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  • The Rail Holiday Maker

Tight Ends, Wide Receivers & the Battle for Safety

This season’s Mirfield League has taken a bit of a turn, with Lower Hopton ‘A’ bursting into a run of form that has put clear daylight between them and the chasing pack. As an ex-Littlemoor man, I always look out for their results, but the lads from the Moor will wish to forget last night’s drubbing behind the pigeon hut. Hopton fired in no less than 5 single-figure wins. ‘Sir’ Bob Hichen’s 21-9 was bettered by James Martin’s 21-8, only to be outdone by Sheffielder Ryan Clark’s 21-7, a score matched by Hopton’s resident sangria sipping Spaniard, Stuart ‘Juan’ King. Cheshire import Lee Johnstone beat them all to the kitty with 21-6. For Littlemoor there was nothing to cheer. Even Martin Fulton’s spinning touchers – actually landing on top of the block…on top of it – fell short at 16-21, the Moor’s best card. Hopton ‘A’ 12 Littlemoor 0. The rest of the league takes a collective gulp.

Thongsbridge remain Hopton’s closest rivals, though the gap is now ten points despite a good away win last night at bottom club, Ossett Flying Horse. Amongst Fly’s four winners were stand-out cards from Kev Burns (21-9) and particularly James Evison (21-7). Some devastating away performances from the Compo, Clegg & Foggy crew put the game beyond doubt. Jonny Sneddon’s 21-7 ticket was bettered by Jack ‘Hoover’ Dyson’s 21-6. Dyson loves the Fly green and would expect to suck in another sweep but Chris ‘Ned’ Kelly’s 21-5 left Hoover for dust. Ossett Flying Horse 4 Thongsbridge 8.

It's all about the 21 - Denby's offensive Liam Sykes

Over at Pudsey, Denby Grange's skipper made wholesale changes following last week’s home defeat to Hopton, taking his boys on a teambuilding exercise before the game. Pudsey ‘Top Club’ won 7 out of the first 8 games though. Tom Hanson and Chris Mordue’s 21-9s were bettered by the home performance of the night, a stunning 21-7 from Phil Wilsdon. Denby salvaged a 9-3 defeat at the finish, following great performances from their back two. At places like the Denby Collieries at one time you would just shout down the pit shaft and up would pop your next bowler. It would have been the same over at Swillington pit and Swilly lad Adam ‘King Kong’ Conlon obliged with a 21-11 for Denby. When he’s not bowling or arresting people, Liam ‘Syko’ Sykes plays American Football. There weren’t as many punts or wide receivers as usual last night, with Syko playing tight end after tight end, getting home to safety with 21-10. 3 down and 9…or something. Pudsey 9 Denby Grange 3.

Jeez, Dearne Sports could do with a cut, Chappers!

Talking of tight ends, it’s all getting a bit tight down the bottom in the relegation battle. Whilst Denby salvaged some away points Lower Hopton ‘B’ endured a tough night down in Roth…erm…Barnsley…erm…Donny...erm...Royston Vasey…wherever. Dearne don, Chappers, will have been roaring his boys home from his garden as they recorded an emphatic 11-1 home win. Yorkshire county man Gary Wike was the only Hopton ‘B’ success on the night with a creditable 21-14 away card. For Dearne Sports Adrian Taylor’s 21-3 was a massive stand-out performance. Played 3 Won 3 – not a bad start to Mirfield League bowls! Are you local? Dearne Sports 11 Lower Hopton ‘B’ 1.

Chicken chompers Crossgates continued their good run of form at home to Crosland Moor. Were Hopton ‘A’ not enjoying a similar run, Crossgates might be running them close. The visitors from Huddersfield left east Leeds pleased with their three winners, all fairly close games, Liam Fallas and Nathan Haigh sharing the Crosland Moor sweep with 21-18. For Crossgates two cards stand out, Kev Siddle’s 21-7 matched by former Isle of Man champ Gaz Lally. It’s great to see Gaz back and playing to his potential. Crossgates 9 Crosland Moor 3.

Standings after 14 games

Lower Hopton WMC ‘A’ 115

Thongsbridge C&BC 105

Crossgates BC 99

Pudsey BC 95 (played 13)

Dearne Sports 85

Littlemoor 76

Crosland Moor 71 (played 13)

Denby Grange 67

Lower Hopton WMC ‘B’ 65

Ossett Flying Horse 50

In Division 3 Horbury WMC continue to battle down the wrong end of the table. Rothwell are tough opponents and another home defeat will be a blow to the men from Cluntergate. Of Rothwell’s seven winners Neil Wood top-scored for ‘The Rabbit Trap’ with 21-4. There was a good Horbury response from Andy Hoult (21-7) and Gareth Gidman (21-4), leaving the final score Horbury WMC 3 Rothwell 9.

Whilst Ossett C&AC talisman Rob Dunford enjoyed a holiday in East Anglia, could his charges from Dimple Wells manage an away win at tricky Elland C&BC? Before you could answer, “Norfolk-ing chance!” four Ossett Cricket lads ran in 21s, the best coming from Laurie Woodlock (21-10). “Shut yar mouth!” I can hear the Elland lads scream, as they ran in six winners of their own, Russell Broadbent’s 21-3 being the top home card. Elland C&BC 8 Ossett C&AC 4.

Thornhill's Mitchells mean business

In Division 4 league leaders Thornhill ran riot again, this time away at Broad Oak. Martin Moran and Carl Taylor (both 21-15) were the only home winners for Broad Oak. Otherwise, it was one-way-traffic from the Thornhill lads, with Ryan Mitchell snapping up the sweep on 21-9. Broad Oak 2 Thornhill 10. Promotion looks well and truly on for Thornhill.

Denby Grange ‘B’ welcomed Spen Victoria ‘B’ and a tight encounter ensued. Spen ran out six winners, but Denby put a couple of spanners in the Spenners’ works, clinching the aggregate. Still, the visitors will have left the happiest, Andy Smith clutching the Spen sweep with 21-14. Best card for Denby was an excellent 21-9 from John Metcalfe. Denby Grange ‘B’ 6 Spen Victoria ‘B’ 6.

Ossett Flying Horse ‘B’ travelled to promotion certainties, Farsley, and endured the toughest of nights. Though Fly had a couple of near misses only Tim Chadwick made it into the winners’ enclosure with 21-10. For Farsley Ken Gilroy’s 21-7 was the best of nine winners, three to single figures. Farsley 11 Ossett Flying Horse ‘B’ 1.

Into the last month we go. See you next week round the greens, folks!

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