Cup competitions completely devalued by no shows

By Danny Caro, February 25, 2010

Cup giant killings in Jewish football could be a thing of the past if a worrying trend continues. At the start of any season there is a real buzz when one of the minnows pulls out a plum draw against one of the big boys. A team's season can be shaped by causing a major shock. But it appears that as the season wears on, the lower league teams lose their enthusiasm and the fear factor creeps in that a heavy defeat could lead to a slippery slope.
Last weekend two lower division sides forfeited against strong opposition in the League Cup. Resurgent Chigwell Athletic were scheduled to host holders Hendon United A but they pulled out at the 11th hour. Chigs manager Richard Slater said: "We had a silly amount of players away and ended up with 10. I was not prepared to play Hendon A without a full side. It would've been totally pointless, especially as we're on a great run."

A player shortage also resulted in first division Brixton Old Boys forfeiting against Faithfold A in the Peter Morrison. It left joint player-manager Frank Praverman pleading for players to join on the JC Forum, where he said: "Due to an incredible spate of injuries, our team needs players for every position. The club has a long and proud history, yet the last few seasons have been very difficult because of player availability."

Forfeiting a cup tie by fear of getting hammered or losing confidence or momentum for the league is totally unacceptable in my eyes. It completely devalues the competition and clubs should be punished either financially or by being refused entry in future years. They should not be allowed to play when they fancy it, especially late in the day, preventing their opponents from rearranging league matches, of which the programme is behind schedule. Another solution could be to only allow teams from the top three divisions to enter the Morrison.

On Sunday, Oakwood will be without seven regulars for their Morrison cup clash against holders North West Neasden A. But player-manager Ric Blank has vowed to soldier on despite more than half the team being ushers at a wedding in Manchester.

The tie has been delayed for several weeks due to Neasden non-Jewish cup competitions and bad weather. But it could not have come at a worse time.

Blank said: "Our squad has been decimated for a match that we were all looking forward to. We will get a team out, just, but it's incredibly frustrating as we want a good crack at Neasden and more than anything want to play my old team South Manchester Maccabi at some point in the competition.

"It's just one of those things but the issue I have is that because we're so far behind, we can't get exemption so we'll just have to roll with it and put out the best possible team we can." Now that's what I call rachmanus spirit. Good luck to them I say.

Last updated: 2:12pm, February 25 2010