While the top two divisions began the waiting game for the last round the Silver Rook teams met in a round that decided the division for 2013-14. Pontefract were held to a draw by West Leeds but that was enough to ensure that they cannot be caught. Congratulations to Pontefract who began the season as favourites and took an early lead they never let go.
By contrast Sheffield F were never spoken of as contenders and when they found themselves in the promotion zone it appeared to be a happy accident at first. However this seemed to inspire them to new heights, they racked up win after win and a 6 1/2- 1 1/2 crushing of Bradford C in their final fixture gains them promotion – third placed Dewsbury won against Harrogate C but can’t make up the deficit. Indeed if not for a slow start Sheffield F could have been challenging for the trophy. Congratulations to them as well.
The Silver Rook has one more round and a postponed match, however this will have no bearing on the final result. A glance at the third division this season shows that most matches have been close – Sheffield’s win this weekend was only the fourth 6 1/2-1 1/2 match and Pontefract’s away win against Wakefield B the sole 7-1.
While we’re focusing on the third division; I did mention at the AGM that I might have to look at the league structure and this is a good time to begin the consultation.
At present there are seven teams who play each other twice (twelve fixtures), creating three extra fixtures as the BYE had to be accomodated. Although the rules do not specify any point where the league splits into a double round robin, nine teams is the ideal minimum for a single round league. Eight teams is the headache – a single round event is seven rounds (too few) and a double round fourteen (too many). One idea that did occur to me in the event of eight teams would be to have an initial all play all with the league then splitting into two – the top half playing the other three teams once more and the same for the bottom half who I’m sure I could find some incentive for. The obvious downside would be that the second phase would have to be drawn halfway through the season.
So two things arise;
a) it is YOUR league. What do YOU want to see? As I said earlier the rules do not specify any exact structure and I may need to put a proposal forward.
b) are we going to be able to welcome any new (or returning) teams to the division next year, either new B, C or D teams or new clubs altogether? And if there are any practical barriers to doing so please let me know as well.