WOOLHOPE A are favourites to take the club's 16th consecutive Herefordshire Short Mat Bowling Association Division One title after leading at the half-way stage of the season.

After being neck and neck with their habitual rivals Ross A across the early part of the season the situation swung in their favour as their rivals lost in the last game before Christmas and then suffered a heavy 9-1 home defeat to Woolhope A in the first match of the new year.

As a result, Woolhope A lead the division by four points, having played one match fewer than their rivals.

Newly promoted Fownhope are finding life difficult once again in the top division and, together with Langarron, are falling behind at the bottom of the division.

Division Two is a much more open competition and at the halfway stage the top four teams are separated by only four points.

Ross B head the division but only on shot difference from St Martins Hawks with St Martins Falcons three points further back, a single point ahead of Ledbury Swifts.

The St Martins and Ledbury teams are all looking to reach the top division for the first time.

Meanwhile, the county teams are reaching the climax of their Inter County Championship qualifying groups and the A team, in particular, have had a very strong season.

The Premier team have had some very close results against both Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire, along with two wins against Avon, but are realistically chasing only one qualifying place for the main knockout competition as the country’s top side, West Midlands, are dominating the group with convincing wins against all the other counties.

The A team, however, are leading their qualifying group following convincing wins in all of their home matches.

They have secured qualification for the main knockout stage and, barring a particularly bad result in their final match away to Worcestershire, should win their group.