Saturday League in crisis after Westover call it quits

Westover have quite the league
Westover have quite the league

The Scarborough & District Saturday League was dealt another hammer blow when Westover Wasps and Whitby Fishermen joined Sleights in resigning ahead of the new season.

Westover Wasps have folded after struggling for players as well as having a mounting fines bill to pay.

Whitby Fishermen joined fellow Whitby-based side Sleights in leaving the league for new pastures.

While Sleights are heading for the Beckett League, the Fishermen will join the new North Riding Football League.

Wasps manager and secretary Jamie Heritage said: “We have tried our best to keep the club going through struggling times over the past two seasons, getting relegated but staying up for the good of the league.

“It’s a sad day but if you don’t attract the players and struggle to get money in, this is the end result.”

Whitby Fishermen will join the new North Riding Football League, which is an amalgamation of the Teesside League and the Eskvale & Cleveland League.

Long-serving goalkeeper Paul Cull said: “There’s no difference in the travel for us, and it’ll be good to play some different teams at different places.

“All our junior sides play in the Teesside League too, so this move makes sense.”

Saturday League secretary John Orrah said: “We have bucked the trend for the past eight years, but this is definitely worrying.

“We’ve never had teams leaving us for another league before.

“Phoenix Under-16s have applied to join this season, which is a positive, and we are open to any other sides who would like to come in too.

“The form is on our FA Full Time site for any other teams interested.”

North Riding County FA chief executive Tom Radigan told The Scarborough News: “We haven’t been made aware of the teams leaving the Scarborough League yet.

“Once we have been, our football development team will be on hand to offer their support.”

A Reserves League is a growing suggestion, alleviating the lack of promotion from Division Two into the top flight, and Radigan confirmed they’d allow club’s Reserves and Third teams to play in the same league.

“Should two teams from the same club meet in the bottom division, we’d support them not having to resign,” added Radigan.

The Saturday League AGM is due to be held on Monday June 19, and Orrah confirmed no decisions will be taken until the meeting.

“We represent the clubs, and they’ll vote on the constitution at the AGM,” added Orrah.

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