Calder ‘76 showed they are going to be tough nuts to crack this season with a convincing 4-0 derby win away to Hebden Royd Red Star in their Halifax AFL opener.
Last season’s strong finishers were troubled by the speed of Lewis Cockroft early on but Star’s threat quickly faded and Calder took the lead from Jonny Gibson’s flicked header from Sam Taylor’s long throw.
Calder doubled the lead after half an hour from a Max Crossley corner, Remi Allen heading the ball into the middle and Ricky Topham tapping the ball home.
Allen made it 3-0 after half time and when he set up Sam Taylor from a Zak Greenwood free kick mid-way through the second half, the contest was as good as over.
Last season’s Division One champions Holmfield were beaten 2-0 at home by Challenge Cup holders Midgley United.
The visitors had a few good chances in the first quarter and Holmfield, with Danny Kirman to the fore in midfield, also had their moments.
Midgley’s nerves were settled by Marvin Bonney’s header on the hour and he added a second with 15 minutes left, shooting into the top corner with the outside of his right boot.
Shelf United were Friday’s third winners in the Premier, beating Greetland 3-2.
The visitors took the lead up the Shelf Park slope with a penalty from Niall Carrington.
Harry Talbot, one of a handful of new recruits in the home ranks, broke through and applied a good finish 10 minutes before the break.
Shelf went in front just before half time when Danny Thornton headed down a free kick and Oliver Coates hit home on the half-volley.
Coates made it 3-1 with 20 minutes left but the young visiting side set up an exciting finish when Carrington got a late second.
Relegated pair Sowerby United and Elland United made winning starts in Division One.
Sowerby won 2-1 at AFC Crossleys but had to come from behind against fast-starting hosts.
‘Keeper Matt Bridges kept Crossleys at bay with two fine saves but was helpless when a superb Ben Bower shot from 20 yards flew into the net.
This brought Sowerby to life and good link up play from Nathan Howard and James Clegg set up Tom Hile,y whose strength and skill got him away from his marker to slot the equaliser.
Sowerby were in control in the second half but missed chances before a Hiley pass split the home defence and Ben Attle rounded the keeper to score the winner.
Mark Kelsey struck twice as Elland United were 4-1 winners of their derby game with Elland Allstars.
Illingworth St Mary’s look the team to beat in this section. Their star-studded line-up was 8-0 up at Denholme when the game was abandoned due to a serious injury with five minutes left.
John Booth, who played for Ovenden West Riding last season, scored four and the result looks likely to stand.
Brighouse Sports, who came up with Saints, made a highly satisfactory start with a 5-4 win away to Ryburn Reserves. Jamie O’Callaghan got two of their goals.
Midgley Reserves let a 2-0 lead slip away to Halifax Irish and had to settle for a 3-3 draw.
Jordan Dean scored from close range early on and Joe Elwin doubled their advantage with an excellent free-kick.
Irish had a good spell after half time and got it back to 2-2. Rhys Dean nudged the visitors back in front with a low drive but stand-in ‘keeper Simon Kavanagh was unable to prevent Irish equalising with three minutes left.
League newcomers Illingworth St Mary’s Reserves started with a 5-1 derby win away to Crossley’s Reserves in Division Two.
A team developed from the now defunct Boothtown Juniors club started strongly and dominated in spite of playing up the slope at Moor Lane.
Joe Griffen tapped home the opener before makeshift striker Jack Pullen added two more from well-struck shots.
Griffen added a fourth with a great free kick before Josh Langan added the goal of the game from outside the box to make it 5-0 at the break.
Crossleys were much improved in the second half but could only add one goal, a great strike by Andrew Branning giving ‘keeper Tony Clarke no chance.
Jake Grannan scored a hat-trick and Tom Barclay scored twice as Hebden Royd Red Star Reserves completed a miserable couple of days for Denholme with a 7-1 win over the Foster Park club’s reserves.
St Columba’s picked up a hard fought 4-2 win away at Northowram Reserves in a game well refereed by Danielle Whitworth.
The hosts raced into a 2-0 lead down the slope but Saints responded well and pulled one back through a Ryan O’Neill penalty after Scott Holmes was brought down,
Holmes then got on the scoresheet when his cross turned shot hit both posts before going in near the end of the first half.
There was still enough time left before the break for Jack Wilkinson to smash one across the ‘keeper and into the bottom corner.
Saints pushed for a killer goal for most of the second half but were kept out by a string of excellent saves before substitute Frank Odion capped off a strong debut from the bench with a cool finish.
Greetland Reserves had become the first winners of the AFL season the previous Wednesday with a 6-0 home win over Shelf United Reserves.
Debutants Charlie Cliffe and George Bainbridge, who have stepped up from Greetland Goldstars, combined to set up Andy Hurcombe for the opener.
Hurcombe quickly added a second from the penalty spot after Max Lister had been brought down.
Greetland missed a chances but were quick to add to their tally after the interval. Ellis Dixon, Chris Ward and Danny Hutchinson figured in an impressive passing move which led to George Wall making it 3-0.
George Bainbridge scored after Dixon had jinked through and added a penalty.
Tom Wall bagged the sixth within 20 seconds of coming on, picking up the ball in his own half, outpacing the defence and hammering home from 20 yards.