Saints enter reserve team in Halifax AFL

Illingworth St Mary's won the Halifax Division 2 League title:' 'Back Row: Tony Clarke, Scott Hamilton, Warren Gray, Nick Bell, Luke Prosser, Kyle Butler'Middle Row: Dan Rosier, Dec Rothery, Mike Gregory, Adam Curry, Gareth Gaukroger, Lee Cartwright'Front Row: Joe Griffen, Brandon Field, Pete Southwell (Management), Rab Langley (Coach), Mick Rhodes (Management), Ash Holmes, Jake Griffen
Illingworth St Mary's won the Halifax Division 2 League title:' 'Back Row: Tony Clarke, Scott Hamilton, Warren Gray, Nick Bell, Luke Prosser, Kyle Butler'Middle Row: Dan Rosier, Dec Rothery, Mike Gregory, Adam Curry, Gareth Gaukroger, Lee Cartwright'Front Row: Joe Griffen, Brandon Field, Pete Southwell (Management), Rab Langley (Coach), Mick Rhodes (Management), Ash Holmes, Jake Griffen

Illingworth St Mary’s AFC, an instant hit in their 2014-15 debut season, have entered a reserve team in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL.

The Saints, who play on the 3G pitch at Trinity Academy, Holmfield and have several ex-Halifax Irish Club players in their ranks, won Division Two by a 10-point margin last season.

They suffered only one league defeat, to long-time title rivals Brighouse Sports.

They also showed they could mix it with the area’s best amateur teams, reaching the semi-finals of the Halifax FA Saturday Cup before losing 3-1 to eventual winners Ovenden West Riding.

Illingworth’s reserve team will be the only addition to the league but the number of teams remains at 38 because middle-section side Volunteer Arms have withdrawn.

League fixture secretary David Rattigan said Volunteers, based at the Copley pub and playing home games on Savile Park, had run short of players.

Volunteer have been in Division One for several seasons and Rattigan said: “They often put themselves in with a chance of promotion to the Premier but then dropped off.

“On their day they were a tough side to beat.”

The normal promotion for last season’s top two and relegation for the bottom two will go ahead as normal.

That means a 12-team Premier Division and 13 teams in the other two divisions.

The next league meeting is on Monday, August 2 when Rattigan expects to have the opening fixtures available.

Meanwhile, the league has appointed a new referees’ appointments secretary. Gavin Butler replaces Wayne Cotton, who has stepped down.