Chatteris apply for place in Ridgeons League

CHATTERIS Town’s dream to win a place back in the Ridgeons League may come true a little bit earlier than anticipated.

The Ridgeons Division One has just 17 teams at present and they are keen to bring the total up to 20 for next season.

From this season the criteria for moving up to the Ridgeons League from its feeder divisions that also include the Cambridgeshire League, Anglian Combination and the Essex and Suffolk Border League has been altered to read: ‘Champions – or runners-up if the team above them does not want to go up or the third-placed team if the two above them don’t want to go up – and they get agreement from their current league.’

Chatteris have applied for promotion and first team manager Jimmy Unwin commented: “There is no cost involved and so we have sent in our application. It will be difficult to finish in the top three so it will be like getting in through the back door if we succeed, but we have the facilities for the Ridgeons League and it would be good if it could happen.”

A similar thing happened to Godmanchester Rovers a few years ago when they were admitted to the Ridgeons League but had not finished in a promotion place.

Four clubs, including Chatteris have had applications received by the Ridgeons League before the closing date of December 31.

But Premier Division clubs Leiston and Dereham have applied to go into the Ryman League next season. So the league are also seeking special permission to extend the criteria for promotion next season.

League secretary Nigel Spurling said: “We have capacity for 22 clubs in Division One and we need to increase the numbers pretty quickly and it is encouraging that four clubs have applied.

“We have applied to the Focus Group to seek permission for clubs to be promoted from out of the top three to help bring up our numbers. In the last few seasons five clubs have been promoted away to Step 4 but only one club has come back down and that was Wivenhoe Town.

“One problem we face is that some teams are happy to spend money on players and not facilities and they are blocking the way to the ambitious clubs who want to move up.

“We will not hear an answer to our application until the new year and they might put a stipulation of a team finishing in the top six or top half but we will have to wait and see.”

Some people have even suggested that the Ridgeons Division One might even fold but this is far from true and rather than that the league may, as a last resort, have to even their Premier and Division One leagues up. At present there are 22 teams in the Premier Division.

Chatteris are due to face Littleport in the Premier Division on Saturday, but are having to do a repair job on the changing rooms following a pipe burst which brought part of the ceiling down.