TWO teams have folded and withdrawn from the Leek & District Sunday League.
Athletico Rag, from Buxton, have quit the Premier Division after struggling to put out a full team in the last few weeks.
The blame has been put on poor results of late, and the strain of travelling to Leek and beyond for away fixtures.
Wharf Inne have resigned from Division One after failing to sustain a stable administration. Apathy spread to the team resulting in weakened bare elevens, which has had an inevitable effect on results.
The records of both teams have been removed from the league tables, which has had some effect on the rest of the teams in each division.
With their exploits in external cups now behind them, Elmos Celtic can concentrate on domestic issues and on Sunday morning visited league leaders Knypersley, a team who have suffered as a result of Athletico Rag’s demise.
Knypersley suffered further in the end when Elmos maintained their record as the only unbeaten team in the league, scoring four times in the last 25 minutes to win a classic match 5-3.
Elmos began brightly with Mitch Shenton giving them the lead after 15 minutes, but Knypersley struck back for James Spencer to level seven minutes later, and Lee Horton put them in front on the half hour.
Spencer stretched the lead on the hour, and Elmos looked buried, but they showed remarkable resilience to come back strongly.
Ollie Mellor grabbed a lifeline on 66 minutes, and then equalised six minutes later. Will Bown put them in front on 82 minutes, and as Knypersley sought to rescue the match, he ended the contest with his second in the last minute.
Waterhouses recorded their first point of the season when they drew 1-1 at home to Hare & Gate Strollers.
They took the lead on 25 minutes with a goal from Jake Binns, but Hare & Gate got a share of the points when David Bailey scored with a penalty fifteen minutes from time.
The race for the title looks to be wide open with five teams in with a shout, but Elmos look ominous, having won all their five matches.
They are obviously the team to beat.
Division One leaders Unicorn did not lose out on Wharf Inne’s departure, not having played them. But they found themselves on the wrong end of an outstanding second-half performance from Rams Head at Back Lane, Congleton, losing 6-0, and with it their league lead.
Lee Tawn put Rams Head ahead on 10 minutes, and they held on to the lead comfortably enough until half time.
Jake Scott grabbed a second in the first minute of the second half, and they never looked back.
Damien Sandywell scored on 58 minutes but then Unicorn shot themselves in the foot when their keeper was dismissed for deliberate foul play.
Jordan Belfield added a third a few minutes later and new boy Dan Buelher scored twice, on 72 and 82 minutes, to turn defeat into a rout.
Nearby, Vale Hoppers were taking over top spot, thrashing Stanleys 7-1 with a stunning second half.
Joe Gosling gave them an early lead on five minutes but Stanleys levelled with a Will Mason goal on 25 minutes.
Ryan Speak restored Hoppers lead just before the interval but then two early second half goals put Hoppers in charge; an own goal, and Scott Sapsford scoring.
Rob McGubbin made it five with 15 minutes left and late goals from Chris Jackson and Gary Barnes sealed Stanleys’ fate.
Wellington United stay third but AFC Dyers Arms move up to fourth, with yet another side enjoying a last half-hour feast to beat Royal Oak Rushton Spencer 6-1 at Birchall.
Dan Shenton gave Dyers the lead on 12 minute, but Josh Atkins cancelled this inside a minute.
Andy Pegg put Dyers back in front on 63 minutes and James Owen added a third three minutes later. Owen added a fourth, and got his hat trick with a minute to go, with Pegg squeezing in another before the end.
Valiant Troggs go fifth after beating early season leaders Wellington 6-0 at Birchall, with new signing Mike Keates hitting four on his debut.
He opened the scoring on 13 minutes, and added a third before half-time after Jamie Floyd had doubled the lead on 34 minutes.
Keates scored twice in the first ten minutes of the second half and Mitch Cartlidge scored the sixth just after the hour.
Coming back down to earth, Leek Snooker Centre beat strugglers Biddulph Town Diamonds 2-1 at Birchall to lift themselves well clear of the bottom.
Richard Knott gave them the lead with a penalty after 33 minutes, but Diamonds equalised with another penalty on 55 minutes.
Andy Mayer got the winner for Snooker Centre, with 12 minutes remaining.
Division One is looking very competitive with no less than eight teams separated by only seven points.
Dyers Arms and Wellington both have games in hand of the others, but these have to be won to make a difference.
Qualification for the Adrian Leigh Memorial Trophy for Premier Division teams, and the Calvin Simmill Memorial Cup for Division One will be decided at the end of the month.
The top four after completion of matches on the last day of March qualify, regardless of number of games played.