Ryburn and Northowram are champs

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Ryburn United have been crowned champions of the Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL after a nervy finale to their season against Midgley United on Friday evening.

Craig Walker’s side beat the previous season’s champions Midgley United 1-0 at Wellesley Park in damp, gloomy conditions.

Ryburn went into the game knowing only a win would suffice following Stump Cross’s victory over Greetland, which had moved Tony Kniveton’s side into a two-point lead at the top, earlier in the week.

Midgley had pledged to give their all and did so but were unable to crack the meanest defence in the league.

They shaded the first half but Ryburn took the lead five minutes before the interval through leading scorer Christian Silkstone after the ball had hit the bar and post before rolling along the line.

The game opened out in the second half with Ryburn posing more of a threat but Midgley were always dangerous.

Ryburn had to endure several minutes of added time before the final whistle from John Hallos, who had a fine match.

The other main issue in the Premier centred on the foot of the table and Sowerby Bridge were relegated along with Holmfield when Hebden Royd Red Star won 4-2 at Elland United on Saturday.

Red Star would have had to have lost heavily to drop below Bridge on goal difference.

Northowram were finally confirmed Division One champions when rivals Shelf United, needing an unlikely 12-0 home win over Ryburn United Reserves to pip the Rams on goal difference, drew 1-1 on Saturday.

The game was switched to Shelf Park, scene of Shelf’s 2-1 win over the same opponents three days earlier.

James Goodwin’s header put Shelf in front 15 minutes from time but Chris Redhead quickly equalised.

Saturday scores - Halifax AFL Premier: Calder ‘76 4 Holmfield 1, Copley United 3 Greetland 4, Elland Utd 2 Hebden Royd Red Star 4, King Cross Warley 2 Sowerby United 2.

Division One: Denholme United 2 Elland Allstars 2, Ryburn United Reserves 1 Shelf United 1.

Division Two: Shelf United Res v King Cross Warley Res P (Shelf unable to raise team).

Three local finals involving Saturday sides will take place after all this week.

Plans to play them at the Shay were thrown into confusion when Halifax Town reached the play-offs.

However, the Challenge Cup final between Sowerby United and Stump Cross will still take place at the Shay on Thursday (7.0).

The other Halifax AFL showpiece game, the Invitation Cup final, is between Ryburn United Reserves v Shelf FC at Natty Lane, Illingworth on Friday (6.30).

The Halifax FA Saturday Cup final between Ovenden West Riding and Shelf FC is still on Wednesday but has been switched from the Shay to Brighouse Town’s ground (7.0).

Ovenden West Riding beat Halifax Irish Club 5-0 in Saturday’s big derby in the West Riding CA’s top flight.

Ovenden’s title rivals and hosts next Saturday, Bay Athletic, were 3-0 home winners against Campion.

Danny Megson’s Ovenden have dropped four fewer points than Bay and have only three league games left compared to the Huddersfield side’s six.