Saturday League calling for more support after four teams quit
The Scarborough & District Saturday League are urging the local football community to rally behind the league in the wake of four teams pulling out of this season’s competition.
Seamer Sports 1sts and Hunmanby United have left the first division, while Flamborough and Eastfield Reserves have quit the second division.
Usually Seamer Reserves would have been forced to resign from the league and the remaining players would be forced to play in Division One, but after a plea from the village club to stay in the lower division the league, after advice from the North Riding FA, have agreed to their request and Seamer will stay in the second division.
League secretary John Orrah said: “We usually would have, under league rules, made the seconds pull out of the league and the first team would have stayed in the first division.
“But Seamer bosses Joe Tiffany and Tommy Adams asked for them to stay in division two as there are mainly reserve players and young lads coming up from Seamer juniors this season.
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"They said they would have really struggled in division one.
“After advice from the North Riding FA we decided to keep them in Division Two, we trust that they will not be suddenly playing a lot of lads who were in the first-team in recent seasons, there will be a couple of older players but most will be younger. reserve players.”
Orrah pointed out that most of the resignations from the league were due to a lack of player commitment, and also due to a lack of people able to help run the clubs on a weekly basis.
He added: “Hunmanby United quit due to a lack of players and also anyone to run the club, Seamer was also due to a lack of players and players’ commitment as was Eastfield Athletic.
“Flamborough is a different case though, the Covid-19 pandemic meant that they were unable to play any more than three games, and the change of boundaries meant it was no surprise that they left to re-join the East Riding County League.”
Orrah believes the lack of people behind the scenes to run these clubs is as much to blame for the lack of teams as the failure of younger players to commit to football at grass-roots level.
He said: “There are not enough people who wlll do the work to run clubs, this is as much behind the lack of clubs in the league as the failure of players to commit.
“There does not seem to be the same enthusiasm of younger players to commit to playing on a weekly basis as there was 20 years ago, clubs are needing 45 players signed on whereas in the past you could run a team with 20 players signed on, too many of the younger generation are off doing other things on a weekend.
“The Covid-19 pandemic did not help either as it seems that a lot of footballers have just got out of the habit of playing every Saturday and have started doing other things, spending more time with their families on a Saturday afternoon or taking up other sports.
“The decline in grass roots football has seen grounds such as Cayton, Hunmanby and Staxton without their own clubs playing on there any more, and the quality of the pitches up at Oliver’s Mount is appalling.
“Clubs often complain about the poor quality of facilities this has not helped in attracting new teams, and the local council could offer us a lot more support on the front.”
The Saturday League has lost clubs such as Sleights, Snainton, Ayton and Goldsborough United in recent years, as well as the likes of Whitby Fishermen’s Society to the North Riding League and Flamborough now returning to the East Riding County League.
Orrah is keen to point out the help the league has offered clubs in recent seasons to keep them going.
He said: “We have discounted fees so clubs are only paying £10 for joining the league, sorted out Nike sponsorship to get them new footballs and also given them first aid kits, but this still does not seem to stem the flow of clubs from the league.”
The Division One teams will play each other three times so they will have 15 matches, while the Division Two sides will have 14 games, playing each other home and away.
Orrah added: “We need to look at other options to get the club numbers back up in the league, we are always open to new clubs joining the league and they can contact me if they want to ask any questions about applying for next season.
“I already have one team who want to join for the 2022-23 season, they are still juniors so will have to wait until then.”