The 85-year-old Catforth and District Summer League is hoping for another successful football season when it kicks off in just under two weeks time. Fourteen teams are already planning to enter, but it is hoped a last minute appeal could bring in some more.
Registration night for the 2015 summer league takes place tomorrow, April 16, from 7-9pm at The White Bull, Bilsborrow, and league secretary, Mark Hughes, says ideally they need four to six more teams.
To date, the league will see Bilsborrow, Goosnargh, Fulwood Park Rangers, AFC Longridge, Hambleton Rovers, Hartleys FC, BES FC, Broughton Amateurs, Ribchester Rovers FC (two teams), Nets FC, Plungington FC, Brockholes Arms FC and Treales FC playing.
“New teams are AFC Longridge, who have rejoined the league afer an absence of a few years, Hambleton Rovers who were previously Preesall, Wyre Villa in latter years, and BES FC,” said Mark.
The league is sponsored by Commercial Power, the company of Fleetwood Town chairman Andy Pilley and the league, which will run from Monday, April 27, through to Friday, July 24, with fixtures played on any evening of week or during the weekend, is also looking for new committee members, particularly a new treasurer.
Chaired by Jim Lawrenson, the league was started by farmers in the Catforth area who started playing in the summer after they had finished work on their farms.
Mark said: “Fields full of cows and sheep often surrounded the pitch, and there were no referees in the early days - just a spectator would officiate if necessary. Mr Lawrenson’s father, Ralph, actually was involved with the organisation of the first beginnings of the league and it was Jim who took over the reigns approximately 40 years ago.
“Eight years ago the league became affiliated to the FA and LFA and it is now fully self sufficient with a good nucleaus of local teams still remaining loyal to us...Treales, Brockholes, Ribchester, Goosnargh to name just a few.
“The league is also now a RESPECT League in accordance with the FA and LFA and all teams have signed up to this every season.
“We are also very grateful to all support and sponsorship given over the years by local companies, etc and we also generate funds by holding a very successful Sportsmans Dinner, which we have run for more than 35 years.”
This year the dinner is on October 12 at Barton Grange Hotel with a three course meal, main speaker Malcolm McDonald (aka Supermac in his heyday), plus a comedian and another well known sporting personality. Tickets are £30 per head.
Last year 18 teams entered the league; Plungington winning Division 1, Brockholes Arms Division 2 and Ribchester Rovers Reserves Division 3. The Barron Cup was won by Brockholes Arms.
“Hopefully the league will have many more seasons, but it is continually difficult to attract new teams due to the influx of more and more external influences like five-six-a-side football, Sky TV and people in general have just had enough of football. But we will endeavour to strive forward and continue to ensure as long as is possible there is a summer league in the Preston and surrounding area,” added Mark.
For further information about the league or dinner, or if you are interested in joining the committee, please contact Mark on 07717 350761 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or just go along to the registration night tomorrow.