Derby clashes in first AFL fixtures

Football - Hebden Royd Red Star v Calder 76 (white)
Justin Halstead for Red Star and Remi Allen for Calder
Football - Hebden Royd Red Star v Calder 76 (white) Justin Halstead for Red Star and Remi Allen for Calder

The Haslem Sheppard Halifax AFL season will start with a couple of high-profile derby games on Friday, September 1.

The opening fixtures were released today and include four Premier Division matches, including Calder ‘76 versus Hebden Royd Red Star and Northowram versus Division One champions Shelf FC.

Northowram were surprise runners-up last season but finished 20 points adrift of champions Illingworth St Mary’s, who sit out the first weekend’s games.

Sowerby Bridge, back in the top flight, face Greetland AFC while long-standing rivals Ryburn United and Midgley United meet at Ripponden Wood.

There are two games in Division One on the opening night and three more the following day, when eight games take place in the lower two divisions.

The arrival of seven additonal sides means there is an extra division this season and six of the new or returning teams are in action on September 2.

Some clubs have moved pitches. Brighouse Sports first team will share with Brighouse OB at Lightcliffe Academy and Salem have moved from Savile Park to Shroggs Park.

Sowerby Bridge cannot play at Hollins Lane until at least October 5 due to a lack of changing facilities at Sowerby Bridge Cricket Club and will have to play home fixtures away.

The league has recruited several new referees but is still seeking a sponsor. Anyone interested should contact David Rattigan on 07752 245763.

AFL fixtures - Friday, September 1 - Premier Division: Calder 76 v Hebden Royd Red Star, Northowram v Shelf FC, Ryburn United v Midgley United, Sowerby Bridge v Greetland AFC.

Division One: AFC Crossleys v Denholme United, Holmfield v Brighouse Sports.

Saturday September 2 - Division One: Elland Allstars v Calder 76 Res, Salem v Copley United, The Ivy House v Illingworth St Mary’s Res.

Division Two: FC Plummet Line v Northowram Res, Greetland AFC Res v AFC Crossleys Res, Hebden Royd Red Star Res v Midgley United Res, Junction Inn v St Columbas, Shelf United Res v Sowerby Bridge Res.

Division Three: Mixenden United v Brighouse Sports AFC Res, Stainland United v Flying Dutchman, Warley Rangers 2017 v FC Ovenden.