This coming weekend’s games throw up some very interesting clashes with four of them between clubs next to each other in the table.
In some cases first games after the long Christmas and New Year break can often be unpredictable, mainly depending on how much training clubs have done since December 16th. No pain, no gain, as the saying goes.
Also, we are now in mid-winter with heavy and often very wet grounds for players to contend with, which as we all know can be a great leveller.
The top game of the day has to be at Lightfoot Green where the ‘Hoppers take on Hull in a first v second game.
The Hopper’s have been in fine form in the first half of the season having won 13 of their 14 league games for a total of 65 points and look well on course for a swift return to N2N.
Hull are the only side to take points from them in a 10-10 draw on September 16th. Hull have 53 points but a look at the scoring difference shows a different picture with ‘Hoppers having (+235) and Hull (+266).
Hull are also on a six-match winning run and will battle to make it seven.
Home advantage may prove decisive but it is a brave man who would write off Hull’s chances.
Harrogate against Wirral is another difficult one to predict.
Fifth play sixth in this game and with both sides on 41 points it should be a battle royal. Will home advantage prove enough for ‘Gate or can Wirral take a good away win? Your guess is as good as mine.
Kendal against Rossendale is where eighth meet ninth with Kendal on 31 points and Rossendale on 30. Kendal will be delighted with their progress this season while a strangely inconsistent Rossendale, who were in the second-place play-offs last season will be very disappointed with their present league position. Again, home advantage may just swing it.
Another newly-promoted side are Kirkby Lonsdale who entertain Ilkley.
KL are in eleventh spot in the table with four wins but are on 26 points, which is 14 above the three relegation places. Ilkley are in a comfortable mid-table seventh which they are no doubt happy with but Kirkby Lonsdale, after a good start, have only won one of their last seven games.
Could be a tight game as Kirkby Lonsdale will be eager to get back to winning ways.
Third placed Lymm who are having a very good season are at home to a somewhat erratic Sandal side who are in tenth position.
If Lymm hit anything like the form they have shown so far it could be a bad day for the Yorkshiremen, but on their day Sandal can cause any side problems.
Struggling Morley in bottom place with only nine points take on fourth placed Billingham at Scatcherd Lane.
Only the most fanatical Morley fan would predict a home win and the visitors are a good bet to maintain their pressure on the top three sides. But miracles sometimes do happen.
A basement clash at Percy Road sees thirteenth take on twelfth when Pocklington entertain fellow strugglers Birkenhead Park.
Both newly-promoted clubs have failed to compete at the higher level with Pock on 10 points and Park on 12. Home advantage should prove the difference.
Compiled by Norman Angell