Ovenden WR on comeback trail

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Ovenden West Riding are bidding to buck the trend and reform their senior team after folding last August.

The number of amateur football teams is declining sharply and few come back but Ovenden have applied to rejoin the West Riding County Amateur League for next season.

They have reached an agreement to play games at West Vale on the pitch used by former rivals Halifax Irish Club, who folded in late November.

West Riding, Calderdale’s most successful amateur soccer club over the last few decades, went to the wall after being unable to raise a side for two pre-season friendlies.

The club’s name was kept alive by junior sides playing at Four Fields, a short distance from the first team’s long-time home at Natty Lane, Illingworth.

Steve Smith, who has been at the club for almost half a century, confirmed today that Ovenden hoped to relaunch the team and planned to include some of the club’s under 17 players.

He said he had met first team coaches Danny Megson and Tony Kniveton before Christmas when the idea to reform was suggested and after giving the matter further consideration they had decided to go ahead.

They had considered an application to the West Yorkshire League but had eventually settled on a “better the devil you know” approach and settled on the County Amateur League.

Smith said they would be having a recruitment drive at the end of the current season in the hope of getting some of their former players back.

With no guarantee that Ovenden would get back on the council pitch at Natty Lane, Ovenden met West Vale pitch owner John Russell last weekend and Smith said they had reached agreement to play there.