Call-offs dismay cup chairman

Carter Cup chairman John Bettridge has expressed his disappointment after two clubs failed to raise teams for their fixtures on Sunday.Dersingham and Garboldisham both pulled out of their games, against East Harling and Fakenham respectively and have been suspended from this year's competition, including the Lady Mary Trophy for teams beaten in the first round.

Carter Cup chairman John Bettridge has expressed his disappointment after two clubs failed to raise teams for their fixtures on Sunday.

Dersingham and Garboldisham both pulled out of their games, against East Harling and Fakenham respectively and have been suspended from this year's competition, including the Lady Mary Trophy for teams beaten in the first round.

Both clubs will now have to re-apply to play in the competition next season, and that will have to be approved by members at the AGM.

Bettridge said: "It is quite an unusual occurence for two sides to be unable to fulfil matches. Garboldisham felt that they did not have enough senior players to play against Fakenham and they did not want a situation where they were putting youngsters up against an EAPL team. Whether I agree with that or not, that was the club's decision."

He said he had not received an explanation from Dersingham for their failure to play the game.

Bettridge said it may be time to seek the opinions of all member clubs regarding the competition, in order to nip any problem in the bud.

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He added: "It may be a little bit of a sign of the times. All clubs have times when they struggle to get enough players, although they usually manage to fulfil the fixtures. One has to recognise that social patterns have changed and maybe there is not the commitment there to play two games in a weekend.

"This is the 39th year of the competition. There has been a considerable amount of evolution in the game locally and there is a danger that there could be a lessening commitment, although I do hope not."

Dersingham secretary Anthony Dobing said they would have been without captain Richard Southgate, who was on business in America, as well as two other key players and, as the club does not operate a second team, they were left with only nine available players.

He said: "Richard was phoning round from the airport on Saturday morning to try and get a full team but he had to make the decision to call it off. He told East Harling, but it was an oversight not to let the organisers know and we can only apologise for that."