Down Area Winter Football League round-up, April 30
As we enter the final weeks of the league campaigns, three out of the four leagues are still hard to call, with only the 2A title being claimed by Greenwell Star II, so it looks like we are in for a very exciting finish to this season's competitions.
In the Premier Division, Moat Park Rangers and Greenwell Star continue to trade punches as they both strive to get their hands on the title. Over the last few weeks, Greenwell have eroded Moat Park's lead and at the start of play, had worked their way to the top with a game in hand. This week, Greenwell had last year's champions Brentwood as their opponents, and normally the battles between these two giants are tight and feisty affairs, but the reigning champions have seen a sudden decline in their form in recent weeks, with three straight defeats leading into the match, with the last defeat by relegation-threatened Ravenhill YM III - and that poor form was quite evident, as Greenwell were coasting to victory only for the match to be cut short after 71 minutes... so this will be one for the league committee to decide on? Moat Park's opposition were Comber Star, whose relegation was confirmed during the week, so could they go down in a blaze of glory? Despite a spirited performance, the answer was no, as Moat Park coasted to a 6-1 score-line to reclaim top spot temporarily. Moat's last game will be on May 7 against strugglers North Down, but Greenwell's final fixture will be on 14 May against third-placed Vision Athletic, so will we see Greenwell's unbeaten campaign continued to finish as champions or will we see a sting in the tail at the end? Exciting stuff in the Premier Division.
In Division 1, we are seeing a great battle at the top between Agape and Clonduff. The two sides met during the week with Clonduff securing a 4-1 win to seize the upper hand, knowing that an unbeaten run would have given them the title in their first season in the DAWFL. This week, their opposition was Ballygowan, who themselves have had an excellent campaign with only four defeats, so a close contest was expected, and that's what was delivered, as they shared the points in a 1-1 draw to keep the title race wide open. With Clonduff losing points, it was up to Agape to deliver to maintain the pressure and get their title charge back on line, and they duly did that as they coasted to a 7-1 win over Bangor YM III. So who's going to win this close keenly-contested battle? It really is hard to call, as there have been twists and turns all season, so will we get more between now and the final game of season! Newtownards RBL will have a big say in things, as they play both top teams in their final games and with themselves having an excellent start to life in the DAWFL, I would expect the twists and turns to continue in this exciting title race. It's a shame either of them has to lose out, but there can only be one winner.
In Division 2B, Comber YM II remain at the top and need one more point to claim the title. In absence of a fixture this week for Comber, it was up to the chasing pack to try and close the gap and there was a meeting between third and fourth, as Abbey Villa IV entertained Bangor Rangers IV. A win for Bangor would have handed Comber the title, but a win for Villa would have kept their own title challenge alive. And it was the Millisle outfit who claimed the points to keep the title race going, as they won 5-2 to move up to third place with four games remaining. Will Abbey Villa close the gap, or will Comber secure the point they need in their next match, which also happens to be against Bangor Rangers IV? We will know that by Saturday.