The Halifax AFL will buck the trend of shrinking-sized leagues and have an extra division to accommodate seven new teams next season.
The applications of Brighouse Sports Reserves, Shelf FC Reserves, Mixenden United, AFC Ovenden, The Dutchman, Stainland United and Warley Rangers were approved at last night’s AGM at Arden Road Social Club, Halifax.
The reappearance of the Warley Rangers name is a surprise. A Premier Division side managed by Matthew Chapman and playing under that name was the one club to fold at the end of the most recent season.
League fixture secretary David Rattigan said he had received a late application from a largely junior side wanting to play as Warley Rangers in 2017-18. It was a different set-up to the one run by Chapman.
The league has a nett gain of six teams from last season, making 41 sides in all.
They will be accommodated in three divisions of 11 and a new division of eight teams. The teams in the Premier, Division One and Division Two will play 20 league games while the sides in the new third dvision will meet each other three times to give a 21-game programme.
The only change to the planned promotions and relegations is that Salem Reserves will drop into the new lower division to join the new sides.
Mixenden and Stainland are reappearing after successful previous spells in the league and competition promises to be strong in the bottom section.
The Halifax Saturday and Sunday leagues both had three divisions last season, half the number they had in the not too distant past.
Rattigan said the formation of new clubs was a step in the right direction and his fingers were crossed that no more existing teams would drop out before the start of next season.
“We have added a division because that was the only way we could get the teams in,” he said.
“It does give us space for the following season if there are more new teams.”
Last night’s meeting was well attended and Rattigan has had a couple of enquiries from potential sponsors for next season.
The league is still looking for a referee’s appointments secretary, a role Rattigan added to his other duties in the 2016-17 campaign.