Halifax Bowling League: Ladies’ first chance

Chloe Hirst with former Yorkshire president Keith Hatzer
Chloe Hirst with former Yorkshire president Keith Hatzer

The Halifax League season gets under way on Wednesday with much interest centred on how many women will take part.

Females are being allowed to compete alongside the men for the first time following a landmark decision at the AGM in December.

A two-thirds majority was needed for the change to get through and it did so by a one vote margin.

Halifax League secretary Jason Leeming said quite a lot of lady bowlers had been registered, particularly by clubs who had been struggling to fill teams.

One of the reasons for switching to a mixed league had been to try to sustain the number of teams.

“We are a couple of teams down on last year and were it not for the ladies it could have been four or five,” he said.

Leeming expects some leading female players to take part in Division One, with Yorkshire representative player Chloe Hirst considered a likely candidate at Hove Edge.

“There are a couple of very, very good lady players who will be in the first team but they will probably be mainly in the B teams,” said Leeming.

Lady players are also eligible for the veterans league which gets under way alongside most of the other local leagues in mid-April.

The ladies have their own separate league in Halifax but Elland and Hebden Royd are among the longer-standing mixed leagues.

Bradford side Ladyhill are the major absentees from last season’s Halifax League line-up but Bradley & Colne, who are reported to have attracted players from Hove Edge, have joined and been placed in Division Two.

Perennial champions Elland WMC will be hot favourites to win the title again. They face a tough first match at Mytholmroyd.

Brighouse Sports, the only team to check their long run of success in recent years, will be among those hoping to unseat Elland.