The lower Divisions look like they may finish very early due to lack of games. With 12 in each Division, each club plays only 22 League matches (plus a varying number of Cup ties). The weather has also been very kind, meaning we are well ahead with the scheduled games – although that of course may change!
The CMFL has therefore devised an extra Cup competition to give some extra games to plug the gaps. It’s going to be called the President’s Cup, there will be a trophy up for grabs, and we’ve also acquired a Sponsor for it. Best of all, the sponsor is putting up some prize money too!
The format is a little unusual. The clubs in Division One are split into six Conferences of four clubs - generally nearby clubs together. Now, this is where it gets interesting and a bit different – these clubs then do NOT play each other, but they play four matches, two at home, and two away, against four teams in another Conference. In practice, teams from Division 1 North will play teams from Division 1 South, so an added attraction being matches against teams that ordinarily wouldn’t meet. If you are familiar with how the NFL season works then this won’t be a totally alien concept.
Here’s how the Conferences are set up, the names are somewhat arbitrary but sound better than 1, 2, 3 or A, B, C etc.
Crowle, Epworth, Bentley Development, Sutton Rovers
North East – 3 Counties
Harworth Reserves, Retford United Development, Shirebrook, Welbeck Reserves
East - Notts
Linby Reserves, Hucknall Reserves, Sherwood Reserves, Nottingham
West - Peak
Rowsley, Bakewell, Chesterfield Town, Alfreton Reserves
South - Derbyshire
Kilburn, Holbrook SM Development, Heanor Reserves, Long Eaton Community
South West - Dales
Wirksworth Town, Wirksworth Ivanhoe, Cromford, Mickleover Sports Reserves
After the four games, points and GD are totalled for each Conference, six Conference winners and two clubs with best records that didn’t top their Conference (“Wild cards”) go into Quarter Finals (which has the added benefit of keeping the competition alive to the end for most teams if there are two wild card slots). This should extend the season through April for clubs in Division One, so hopefully clubs will appreciate the extra matches. Games will be scheduled to fill blank weekends, there will also have to be some midweeks in order to play all Conference games by 13 April – QFs on 20 April, SFs on 27 April, and Final on League Cup final weekend.