Norwich Sunday League restructure will make it more competitive, says secretary Ben Casey

Teams should benefit from the changes made to the Evening News and Copy IT Sunday League. Picture:

Teams should benefit from the changes made to the Evening News and Copy IT Sunday League. Picture: Archant - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2016

The restructuring of the Norwich Sunday League will lead to a 'much more level playing field', according to secretary Ben Casey.

The 2017/18 season will see six divisions of 12 teams including an Under-19s section in an effort to make the league more competitive.

The league committee thought the previous structure had led to the divisions becoming unbalanced with some teams getting well beaten each week.

A survey asking teams if they would be in favour of a restructure saw 74 responses from clubs, with 69 opting for change.

Casey hopes the move will see fewer teams folding after 20 teams since the 2016 AGM called it a day.

'A lot of teams were getting a hiding each week and that wasn't doing anyone any good - that's only going to lead to more withdrawals down the line,' said Casey.

'The survey we carried out showed that teams were up for the change. We had our own ideas of which teams would go where and what we've come up with seems to have gone down well with most of the teams.

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'Teams were getting catapulted into senior football when they were nowhere near ready for it and that led to teams folding.

'I think with the new structure we have got a much more level playing field.

'Teams like Cellar House and Eaton Park Corinthians were getting hidings every week and it is to their credit that they have carried on.'

The AGM takes place on Monday, June 12 when the constitution of the leagues will be confirmed and dates for the start of the season will be agreed.

Casey hopes this AGM will see far fewer withdrawals than the league has had to contend with before.

'Last year we had 11 withdrawals at the AGM and we had another four teams withdraw during the season but I'm hopeful we won't get any this season. Teams will be playing against other teams of the same level. It's not going to be to absolutely everyone's cup of team but it's impossible to please everyone. Hopefully now we've got the really strong teams in the top three divisions and it should all be more of a level playing field.'

The 11-a-side game has been on the decline for a number of seasons but that number is expected to plateau.

'I've been waiting for it to plateau for a couple of years!' joked Casey. 'But there are still people out there that want to play. We've made the changes to make it more competitive and keep teams more involved. All we can do is wait and see what happens now.'

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