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Hope for Deeping, Holbeach, Pinchbeck and Bourne but blow for Spalding

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United Counties League officials are keen to avoid a repeat of last season’s null and void campaign despite matches again being suspended following the third national lockdown.

Deeping Rangers, Holbeach United, Pinchbeck United and Bourne Town all play in the UCL and so still could see action again this season.

However, the Northern Premier League, where Spalding United play, wants to curtail the season and start afresh in August.

Derby action between Deeping and Holbeach earlier this season.
Derby action between Deeping and Holbeach earlier this season.

Our four UCL teams are experiencing a further spell on the sidelines following the Government’s announcement last week.

The Wakes and Clarets – who have both been affected by Covid outbreaks this season – have managed to play just nine league matches of their 38-game campaigns so far this term, while the Tigers have played 10 and the Knights 12.

The league has been granted an extension until the end of May but, with no guarantee of when sport will return, officials are looking at alternative options.

They include teams completing 50 per cent of their campaigns by playing each other just once.

United Counties League chairman Alan Poulain said: “We had a chairman’s meeting with other leagues and there were calls on the Football Association to step up and take a lead on decisions. Playing each other at least once is the key to end of season decisions.

“There was not one league who wanted a null and void decision and a lot were looking towards a decision if all leagues could reach this minimum 50 per cent, playing each club once scenario.

“We just have to keep our fingers crossed at the moment that the season can resume in March or April in some form.”

Both Bourne and Deeping haven’t played league matches since October 17 while Holbeach have been out of action since November 4. Pinchbeck did manage to play two games in December.

It appears increasingly likely that Spalding United’s season is over, however, after the NPL expressed the view that the season should cease immediately and be declared null and void.

The board of the Northern Premier League says it reviewed the implications of the latest Government lockdown before coming to the decision.

It would be the second consecutive season the league has not been completed because of COVID-19.

However, all clubs at Steps 3 and 4 will shortly be asked by the Football Association to provide their views on whether the 2020/21 season should be terminated and, if not, what the alternative should be.

The ultimate decision lies with The FA Council but no proposal will be drafted until clubs’ views have been collated and assessed.

In the meantime, the Northern Premier League is postponing all fixtures up to and including Saturday, March 6.

The Tulips last played when they drew 3-3 at Belper Town on October 31.

The Peterborough and District League, where many of our local sides play, is also yet to make a decision

All football clubs across the south Lincolnshire area are classed as ‘non-elite’ and the suspension of leagues – which also includes the Peterborough League, Peterborough Youth League and Peterborough Junior Alliance – mean they are also not allowed to train.

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