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Robert James

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  1. The SFA updated the list of licensed clubs, as at August 2021. However, Banks O'Dee and Golpie Sutherland were still listed under the "Other Clubs", whereas they are now in the North Regional 'Junior' and the North Caley Leagues, both pyramid clubs at Tier 6. As we are now in December, can any one give an update on their own club's progress in applying for a licence in 2022 ? For example : * Armadale Thistle * St Andrews United * Hill of Beath Hawthorn * Irvine Meadow * Lochee United * Tweedmouth Rangers and possibly Creetown ? What is the deadline for submitting an application for 2022 ?
  2. Yes, Skye could enter a club into the North Caley League, but it would be more likely that they would enter 1 or 2 of the NCL cup competitions first, as a way of testing the water. Lewis & Harris have done so in recent seasons, but won't consider joining the league whilst covid flourishes. More likely new NCL applicants would be Nairn St Ninian (struggling in the North Region league), Clachnacuddin Reserves/Under 23's, a (unified) a Black Isle FC, Buniliddh Thistle (rejoining),, Muir of Ord, and/or Ullapool (possibly within the next 2-3 seasons)? Watch this space.
  3. Thanks for asking a serious question. What is the official reason for the delay at Lesser, and have the Spiders issued any recent statements about it ?
  4. 0-13 tonight. Will VOL be able to complete the season, or will they fold ?
  5. Early in 2021, two clubs made enquiries about joining the NCL for 2021/22, but didn't submit applications (probably decided not to apply because of the ongoing Covid situation). They may apply for entry next season, if the situation becomes more stable becomes ? In addition, Fort William face potential relegation to the NCL, and Bunillidh may decide to re-activate their league membership. However, I consider that it would be unlikely for the NCL to accept more than 14 clubs in a single division, because of weather and fixture problems, and I think it's unlikely that the league would split into two small divisions again. As an aside, I notice that Lewis & Harris have entered the NCL's 2021/22 Football Times Cup after a few year's absence, although they are very unlikely to join the league in the future.....unless there is a serious benefactor/sponsor, out there somewhere ?
  6. Yes disappointing that Scourie FC has withdrawn from the NCL. However today's opening results suggest that the league will be very competitive this season, if today's results are anything to go by : Alness Utd 2 Invergordon 3 Golspie 3 Inverness Ath 3 Nairn " A" 3 St Duthus 2 Halkirk Utd 3 Thurso 0 Bonar Bridge, Loch Ness, and Orkney kick off their season next Saturday,
  7. Exactly as it should be. So get licensed, and be eligible for promotion to the HFL.
  8. Ardersier is decent venue for Inverness Athletic, and congratulations to Sandy Stephen, as the club continues to strengthen.. Does anyone know what the age range(s) is for Muir of Ord's youth team(s) ? Return to the NCL in the near future ? Scourie FC has announced on its' website, that they have signed 27 players for 2021/22 (so far).
  9. I agree with your view. The top 4 or 5 NCL clubs are stronger than many of the lower ex junior North clubs, and have better support. Inverness Athletic, Thurso and Orkney for example, have a 'catchment area' population that is higher than many of the HFL clubs, so there is some potential. However, there is a problem with facilities, which will hold ambitious NCL clubs back, in the short to medium term. Pyramid status will over time, shake up the current status quo, between the HFL, and all 3 of the Tier 6 leagues. It promises to be very interesting.
  10. Extremely unlikely that Golspie will lose their licence. Can't think of any reason why ? Whether they will be NCL champions next season is a different question, as it will be a stronger league in 2021/22 - Covid permitting.
  11. Spot on Andy. Ground developments, floodlights, and other improvements, have recently accelerated at a pace, which didn't happen to the same level, under the SJFA's jurisdiction. Such improvements will continue throughout the next 5 years, or so. Thereafter it should be clear which clubs are ambitious, and those which (quite properly) are content with their current situation.
  12. And the SFA still haven't updated their official list of licensed clubs. Lazy ?
  13. It will be interesting, but very challenging for the smaller clubs, across the north (and elsewhere)
  14. Fair comment. According to the recent newspaper article in the Courier/P&J, three of the NCL clubs have declared an interest in aiming for the HFL, now that the pyramid is in place.
  15. Somewhat disingenuous....., me thinks ! The NCL dates back to its formation in 1896/97 as the North of Scotland Junior League, and its first champions were Inverness Celtic FC. In 1935/36. The league dropped "Junior" from its title, and became the North of Scotland ('2nd XI') League, as it was dominated by the 3 Inverness Reserve clubs, Ross County, and Brora Rangers., Reserve XI's. During this period however, Invergordon FC, Avoch Rovers, Dingwall Thistle (x2), and the Highland Light Infantry , each won the NOSL championship., despite the continuing presence of most of the Reserve XI's. The league was also recognised by the SFA, as being a senior league. By the end of the 70's, most of the Reserve XI;s had dropped out, and the league's title was changed to the North Caledonian League, and it has continued as such for the last 40+ years. In my opinion, the NCL is not at risk of disappearing, and is likely to further strengthen now that it has Tier 6 Pyramid status.
  16. Looks like 9 or more newly licensed clubs ? After formal ratification on the 20th July, surely we can expect the SFA Cup Preliminary Round draw, to follow quickly. And congratulations to Wigtown : your new lights look excellent.
  17. The NCL has increased its club membership from 5 to 12 during the last decade, which is positive. However, geography and climate in the north & west highlands, is very challenging, but (like the South of Scotland League), their participation in the pyramid is remarkable. It should also be noted that the North Junior League has 2 clubs who are going into "abeyance" for 2021/22, namely Spey Valley United and Buckie Rovers. Will they return in the future?
  18. Sadly, Inverness City didn't last very long after the club's transfer to the Juniors. They were over ambitious. Inverness Athletic and Loch Ness are going strong in the NCL, despite having the same ground problems as City faced.
  19. Clach will never join the North Juniors ! The more interesting question is whether Nairn St Ninian will transfer to the 'easier' NCL in a year or two ? They are located within the NCL area. And which league will Lossiemouth chose, if relegated from the HFL ?
  20. The gap between the juniors and the top 3 or 4 clubs in the NCL, has narrowed in recent years : SCOTTISH FA CUP 2019/20 Preliminary Round 2 Banks O'Dee 2 Golspier Sutherland 0 Great News confirming the Midland League, the North Caledonian League, & the North Region Junior Superleague being granted Pyramid Tier 6 status. However, I am surprised that the NRJS has retained "Junior" in its League title.
  21. There certainly are big challenges for NCL clubs. Geography/travel, climate, and summer football considerations, add to the 'normal' problems faced by Scottish non league clubs. Nevertheless, the clubs concerned are pleased that the pyramid has opened up for them. I wish them well. However after years of wrangling (on P&B), it is a major achievement that the Highland region now has a pyramid of three separate leagues, which sit alongside the Lowland's three feeder leagues. It will be interesting to see how the future unfolds.
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