The Lancashire and Cheshire AFL is enjoying its 110th season which will conclude with a special celebration dinner in May.
Before then there is plenty to play for with keen competition in each of the eight Divisions and four domestic cup competitions.
Also some of the league’s teams have reached the latter stages of County Cup competition with Abacus Media looking forward to playing in the final of the Manchester Challenge Cup.
Irlam Tigers and Parrs Wood Celtic have reached the last eight of the Manchester Amateur Cup and AFC Stockport. Mellor and High Lane are through to the semi-finals of the Stockport Senior Cup.
The excellent weather enjoyed in the first half of the season has brought a big smile to the face of fixture secretary Mal Kershaw with his programme well on schedule in league and cup competitions.
To avoid postponements in the second half of the season the league has secured bookings at the 3G pitches at Wright Robinson and Cardinal Langley for clubs took take advantage of if their pitches become unfit for use.
The league is also pleased that they have been able to cover all but a handful of games with referees.
Plans are also afoot to book prestigious venues for the four domestic cup competition finals and pick a representative league team to take on the LAL in the annual match for the John Howard Trophy.
In the Premier Division Rochdalians have dominated the season so far and enjoyed a good run in the Lancashire Amateur Cup.
Their main title rivals at the start of the New Year are Whalley Range who have recovered well from a slow start to the season and are now within a point of the leaders who have three games in hand.
The two face each other in a real six-pointer this Saturday at Range which is undoubtedly the ‘Match of the Day’
Salford Victoria have also been in hot form with several good wins and have moved into third spot ahead of Waterloo who made a blistering start to their first season in the top flight.
But all teams recognise that there are no easy games at this level and complacency will not be rewarded.
It is neck and neck at the top of Division One with Dom Doyle, promoted through two divisions after a great first season in the league, one of the few unbeaten teams in the league in the lead.
But a revived Parrs Wood Celtic have been scoring goals for fun in recent weeks to have a great goal difference of 47 and are just a point behind Dom Doyle on an even number of games.
Irlam Tigers and Chorltonians stay in the mix should the top two slip up and Moston Brook, enjoying one of their best seasons for some years also in the chase.
It’s also tight in Division Two with the new Whalley Range Reserves a point clear of Manchester Polonia and Newton who have games in hand on the top two.
Urmston Town, in their first season in the league have made a mixed start but when they hit form they have looked very promising.
Dukinfield Athletic have a healthy four-point lead at the top of Division Three from Signol Athletic and five from Stoconians Reserves but Chadderton Park and Radclyffe also present a big threat to the top three with plenty of games in hand and just one defeat apiece so far as their league fixtures have been reduced by cup exploits.
Elton Lib Hargreaves have almost a perfect record as they top Division A by ten points with just one drawn game and no defeats to date.
Chadderton Cott are also unbeaten this season and have two games in hand to close the gap on the leaders to four points.
New boys Unicorn Athletic and Flixton have had mixed fortunes as they adjust to life at this level but have been noted for the attractive football played by their young teams.
The battle for the Division B title looks set to go to the final matches with just four points separating the top four teams.
The current leaders are Old Stretfordians Reserves who have a point and a game in hand over AFC Stockport and Chadderton Cott Reserves and Parrs Wood Celtic Reserves are also firmly in the mix with games in hand as they look to close a three-point gap.
Deans FC will take some catching as they are six points clear at the top of Division C with a game or two in hand on their nearest rivals and they are the other club in the league with an unbeaten record.
Their nearest rivals are Old Stretfordians 3rds, Govan Athletic, Chadderton Park Reserves and Hollingworth Reserves.
The Rhodes Cup for teams in the Premier Division and Division One plus the first teams of clubs in lower divisions, sees Rochdalians looking for a league and cup double as they have reached the last eight where they play the winners of South Manchester and AFC Oldham.
Village Manchester have not enjoyed the best of seasons in Division Three but they pulled off one of the giant-killing wins of the competition taking out Waterloo and now face another top Premier team in Salford Victoria as they look to make the last four.
More giant-killing came from Chadderton Cott who beat cup holders High Lane and near neighbours Radclyffe who overcame Trafford United.
They both face Premier Division opponents as they look to extend their glorious cup runs.
The other round two ties to be decided sees Chorltonians and Whalley Range in a local derby and Dukinfield Athletic host Old Stretfordians.
In the Wray Cup for teams in Divisions Two and three Chadderton Park are through to the semi-finals with a win over Whalley Range Reserves.
Through to the quarter finals are Signol Athletic, Radclyffe and Rochdalians Reserves and other teams in round one action looking to join them are Village Manchester, Stoconians Reserves, Chorltonians Reserves, Urmston Town, Mellor Reserves and Dukinfield Athletic.
There are still plenty of games to play for teams in Divisions A and B in the Whitehead Cup.
Stoconians 3rds, Chorltonians Villa, Dukinfield Athletic Reserves are the only teams to reach the last eight and looking to join them are Parrs Wood Celtic Reserves, Elton Lib Hargreaves, Rochdale Galaxy, Chadderton Cott, AFC Stockport, AFC Oldham Reserves, Hooley Bridge Celtic Reserves, Unicorn Athletic and Didsbury Reserves.
The Hellawell Shield is for teams in Division C and in the mix for the final are Chadderton Park Reserves, Bury Ams 3rds, Irlam Tigers Reserves and Hollingworth Reserves.
Pics – action from 1 Rochdalians v High Lane (Rochdalians in blue), 2 Chorltonians v Dom Doyle (Dom Doyle in red and white), 3 Whalley Range Reserves v Spurley Hey 9Range in red and black
Have a Great New Year!!!
Assistant League Secretary (amongst other roles)