Midgley, Star and Calder keen to seize home opportunities

Midgley's Gary Hodgson in his side's last outing - the defeat by Warley

Midgley's Gary Hodgson in his side's last outing - the defeat by Warley

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The Calder Valley’s three top-flight Halifax AFL clubs are all at home this weekend and hoping for some respite from the weather.

Midgley United, Hebden Royd Red Star and Calder ‘76 have only played six games between them since December 13.

Calder’s 3-2 home win over Ryburn on January 3 provided the only Valley success in those games so the trio will be anxious to make home advantage pay this weekend.

Midgley, who lost 5-4 to Warley almost three weeks ago, host Northowram in a firsts versus second contest.

Last year’s Division One champions Northowram lost to Copley United and Stump Cross early in the season but have not looked back since.

Their winning run has included successes over Red Star (4-1) and Calder (4-3), both on the small, sloping Northowram Rec pitch.

Midgley boss Craig Gee will no doubt have got the lowdown on the Rams from his Valley contacts.

It is a game Midgley must win if they are to maintain their title challenge and stay ahead of teams who have dropped fewer points.

Hebden Royd Red Star player/manager Chris Garbutt can feel satisfied with his side’s fifth place.

His side host Shelf United, who haven’t played since losing by the odd goal in 13 to Midgley on December 6.

Calder ‘76 are a little too close to the drop zone for comfort but a win against bottom side Elland United would put them well on their way to safety.

Manager Rob Kenworthy has been pleased with the improved attitude of his players recently.

However, only three points will suffice against a side which hasn’t won in the Premier Division since the opening day of the season.

Midgley United Reserves are having a fantastic season following promotion.

They have already booked a date with their Ryburn counterparts in the Invitation Cup final and are fourth in Division One, although they have played as many games as anyone in the section.

They visit Sowerby Bridge with confidence boosted by six wins in their last seven games.

Calder ‘76 Reserves, who have a creditable 20 points from 14 games, face a very difficult trip to Illingworth to play second-placed Mixenden.

Mid-table Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves are also on the road in Division Two. They travel to play promotion hopefuls Shelf FC.

Premier Division: Calder 76 v Elland United (referee D.Cartwright), Greetland AFC v Copley United (P.Bowe), Hebden Royd Red Star v Shelf United (D.Sutcliffe), Midgley United v Northowram (P.Higgins), Ryburn United v Sowerby United (A.Gee), Warley Rangers Halifax v Stump Cross (R.Gatenby).

Division One: Denholme United v Salem (S.Adams), Elland Allstars v Hx Irish Centre (J.Hallos), Holmfield AFC v Greetland AFC Res (S.Hoyle), Mixenden United v Calder ‘76 Res (N.Hinson), Sowerby Bridge v Midgley United Res (I.Childs), Stainland United v Ryburn United Res (C.King), Volunteer Arms v AFC Crossleys (A.Kay).

Division Two: AFC Crossleys Res v Sowerby Bridge Res (TBA), Northowram Res v Illingworth St Marys (E.Owens), Salem Res v Brighouse Sports AFC (M.Sharman), Shelf FC v Hebden Royd Red Star Res (P.Crabtree), Shelf United Res v Denholme United Res (TBA), Sowerby United Res v St Columbas (S.Bragg).