Halifax AFL: Illingworth St Mary’s disband their reserve side due to shortage of players

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A shortage of players has resulted in Illingworth St Mary’s having to fold their reserve side in the First Division.

The division will now have only nine teams and Illingworth’s results have been made null and void. Relegation issues will be decided by the management committee.

Andrew Field, Illingworth St Mary’s secretary, said: “I think it’s just a generational thing.

“I played open age football for over 20 years and I turned up every weekend, whereas now I think some people are choosing to do other things.

“If they’ve got a gap in their diaries then they’ll turn up, but if not then we’re left ringing round begging people to play for us.

“It is getting harder and harder to run a club. You used to be able to put a message out and nine out of 10 players would make themselves available, but now it takes a lot of time to ring round to get people to play.

“And it’s hard when you’ve got full-time jobs as well. But it’s not a criticism of the lads we’ve got, because they’re are great, and the league has been very supportive.

“It’s not compulsory, people are entitled to choose what they want to do with their free time. But fewer people choose to play.

“There has been a decline over the last 10 years and it may be that it keeps shrinking until there’s a merger with another league, like there has been with the Sunday League.”