Two more leave Halifax AFL

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THE Haslem-Sheppard Halifax AFL has been hit by two more withdrawals.

Division One side Ivy House and Division Two outfit FC Ovenden have pulled out due a shortage of players.

This means that both those divisions will only have 10 teams. The Premier will have 11 sides and Division Three will have six teams, who will play each other four times.

Ivy House were instant hits in their debut season in 2016-17, winning the Division Two title and Invitation Cup with a 3-1 win over Ryburn United Reserves at the Shay.

The team which played out of Holmfield Rec finished eighth in Division One last season.

FC Ovenden have had an even briefer existence, lasting just one season.

They finished third in the newly-introduced Division Three last season with 10 wins from 18 games but had to give up home advantage when they lost their changing facilities at Four Fields.

The league now has 37 teams, three fewer than finished last season but with one more than ideal for a three-division set-up.

There are opening Division Two matches on Wednesday, August 29 with Premier Division matches two days later and another handful of games on the Saturday.

Teams in the two middle divisions will have only 18 league games which might be a help if there is a repeat of last winter’s wet weather but a handicap in trying to raise money to meet costs for pitches, referees and equipment.

Meanwhile, Skircoat Green Physiotherapy have been announced as the new sponsors of the Challenge Cup, in which holders Greetland will travel to Midgley United in the first round.

The AFL has two new officers. Richard Stock has taken over the role of referee appointments secretary and Matthew Gavan is the new players’ registration officer.

Cup draws - Challenge Cup, first round: Holmfield v Hebden Royd Red Star, Northowram v Calder 76, Illingworth St Marys v Brighouse Sports, Sowerby United v Shelf United, Midgley United v Greetland, Shelf FC v Salem, Copley United v Ryburn United, Sowerby Bridge v Denholme United.

Invitation Cup, first round: Illingworth St Marys Res v Northowram Res*, Calder 76 Res v Shelf United Res, FC Plummet Line v Greetland Res, Flying Dutchman v Sun Inn Rastrick, Shelf FC Res v St Columbas*,

Byes; AFC Crossleys Res, Warley Rangers, Elland United, Hebden Royd Red Star Res, Mixenden United, Sowerby Bridge Res, Midgley United Res, AFC Crossleys, Sowerby United Res, Stainland United.

Games to be played September 29 (1:45pm) *Indicates date to be confirmed.