Five Things We Learned 2023/24 - Gameweek 30

Thu 22nd February 2024 | Five Things
By Jay Cooper

1. The semi-finals of the Macron Cup

Like clockwork, just under 2 weeks after we found out who would face who in the Edward Case Cup semi-finals, here we go again with the Macron Cup. We're guaranteed new winners this season after Congleton were laterally moved out of the NWCFL in the summer of 2023, and there are still 6 names in contention for that crown, with 2 quarter-final ties yet to be played at the time of writing. The two teams who do know their fates are Chadderton and Alsager Town.

One of fellow Prem outfits Charnock Richard or Barnoldswick Town will play host to Alsager, whilst Chaddy will inevitably face a First Division South side in their quest for the trophy - either Droylsden or Ashville, whose match this weekend came so close to its conclusion before having to abandoned on 77 minutes with the score at 3-2 to the visitors, due to our old friend Mother Nature.


2. Bury flying high, but still having flight problems

It wouldn't be a weekend in the NWCFL without Bury FC making the headlines! It was the Shakers' turn to cross the channel this weekend as they were scheduled to FC Isle of Man on Saturday night. However, after waiting at Manchester airport for most of the afternoon, they were eventually told they would not be able to board a flight to make the initially scheduled kick off time.

To their absolute credit, the club were quick to rearrange their journey to the first possible flight they could from Liverpool airport instead, departing at 7am to make the new KO time of 11am on the Sunday. And the result, a 2-0 win, wound up being enough to keep Dave McNabb's sides noses in front of Wythenshawe Town in the race for the NWCFL Prem title. I'd argue that's worth the hassle.


3. Charnock Richard will certainly be busy

As I frequently find myself mentioning on these lists, it has been a horrendous few months for NWCFL football with regards to rain-based match postponements, and a quick glance at the Premier Division table tells you which teams have been hurt the most. Given that sides like Wythenshawe Town and Skelmersdale united have played 37 games so far, to see teams like Irlam having only played 30 is staggering.

And then, there's poor Charnock Richard. Their efforts this season in both the FA Vase and the Macron Cup do play a part in this stat, but, at the time of writing, Ryan Donnellan's side have only played 26 league games - we're in mid-late February, just as a reminder! With the season expected to end on April 20th, Charnock are going to have to try and squeeze 20 NWCFL league games into just over 8 weeks, and they are still in the Macron Cup at the moment. That is some task.


4. Shelley slowly beginning to climb?

It's been a pretty dismal season for newly promoted Shelley in the First Division North. They have spent the majority of the campaign loitering around the bottom of the division, having spent one or two gameweeks throughout propping up the rest of the league. However, with the season slowly coming to an end, they've started to seemingly find their feet.

From their last 6 league games (which have admittedly been broken up a little bit by postponements), they've bagged 3 important wins against the likes of fellow struggles AFC Blackpool, Runcorn Town and even edging out a thrilling 4-3 victory over South Liverpool in their most recent match. With a game in hand on Garstang directly above them, a draw would be enough to see them climb out of the relegation spots for the first time in quite a while. And what an important time of the season to do it!


5. Cammell Laird covet Champion status

A very eloquently-written feature article surrounding First Division South side Cammell Laird 1907 hit the website this week, featuring an interview with manager Andy Cass, and you can check it out right here. In that article, the handsome genius writer mentioned that the club were due to play in the quarter finals of the Wirral Senior Cup on Tuesday night. Well, today is Thursday, so how did they do?

Why don't you ask any of James Farr, Kieran Hamm and Ben Wood, who all managed to get their names on the scoresheet in a 3-0 shutout of Mersey Royal on home soil. Lairds are now one of the last 4 teams in the competition, and, whilst they haven't exactly set the league on fire this year, to finish the campaign with some silverware would be quite the achievement.

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