The race is on. Two teams from three will, in all likelihood, take the divine leap from Division Four to Division Three. The others may as well down tools. There is no trap door from this division, no Conference equivalent, no Division Five. They are stuck – set to play out another season in the bottom rung, guests of Jackie Smith who is surprisingly anchored to the foot of the table as captain of Meadow Hill ‘B’.
What of the potential escapees though? Hilton ‘I’, Hilton ‘H’ and Farnworth Social Circle ‘D’ are clumped together like civilians in a war-time shelter. Each team has its star, its no.1 – Jason Hill (82%), Jawad Nazir (79%) and Dave Rogers (80%) respectively.
Farnworth SC 'D'
Meadow Ben 'C'
But Farnworth have more than this. Within their ranks sit father and son – David (aged 61) and Benjamin Wyatt (aged 20) looking to continue the great tradition in the Bolton League following on from the Birchalls, Parkers, Husseins, Halls, Lansdales, Barkers, Brookes, Calverts et cetera.
Not all played together in the same team. Some were just stationed at the same club. The Wyatts can say that they’ve shared numerous testing evenings, however – none more so than the Warburton Cup game against Hilton ‘H’, their divisional foes. “A real team effort…we were all counting the points scored and egging each other on. We won by half a point [348.5-348] – well done to the handicapper – and I recall George Brown losing a point for putting his hand on the table. The three of us were buzzing after that match,” David tells me.
Of course, not all evenings can be like that. Their three league defeats so far - all against fellow promotion hopefuls (Hilton ‘I’, Meadow Ben ‘C’ & Hilton ‘H’) – prompted the chronic player response when driving home afterwards: “When we’ve lost we might not say more than a couple of sentences to each other.”
Certainly less satisfying but also the reason why the Wyatts are sensibly focusing their attention outside the top three. “We are in with a shout, [but] it’s not just how well we play against the Hilton teams above us. It’s whether we can pick up more points against the other teams.”
The legend Wyatt Earp was a sheriff and a gambler. Similar skills might be needed if David and Benjamin are to help pull Farnworth Social Circle into the higher echelons come April 2016.
Their last match of the season? Home to their dreaded rivals, Hilton ‘H’ (6.4.2016). Oooohhh.