Vale of Lune’s fixtures for the 2014/15 season have been announced ahead of a campaign where there’ll be an extra element for clubs to contend with.
Proposals for a new 12-club league structure will come into force for the 2015/2016 season meaning it would appear that in order to retain their North One West status the Vale will have to at least finish half way or above.
If the new set-up was to come into force this September, the Vale’s eighth place would have resulted them playing in the new Lancashire and Cheshire league.
Vale will be facing nine of the clubs from last season but there will be first ever meetings at league level between two of the promoted clubs, Bolton and Eccles, although in the case of the latter the two clubs did meet in the second round of the EDF Energy Senior Vase in October 2008.
Bolton, who finished second in North Lancashire and Cumbria One, gained promotion by defeating Northwich at home, 21-18, in a play off game on their own patch, will visit Powder House Lane at the beginning of October in a historic clash.
Bolton also made last season one to remember by winning the Lancashire Plate.
On the second Saturday of the season the Vale will make a return visit to Gorton Street Eccles for the first time since a rather inglorious defeat in the aforementioned cup game, 14-10. Last season Eccles finished top of North Lancashire and Cumbria One.
The two other clubs joining the league, New Brighton and Penrith, are no strangers to the Vale.
New Brighton were relegated from North One West at the end of the 2010/11 season, the Vale winning both fixtures, but following a period of stability and rebuilding New Brighton were crowned champions of South Lancashire and Cheshire One, only losing one game.
Penrith, who last played against the Vale in a club fixture in March 2005 over at Winters Park, were relegated from National League Three North last season after finishing bottom.
The last league meetings were in the 2000/01 North Two West season when the honours were shared, the results going with the respective venues.
However, for local supporters the stand out fixtures are those against Kirkby Lonsdale and Kendal, both these clubs not only finishing above the Vale but between them winning three of the four games played to ensure the Cumbrians have a firm grip on these particular bragging rights.
The Vale will look to put that right starting on the opening day of the season when they host Kirkby Lonsdale on September 6.
Before that, the Vale have pre-season friendlies booked in at Whitehaven on August 16 and at home to Stoke on Trent seven days later.
Vale of Lune, North One West fixtures 2014/15
September 6 Kirkby Lonsdale (H)
September 13 Eccles (A)
September 20 Birkenhead Park (H)
September 27 Wilmslow (A)
October 4 Bolton (H)
October 11 Penrith (A)
October 18 New Brighton (H)
October 25 Kendal (A)
November 1 Carlisle (H)
November 15 Wigton (H)
November 22 Broughton Park (A)
November 29 Widnes (H)
December 6 Warrington (A)
December 13 Eccles (H)
January 3 Birkenhead Park (A)
January 10 Wilmslow (H)
January 17 Bolton (A)
January 31 Penrith (H)
February 7 New Brighton (A)
February 21 Kendal (H)
February 28 Carlisle (A)
March 7 Wigton (A)
March 21 Broughton Park (H)
March 28 Widnes (A)
April 11 Warrington (H)
April 18 Kirkby Lonsdale (A)