SIDDAL Place have created their own special piece of history in the Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL by withdrawing without playing a game.
Place have a successful Halifax Sunday League side and had an application to join the Saturday league accepted at the AGM in mid-June.
However, AFL fixture secretary David Rattigan revealed that Place had now dropped out, saying they couldn’t get enough players.
Brighouse Sports Reserves have also withdrawn since the AGM and the league will now have 39 teams, one less than finished last season, Ryburn United having moved a team to the West Riding County Amateur League.
The fragility of local league football means that officials have again had some difficult choices to make about who plays in what divisions in the season starting at the end of this month.
Northowram have unexpectedly been dropped down a division from the Premier; Junction Inn have become a third team promoted from Division Two; and last season’s Division Three champions Mixenden United have gone up two divisions instead of one.
The league will have three divisions of 11 teams in 2018-19, and a bottom section of six teams, who will play each other four times. That gives all the teams 20 matches.
Northowram may feel aggrieved. They beat Midgley United late last season to seemingly clinch safety but will now be playing below the remaining Ryburn side, who may be expected to field players from last season’s reserve team from Division One in the Premier.
Junction finished nine points adrift of Plummet Line and St Columba’s in Division Two last season but 13 points clear of fourth-placed Greetland Reserves.
Mixenden United dropped only four points on their return to the AFL last season and have previously played at a higher level.
There is a league meeting on Monday and fixture secretary David Rattigan has his fingers crossed there are no further defections, particularly in the bottom division.
Premier Division: Calder 76, Copley United, Denholme United, Greetland, Hebden Royd Red Star, Midgley United, Ryburn United, Shelf AFC, Shelf United, Sowerby Bridge, Sowerby United.
Division One: Illingworth St Mary’s, Brighouse Sports, Elland Allstars, FC Plummet Line, Holmfield, Ivy House, Mixenden United, Northowram, Salem, St Columbas, Sun Inn Rastrick.
Division Two: Crossleys, Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves, Calder 76 Reserves, Elland United, Ovenden, Greetland Reserves, Midgley United Reserves, Northowram Reserves, Shelf United Reserves, Sowerby Bridge Reserves, Sowerby United Reserves, Stainland United.
Division Three: Crossleys Reserves, Flying Dutchman, Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves, Shelf Reserves, Warley Rangers.