Hall 1917 Waterloo 1893
Lockwood Con.    

10 November 2017
MORE EXTINCT GREENS
Following the list of 37 redundant greens listed last week (below dated 2 November) we have received some more input on a further eleven greens that no longer exist although the members are happy to be challenged on some of them as memory can play its tricks for many of us. So add those 11 to the previously identified 37 extinct greens to bring up the new total of 48 greens lost over time to the local bowling community.

Here are the latest additions which have primarily come from an article written by Peter Muff in The Examiner (date unknown):
Canker Hill, Fartown Liberal, Cowcliffe Cons, Berry Brow Labour Club, Black Bull at Mirfield, Lepton Church Institute and Bowling Club, Three Owls at Kirkburton, Bath Hotel at Lockwood, next to Emley Football Club, Salendine Nook Red Triangle Club at YMCA at Laund Hill and finally St Lukes Hospital sat between the Nurse's Home and Social Club.

11/11/2017: A further addition from Alan Fawcett who recalls there being a green at Hope Bank Pleasure Ground at Honley but this closed in 1955 when the site was sold to Brook Motors for the development of their new factory.  Hope Bank
 
12/11/2017: One more to add as Bob Swan recalls bowling on the Storthes Hall green in 1987 and he provided us with a photo of the opening of the green as part of the Queen's Coronation celebrations in May 1953.  Photo

26/11/2017: Thanks go again to Bob Swan for uncovering a press cutting about the opening of a green on the Fernside Estate at Almondbury. This shows the first woods being sent down in 1961. I make that pushing our total of extinct local greens to 52.  Press cutting
  

7 November 2017
PREDICTION REVIEW
Each season I have managed to embarrass myself by selecting teams that I think will top their end of season league tables and also those I believe have the best chance of finishing bottom. Then I have published those selections on this website to provide ample ammunition to many to ridicule me whenever they see me through the season. In 2016 I inadvisingly selected Marsh Utd B to finish bottom of Section 5 when of course that motivated them to lift the Section Championship. Nothing quite as blatant as that has happened this past season but suffice to say that my selections would not have lifted the Fantasy League title.  Below is the outcome of my 2017 selections and I care not a jot because I intend doing the same again in 2018. You can all do the same of course by entering the Fantasy League competition once it reopens in February.

Section TOP FORECAST OUTCOME
1 LOCKWOOD CON Champions
2 CROSLAND MOOR 3rd of 14
3 SPRINGWOOD 6th of 12
4 ALMONDBURY BC B Runners-Up
5 CANALSIDE B 9th of 12
A LONGWOOD Runners-Up
B MELTHAM 5th of 13
BOTTOM FORECAST OUTCOME
1 COWCLIFFE 10th of 14
2 CANALSIDE A Bottom
3 RAVENSKNOWLE PARK A 7th of 12
4 MARSH UNITED B 7th of 12
5 NEW MILL B 4th of 12
A FARNLEY TYAS 5th of 12
B GREENHEAD PARK 12th of 13
 
 
2 November 2017

EXTINCT GREENS
Bill Blackburn has sent me a list of 33 local greens that are no longer in use and thinks that total could grow to 35 as he is unsure about the current status of Linthwaite Methodist and Longley Tennis Club. Maybe someone could update us about these two and maybe you could think of another redundant green or two to add to this listing as well. It would also be interesting to put the years that each green closed alongside their listing below.  Contact Us

In the Huddersfield & District area we have 53 bowling greens but we could have had many more if the ones now extinct had still been in use. Here is a list of ones no longer in use.

Armitage Bridge, Birkby Liberal Club (formerly used by Brook Motors), Bradley Woodman, Bradley Mills, Canalside Back Green (2017), Castle Hill, Croppers Arms at Marsh, Dalton Liberal Club, DB Tractors (Meltham Hall), DB Sports (Moorend), Fartown WMC, Golcar Conservative Club, Honley Liberal Club, HC&AC (two  greens), Hillhouse & Birkby, Kings Arms Moldgreen, Leeds Road Playing Fields (now the Dome), Lindley WMC, Lockwood & Salford Liberal Club, Longroyd Bridge Institute, Milnsbridge County, Newsome WMC (2016), Primrose Hill WMC, Rastrick (one green), Rawthorpe WMC, Smithriding (Linthwaite), Sheepridge & Deighton Liberal Club, Turnbridge WMC, Thornton Lodge WMC, Taylor Hill WMC, Upper Royal George, Woodfield Park (Police ground).

Subsequently added to this list are
- a second green at Paddock Cricket Club as suggested by Chris Squires

- the Brook Motors green at New Mill Road in Brockholes which closed when the plant moved in about 2006. Thank you to Alan Fawcett for this addition.

25 August 2017
A STORY OF FOUR WOODS
An estranged pair! A Thomas Taylor 2.10 High Density black wood with green lettering. Along with a Thomas Taylor 2.8 Low Density black wood with yellow lettering. I am sure you can spot the difference without looking at the photo below of these two woods. Somewhere out there has another pair with exactly the same mismatch! If you are the proud owner of such a (almost) unique pair perhaps you would contact us and we will put you in touch with your twin. The pairs have been separated for over a year now (don't ask), time to be reunited.  Contact Us

UPDATE: The pairs were successfully reunited with their original partners following this appeal. 

 
15 August 2017

WEBSITE VISITOR RECORDS
The chart below shows the website's average number of visitors per day comparing 2016 against this year. On 25 July 2017 we beat our best ever one-day total when 431 people paid a visit passing our previous best recorded on 5th July 2016 with 427 visitors.
 

 
3 April 2017

CLOSE SEASON TRANSFERS
A number of bowlers have swopped clubs during the close season and we have captured many of the changes of registration in the table below.

BOWLER FROM TO
R. Clarkson Skel Windmill Clayton West
D. Hirst Milnsbridge BC Golcar Lib
E. Sykes Netherton Con New Mill
F.Hinchliffe Holmfirth New Mill
G. Smith Lockwood Con Netherton Con
F. Sykes Outlane Paddock I&C
D. Parkin Denby Dale Skel Windmill
G. Price Lindley BC Milnsbridge BC
D. Nicholson Brockholes Meltham
J. Hoyle Canalside Brockholes
D. Hamilton Milnsbridge BC Marsh Utd
D. Barraclough Skel Windmill Kirkheaton Con

 
2017 PREDICTIONS

SECTION 1

Well it’s a forgone conclusion isn’t it – Lockwood Cons to win the Section 1 Championship for a fourth consecutive season? They’ve increased their lead and points total each year and have totally dominated Veteran’s League bowling since 2013. In the League averages last year they had three of the top four singles bowlers and two of the top five pairs players. They won the Team KO and their bowlers lifted the Rose Bowl and Pairs titles last year. So with all that evidence it is going to be a brave man (or a fool, or both) to bet against them. Not me that is for sure and 80% of the Fantasy League teams include them in their selections. But wait – they lost two of their final three home games last season including to relegated Thongsbridge A, hardly the form of Invincibles surely. Could that be the first crack in their armour? No chance they were just winding down and were so relaxed having already clinched the title by then and swopping single and pairs bowlers around in an end-of-season celebration. Nothing to offer any encouragement to the chasing pack.

Last year I tipped Lockwood Cons to win the title and Clayton West to chase them home ahead of Netherton Cons. Well Netherton surprisingly imploded and dropped right out of contention and Milnsbridge BC had a resurgence of form which saw them finish as runners-up and lift the Bistro. Does that mean they are on the way back to the form that won them a record five consecutive titles between 2009 and 2013? The close-season hasn’t been kind to them and they have lost a couple of club stalwarts to other Section 1 teams so I fear that recovery may be halted before it has really begun. That being the case I think that Clayton West will pose the greatest threat to the Champions but that threat will be short lived and it is Lockwood once again as my confident tip for the top.

There appears to be a new order emerging as well with the A teams from Meltham, Lindley Lib and Marsh Utd all improving last season to take 4th, 5th and 6th places and it will be interesting to see which of them can maintain that development to push on to the next level. All had identical 3-10 away records last year and any change in the order may be determined by the ones who can improve on that. Of these I fancy Lindley Lib to progress best, don’t know why other than they are improving at a rate of knots after promotion two years ago and seem to be a team on the up.

The real surprise last year was Netherton finishing 52 points behind the leaders after only being 8 points adrift the previous year and dropping from runners-up to ninth. Nearer the bottom than the top and I have no idea what the future holds for them but they certainly cannot afford a similar drop in fortunes again this year. I think they have too many good bowlers to end up in the relegation dogfight but that drop last year must be a worry for them. Waterloo also had a poor year by their standards and will need to reform their ways if they are to retain their mid-table position where Elland are likely to end up once again after taking eighth place for the last two years.

I really like the look of the two promoted teams, Rastrick and Almondbury BC A and expect them both to consolidate their top tier status this year. Golcar Lib duly obliged on my tip for them to be involved in the relegation battle last season however I think they have recruited well in the close season and whilst I don’t see them returning yet to the glory days of the mid-naughties I do think they will have a better season.

Looking downwards and I have two teams left still to mention. Shepley and Cowcliffe were both promoted two years ago and after bright starts to their Section 1 seasons both faded and I have them both down to fill the relegation places this year. If I have to pick one to be bottom, that’s difficult but a 0-13 away record last season for Cowcliffe puts them in poll position to prop up the end of season table in my book.

TABLE TOPPERS AGAIN:  Lockwood Cons
COWSHED CALAMATIES:  Cowcliffe

 
SECTION 2

According to the Fantasy League tipsters this is the most open of all of our Sections with 10 of the 14 teams being selected by one or more entrants so far. Top choice to date is Brockholes A and there is good reason behind that confidence. They have strengthened well during the summer on the back of fourth place for the last two seasons.

My boys at Kirkheaton Cons probably flattered a little last year in finishing third with seven teams winning more games than us and I certainly don’t intend to put the mockers on our chances by tipping us for promotion but you never know, we have been there before.

My friends from Thorpe Green gave me a lot of stick last year for tipping them for relegation especially when they headed the table at the half-way point and would probably appreciate me doing the same again this year, maybe I will.

With all the off-the-green problems that Newsome had last year it was amazing that they improved their league position from 7th to 6th and if they have benefitted from a year on their new green at Primrose Hill then they could be a real force this year. Add to that their wonderful cup run that took them to the Final of the Rose Bowl where they were far from disgraced in losing 101-92 to Milnsbridge A on a glorious day at Brockholes. They are obviously capable of performing at a higher level and may do so next year.

Looking at last year’s mid-table teams and the only one making improvements from the previous year are Skel Windmill A and they have been unfortunate in losing a couple of their better players for 2017 so may have hit the buffers on their mini-revival. Of the rest Canalside look very vulnerable after losing their captain and prolific winner to Brockholes and with finishing third bottom last year are my pick to go down this time around.

Coming down from Section 1 we have Crosland Moor and Thongsbridge A with just one point separating them at the foot. Team raising problems and a five-point penalty didn’t help the Moor’s cause and Thongsbridge have been flirting with relegation for a couple of years. I expect both to be in the top bunch come the end of 2017.

Promotion from Section 3 for Linthwaite Hall and Kirkheaton C&BC A and they were both well ahead of the pack so a cut above the rest and worthy of Section 2 status but are they good enough to go straight through in to the top Section? Brockholes are rightly entrenched as the Fantasy League top selection but I’m going out on a limb here and pushing Crosland Moor as my choice for the title. I know that they have some good bowlers and as long as they have enough of them to turn a full team out every week I can see them having a good year.

MOOR THE MERRIER:  Crosland Moor
FOOTER FODDER:  Canalside A
 

 SECTION 3

Let’s start the Section 3 preview by looking at the also-rans from last season in that Section. Just eight points separated the four teams finishing 3rd to 6th and all have good reason to be optimistic about their chances for 2017. One point between Springwood and Milnsbridge B and just out of the promotion places and no doubt looking forward to a good season ahead. One point separated them in 2015 as well when they dropped out of Section 2 together.

Lindley Lib B and Brockholes B came out of Section 4 together in 2015 and adjusted well to the higher standard in Section 3 last year to finish creditably in 5th and 6th places. Both are obviously on an upward trend and must be taken seriously this year. Whereas Holmfirth A, Waterloo B, Paddock and Ravensknowle Park A all had lower final positions than the previous year suggesting that they will not be challenging for honours this season in fact I think they are all strong contenders for the relegation places and my foot of the table tip comes from amongst them.

The two teams coming down from Section 2 are Almondbury Lib and New Mill A. Both clubs have been busy during the summer strengthening their squads, certainly in numbers and maybe in quality as well. For Almondbury Lib it was a second consecutive relegation so much work to do there to address the balance and New Mill were 25 points behind them to show how far off the pace they were last year. It is difficult (for me) to see either mounting a strong campaign to make an immediate return to the higher level and a year of consolidation may be the best they both can hope for. The Fantasy League tipsters don’t quite see it like that with Almondbury Lib being the most popular selection in Section 3 so far with 30% of the votes which is the lowest for any top selection in our seven sections.

Joining the Section from Section 4 we have Slaithwaite and Bradley & Colne both bouncing straight back after relegation the previous year. Both look comfortable mid-table finishers to me as they settle into this higher level of competition.

I’m making a bit of a speculative punt in backing Springwood to continue their improved form to take top spot whilst Ravensknowle Park A get my downward vote this year after escaping relegation last year by a single point.

WINNERS:  Springwood
LOSERS:  Ravensknowle Park A

 

SECTION 4 

 Three Section 4 teams had 11-0 home records last season and two of those teams are still in that Section this year and both have to be taken seriously. The Rugby Club and Marsden Park finished 3rd and 4th with those unbeaten home records being major factors and only poor away form limited their push for promotion. For the Rugby Club with a 12-1 record in 2015 as well it is clear that their abysmal away form (5 wins in the last two seasons) is solely responsible for their lack of challenge at the top of the table. Until they show some semblance of success on those trips I cannot see them claiming the top spot this year. That goes against the trend as no less than 55% of the Fantasy League Section 4 selections are for the Rugby Club which is the second highest of any of the Sections to make them a strong favourite, except in my book.
 
There is a case to support Marsden Park this year. Only relegated two years ago because of the league reorganisation and a creditable 4th last year behind two other relegated teams. No team will win a title just by winning all their home games they need to pick up points on the road as well. That away form worries me and it has to improve if they are to be taken seriously as title contenders. Maybe it will.

Thongsbridge B appear to be in a downward spiral with last year’s 6th place finish following a final third place the previous year so I am not prepared to back them this time around. Similar for Meltham C down from 4th in 2015 to 7th last year doesn’t give me any confidence about a promotion push this time around. Skel Windmill B consolidated in mid-table after their earlier relegation and need to be watched and could have an interesting season ahead of them.

Coming down are Netherton Con B and Almondbury BC B who were just one point short of safety last backend and could be a real threat this year. Whereas Netherton Con B seem to be dropping like a stone after a comfortable mid-table Section 3 finish in 2015 to 23 points short of safety last year it doesn’t make for positive reading. Almondbury had the best away record in the bottom half of Section 3 last year so there is obviously some potential hidden in there but is it enough to overhaul the Rugby Club? It’s a close call but I am hedging towards Almondbury BC B to bounce straight back by winning the Section 4 title this year.

Only the two relegated teams had worse away records than Golcar Lib B and David Brown Sports last season so I fear they are in for long hard campaign this time around. The two promoted teams, Marsh Utd B and Lindley BC B have momentum but little else to justify promotion hopes again in my opinion and after deriding their chances last season I can hardly hold them up as shining examples this season. In fact I am going to do something really stupid and spiteful and tip Marsh Utd to finish bottom for a second time and maybe they will once again do the dirty on me. I am sure that they will be delighted to receive my confident vote once again this year!

CHAMPS ELECT:  Almondbury BC B
GOING DOWN AGAIN:  Marsh Utd B
 

SECTION 5

Where to start with Section 5 my annus horribilis of last year! Fancy Marsh Utd B winning the Section after I tipped them to finish bottom, how inconsiderate of them. I had good reason to as well as only ‘goal average’ had saved them from bottom place the year before and the shake-up of the Sections saw 6 teams coming down from Section 4. They had no right to win that Section and my confidence about this Section is completely shot. However I picked Outlane last year to do the business and they duly won 17 of their 22 league matches, exactly the same number as the promoted two but could only manage fourth place. The Fantasy League tipsters are showing overwhelming support for them for the coming season so do I stay loyal and tip them again?

Lets look at the alternatives with Canalside B again a strong contender after their 3rd place finish last year after unfortunately dropping a Section as part of the 2016 reorganisation of Sections. The two teams coming down this year have to be factored in as well but both had such dramatic falls from their previous safe mid-Section 4 positions to be well adrift at the foot of the table that they appear to be in a really bad place at present so I am going to discount them both from the title race.

Holmfirth B was the Fantasy League tipsters top Section 5 selection last year but that confidence proved unfounded as they finally finished in the bottom half and I see no reason why that should improve. Denby Dale may be about to take off after consolidating their position after relegation in 2015 but then again they may not! Greenhead Park are definitely on the upward path and I expect to see them improve on last year’s 6th place but maybe not enough to worry the main contenders.

So make-your-mind-up-time for top place and I keep coming back to Outlane and Canalside B. The Sub-Team KO success enjoyed by Outlane last year may have improved their confidence but even with all that success they still finished behind Canalside B who are going to carry the burden of my vote for 2017.  

Looking downwards and the team raising difficulties experienced by New Mill B and Elland B contributed to their bottom two finishes last season. Elland failed to field a full team in 13 of their 22 league fixtures and received a yellow card from the Management Committee so cannot afford to have the same experience again. New Mill got their act together mid-season but still too late to improve their position. Ravensknowle Park seem to be an improving team but Kirkheaton C&BC B are going in the opposite direction and I think they will only be spared bottom spot by New Mill B my tip for the final place this year but what do I know and you can now fully expect them to run away with the title!

TABLE TOPPERS:  Canalside B
CRASH CONTENDERS:
  New Mill B

SECTION A

If you are looking for a Banker bet then this is the one to put your mortgage on - Longwood to win Section A for the fourth consecutive year. Just one defeat last year, away to nearest challengers Lockwood Cons, otherwise an unblemished record. Then they have added to their squad this close-season with another newly qualified Veteran from their parent club so I fully expect them to widen the gap over the chasing pack.

Lockwood Cons are likely to continue to lead that pack and if they get over the habit of losing to anyone other than Longwood then they can mount a serious challenge but I don't see that happening. A good run in the Julie Fuller Trophy may be the extent of their ambitions this year and being drawn in the opposite half to Longwood should set up a top-two Final.  

The trio in the supporting positions, Shepley A, Brockholes A and Clayton West, seem to rotate the next positions amongst themselves each year and that is likely to continue although Oakfield could break up that cosy scenario. They were the surprise team last year after only getting promoted due to Canalside folding. However they were the most successful of the three promoted teams with Newsome and Meltham involved in a relegation battle which Meltham duly lost. Maybe the Newsome name change (to Primrose Hill Lib) will signal a change in fortune. Their Julie Fuller Trophy exploits of last season were remarkable and despite losing in the Final (to Longwood of course) they showed their potential.

More interestingly at the bottom is the battle to retain Section A status for 2018. Milnsbridge BC look the best of the two promoted teams leaving Farnley Tyas to contest it out with Almondbury Lib, Paddock and Primrose Hill with any two from four the probable outcome. I tipped Farnley to win Section B last year but now fear for their continuing involvement in the top flight.

FOUR-IN-A-ROW: Longwood
DROP DOOMED:  Farnley Tyas

SECTION B

We end our look at the season ahead in Section B of the 6-Man League where Skel Windmill are the logical selection to head the table at the end of the new season but are they good enough to do it? They finished 3rd last year and were 13 points clear of the 4th placed team. A 10-1 home record augurs well for the future as well.

Behind them came a pack of four teams, Shepley B, Hemplow, Golcar Lib and Holmfirth, separated by just four points and it is difficult to separate them. Golcar Lib were relegated the previous season and I would have expected them to bounce straight back up if they were up for it but a mid-table finish may mean they are on the decline.  Shepley B moved up to 4th from 8th in 2015 so are an improving team as are Holmfirth who had the best away record of that group of four teams and were much improved on the previous season. Hemplow gained one more point than they did the previous season so appear to have peaked in 5th place. Then you have to factor in the two teams relegated last year, Crosland Moor and Meltham. The Moor will need to resolve their team raising difficulties before they can be considered as strong contenders but they obviously have the talent if they can field a full team every week and the new Starred Bowler rules will certainly help them. Meltham are back in the Section they won promotion from 2 years ago and could be worth a punt.

The last new team to enter Section B won it. Milnsbridge were the new boys last season and we have another new entry this year - Lindley BC. The Fantasy League tipsters like the look of their fortunes although Skel Windmill is the favourite selection so far. I struggle to talk up Lindley BC's chances I'm afraid but if they put some of their experienced bowlers to match their new bowlers then they could do very well. I'm tempted to go with the form and choose Skel Windmill as my pick for 2017 but will instead look for Meltham to prove that their promotion of 2015 was well earned and that they can do it again.

At the foot of the table Greenhead Park look well off the pace I'm afraid and their 2016 points total was less than half that of their nearest rivals so they will need to have a massive improvement to get out of finishing bottom again.

CHAMPIONS-IN-WAITING:  Meltham
WOODEN SPOONERS:  Greenhead Park

 

5 May 2017
SECOND SESSION ORGANISED

 
A second training event has been organised for Wednesday 31 May 2017 from 10am to 12noon. The subjects to be covered are as below and the venue is once again Paddock I&C. Book your place now by emailing jefftheref2000@yahoo.co.uk as places are limited to just 15 of which 5 are already booked. Although preference is giving to Veterans League bowlers I am happy to take stand-by bookings from non-Veterans League bowlers in the event that insufficient numbers are forthcoming to justify holding a session. Either way register that interest now by emailing me your contact details.
 

17 March 2017
FREE EVERYDAY FIRST AID TRAINING

Following the near-fatal incident last year when a bowler nearly died prior to the start of a match, the Association has organised some first aid training which is open free of charge to all League bowlers.


 
A two-hour session from 10am-12noon will be held on Wednesday 19 April at Paddock I&C. Bookings are required as only 15 places are available. More sessions will be arranged if the demand is there. This initial session will be provided by the British Red Cross and will cover Everyday First Aid and will include:

      - helping someone who is bleeding heavily
      - helping someone who has a broken bone
      - helping someone who has a head injury
      - helping someone who is having a heart attack
      - helping someone who has a sprain or a strain
      - helping someone who is having a stroke
      - helping an unresponsive person who is breathing
      - helping an unresponsive person who is not breathing

To book your place on this initial Everyday First Aid course or to express an interest in attending a later session please email jefftheref2000@yahoo.co.uk Include your name and club and you will be informed if you are to be offered a place on the first course or a later course.
 
The closing date for participants to this opening course is Wednesday 12 April.

8 March 2017

2016 PREVIEW REVIEWED
This time last year I had the audacity to preview each of the seven Sections and offer my tips for the end-of-season Top and Bottom of each of those Sections. Listed below are each of those forecasts with the final outcome for each as well. If you had copied my seven tips for the top of each Section and entered them into our Fantasy League competition you would have claimed 2nd place and the Gallon of Ale prize. Three title winners and three Runners-Up is pretty good eh? My tips for the other end of the tables didn't go so well with just one spot-on forecast and my Section 5 selection of Marsh Utd B so disgusted them that they went on to win that Section! Undeterred I am going to do the same again this year so come back soon and then make sure you get your entry into our Fantasy League competition before the start of season deadline.
  
Section TOP FINAL OUTCOME
1  Lockwood Cons Champions
2  Almondbury BC A Runners-Up
3  Linthwaite Hall Champions
4  Bradley & Colne Runners-Up
5  Outlane 4th of 12
A  Longwood Champions
B  Farnley Tyas Runners-Up
  BOTTOM FINAL OUTCOME
1 Shepley 10th of 14
2 Thorpe Green 5th of 14
3 Almondbury BC B 11th of 12 Relegated
4 Lowerhouses 12th of 12 Relegated
5 Marsh United B Champions
A Oakfield T&BC 6th of 12
B Greenhead Park 12th of 12


2 January 2017

WEBSITE RECORD NUMBER OF VISITORS
We now have the records for number of visitors to this website right through 2016. The graph below shows the average number of visitors per day for each calendar month of the year. Our best ever day was Tuesday 5 July with 427 visitors in 24 hours. The snow interrupted fixtures of Tuesday 26th April resulted in 402 people visiting the site to check up on developments and there was a further 6 days during the year when the 400 barrier was passed.
 
These reports provide a wealth of information including the most popular pages on the site and the number of visitors from each country. Would you believe that in 2016 we had visitors from 36 different countries, one of which, Tokelau, I have never even heard of. Our top ten visiting countries in 2017 were UK (92.35%), Spain, Germany, Russia, Moldova, Ukraine, Australia, France, Mexico, Switzerland. All these figures represent our best ever set of statistics showing the continuing interest in Veterans League Bowling in Huddersfield. Thank you for your support.

 

 
   
 
 
2016 Average Visits per Day Total Visits Best Day Date
Jan 160 4939 196 27th
Feb 182 5306 217 26th
Mar 222 6908 293 28th
Apr 301 9039 402 26th
May 312 9692 378 18th
Jun 348 10462 421 16th
Jul 325 10087 427 5th
Aug 273 8469 354 3rd
Sep 288 8659 394 28th
Oct 205 6371 274 18th
Nov 161 4843 197 16th
Dec 153 4744 195 15th