FIVE teams have resigned on the eve of the new McDonald’s Worcester and District Sunday League season.
With under a fortnight to go until the big kick-off on September 7, Powick’s Premier Division side, Old Boys Malvern, GDL Athletic, Malvern Victoria and Hornets Reserves have all quit.
It has reduced the number of teams in the six-division competition to 65 and is the second time the league have been forced to re-jig the formation since last season.
There was a major overhaul in June after 13 teams left, including half of last season’s Premier Division teams.
Although 12 clubs joined to plug the gap, it meant sides being moved up a level to even out the numbers.
The latest withdrawals come in the wake of that, with some teams unhappy at being placed in higher divisions, despite a league plea for understanding. Other reasons include players not being committed and being unable to afford fees.
Powick were unhappy at being placed in the Premier despite finishing fifth in Division One last term, while GDL players said they should have been moved down following a ninth-placed finish in Division Three.
“We feel that we didn’t have sufficient quality of players to play in the Premier Division,” said Powick secretary Graham Bird. “A lot of my players decided they didn’t want to play in the Premier so they haven’t re-signed.”
Chris Wyse, of GDL, said: “Our first team has folded because we couldn’t get enough players.
“One of the things that didn’t help us was there was a feeling we shouldn’t have been in Division Three. Had we been in Division Four or Five, they would have stayed.
“Players want to be winning and being a bit more competitive.”
GDL, whose name has now been taken over by North Worcester Athletic in Division Five, also struggled to recruit new players, while Malvern Victoria saw players leave for “new challenges.”
Hornets secretary Kerry Mayne felt there were several reasons behind the number of clubs folding.
“The secretary resigned from the reserves and it’s a struggle to get volunteers to run the club,” she said.
Mayne added: “I think money is an issue sometimes, people can’t commit to paying every week.”
Powick also argued against not being able to use their Premier Division players in their reserve team, which was moved up to Division Two after finishing sixth in Division Three, although they have since come to an arrangement with the league.
League secretary Tim Phillips said: “We had to fill holes because five teams that left were in the Premier Division. What else could we do?”
The current episode is another setback for the league following a summer which saw them disband their Saturday competition for the first time since 1893 after five of the nine teams left.
LEAGUE FORMATION Premier Division: Kempsey, Arrow Upton 2000, Brewers Athletic, Callow End, Droitwich Spa Eagles, Hallow, Malvern Radar, Perrywood, The Bell @ Pensax, WCT Raiders, University of Worcester.
Division One: Claines, Droitwich Town, Gloster Arms, Halfway House, Hallow, New Barbourne, Northside, St John’s, Worcester Lynx, Worcester Raiders, Worcester Saints.
Division Two: Ale Madrid, Falcons, Malvern Rangers, Hornets, Perrywood Reserves, Powick Reserves, National Express, University of Worcester ‘B’, Virgin Athletic, WCT Youth Raiders, Worcester City Wanderers.
Division Three: Alumni, Clifton Rovers, Colwall St James, Colwall Village, Droitwich RBL, Korono, Freemasons Arms, Hylton Road Rovers, Malvern Mans, VBL Sports, Whitehall.
Division Four: DM Upton, Drakes Broughton Rangers, Droitwich Spa Eagles Res, Five Fathers, Hallow Reserves, Oldbury Park Tigers, Old Vigornians, Riverside, The Bell @ Pensax Reserves, Worcester Rileys.
Division Five: Brickfields, Blackpole Sports, Pillar of Salt, Droitwich Spa Eagles ‘A’, Eaton Rovers, GDL Athletic, Martley Spurs, Spa Gas, St Peter’s, Sport Dysons, Westside.