YCA League 2013/14 – Preview
Is September anybody’s favourite month? For younger people it means those dreaded words, `back to school` while for the older generation there’s that sense of summer drawing to a close (if indeed we had a summer). However there are some good things about September; and one of those is that we can begin the build up to the 2013-14 Yorkshire League.
Obviously recent years have seen the Woodhouse Cup dominated by York RI A and Sheffield A and these two clubs must be the odds on favourites. Calderdale A got the best of the rest last year while York RI B proved that they are a formidable proposition in their own right. If we’re looking for a dark horse challenger it must be Bradford A who disappointed last season but are now freed from the restriction of having a B Team in the same division.
The critical fixture from the first round will be Calderdale A hosting Bradford A while anything less than a convincing victory for the big guns may set alarm bells ringing. In the long term Calderdale A face Sheffield A on 7th December and York RI A on 1st February. Bradford A don’t face either of the top two until March which, if they find their form, could mean an explosive finish to the league.
At the other end of the table Harrogate A and Huddersfield return to the top flight but will face a challenge to stay up. The critical fixture between the two doesn’t happen until 29th March but they will need to do well against Hull DCA A (who Huddersfield face on 12th October, Harrogate not until the very end of the season) and Rose Forgrove A (who face both promoted teams before Christmas) to avoid the drop.
The IM Brown is always impossible to call. Doncaster and Bradford B, relegated last season must be the favourites but York RI C came desperately close to promotion and this year will be determined to make no mistake. The relegated teams meet on 30th November and Doncaster vs York RI C will be a fine season finale – York play Bradford B on 1st February. Other contenders will be Rose Forgrove B (fourth last year) and former Woodhouse sides Wakefield A and Sheffield B (the latter of whom face York RI C in the opening fixtures. The big question mark hangs over the new Leeds CCCC team who have eyes on a Woodhouse place; their opening match against Sheffield E will demonstrate if they are contenders.
York RI D escaped relegation by one place last season and will have to be ready against newly promoted Calderdale B (15th March) and Hull DCA B (30th November). The two promoted teams meet early on (12th October) which will fire the starting gun for the relegation battle.
The Silver Rook is now on a double round all play all meaning a lot more chess for the teams involved. It looks like a two horse race between relegated Dewsbury and Pontefract who narrowly missed out on promotion last season. Pontefract host their rivals on 19th October with the replay not then due until the end of the season. West Leeds wrecked Pontefract’s season last time around and must be considered the number three team in the division but Wakefield B or Bradford C could spring a few surprises.