THE Halifax League is having to cope with two more blows on the eve of the season with the withdrawals of Mytholmroyd WMC from the top section of the Wednesday league and Wellesley Park veterans from Division Five of the Thursday league.
The loss of WMC, who were Division Two champions in 1982 and have been one of the league’s strongest teams over the last 30 years, will be keenly felt.
They finished eighth in Division One last season and were due to host Asa Briggs in tomorrow’s opening match.
The likes of David Wright, James Senior, Darren Price and Richard Helliwell are players who have made their mark for the club in recent times.
Their loss reduces the section to 11 teams and means the others sides will have back to back blank dates during the course of the campaign.
Peter Copley, who is Mytholmroyd WMC’s secretary as well as being the league’s general secretary, said the decision to withdraw the team was made by himself, David Wright and John Shann at the weekend.
He said efforts to get enough players had gone on until then but it had become apparent, due to a couple of retirements and additional work commitments, that they would be unlikely to have 10 players when holidays or illness struck.
“It’s very sad,” said Copley. “It was not a pleasant thing to do but we had to be realistic.”
Copley said Mytholmroyd WMC had been one of the clubs which had pushed for a reduction in the number of players in a team from 10 to eight at two successive league AGMs.
However, once it became clear that a two thirds majority was unlikely to be gained, they had dropped their efforts.
While the evening league has been shedding teams, the veterans league which has matches on an afternoon has been growing in popularity and has added an extra division this summer.
Copley added: “It has been a trend in recent years that the older players prefer to play in an afternoon and then put their feet up and avoid the cold and dark of the evenings.”
Mytholmroyd WMC’s players are expected to continue bowling for the club in the Elland League on a Monday, Sowerby Bridge League on a Tuesday and the veterans league on a Thursday.
Wellesley Park’s withdrawal from the veterans follows on from their recent decision to fold their team in the Wednesday league, which also played in Division Five.
The club has had well documented problems with local residents disrupting play.
Also, it was announced last week that Northowram had taken their B team out of Division Six of the Wednesday league.