Ques­tions as­cupteam­slet­giants through ‘for fear of a thrash­ing’

The Jewish Chronicle - - SPORT - BYDANNYCARO

FOOT­BALL DAVID Wolff be­lieves teams who pull out of the Cyril Anek­stein Cup through fear of suf­fer­ing heavy de­feats are de­valu­ing the com­pe­ti­tion.

Three Premier Di­vi­sion teams reached the quar­ter-fi­nals of the MGBSFL League Cup com­pe­ti­tion with­out play­ing af­ter their op­po­nents de­faulted.

Hold­ers North Lon­don Raiders A pro­gressed to the last eight, hav­ing played only one match — a 3-2 vic­tory over sec­ond­di­vi­sionL’Equipe—andthe­yarenow just two matches away from a re­turn trip to Win­gate & Finch­ley af­ter Faith­fold A for­feited.

Top-flight sides FC Team A and Oak­woodAre­ceived­walkover­sagain­stAth­let­icBil­bau­mandRaidersB re­spec­tively, with the lower league teams cit­ing a short­fall of play­ers.

Lower l e a gue clubs in the past are known to have cited the fear of a heavy de­feat when fac­ing the prospect of field­ing in­com­plete teams against top-flight op­po­si­tion.

And MGBSFL chair­man David Wolff ex­pressed “dis­ap­point­ment” at some teams pulling out, de­spite be­ing above the min­i­mum quota for the ties to go ahead. He said. “It doesn’t do the com­pe­ti­tion any good.

“I think there is a com­bi­na­tion of rea­sons. Yes, some teams don’t want to be heav­ily beaten, but some clubs are gen­uinely strug­gling for num­bers.

“Gen­er­ally, the lack of in­ter­est in play­ers want­ing to play on Sun­day morn­ings is a wor­ry­ing fac­tor.”

Hen­don United boss David Gar­bacz’s ad­mits: “It can be very de­mor­al­is­ing to get beaten heav­ily by teams in the higher di­vi­sion so I’m sure that be­comes a fac­tor when they de­cide to pull out.”

“Long-term, it could af­fect con­fi­dence and end up hav­ing a detri­men­tal ef­fect on the sea­son. Say­ing that, it doesn’t say much for the magic of the cup and over­all, de­spite the gaps in abil­ity it is quite poor for teams to just pull out with­out even try­ing. I doubt it is a ques­tion of re­sources be­cause they would rarely pull out of league games.”

Rob Rich­man, who led Raiders to dou­ble glory last sea­son, has called for the MGBSFL to change its cup reg­is­tra­tion rules.

Rich­man said: “I don’t think teams should be scared to be beaten com­pre­hen­sively in the last 16 but the rules sur­round­ing reg­is­tra­tions have definitely played a part. In the Anek­stein Cup, a player has to be reg­is­tered 14 days prior to the cup tie rather than just three daysforaleaguegame.It­means­forteams who have a few boys who get in­jured or pull out the week be­fore a cup game you can’t sign any re­place­ments.

“More­frus­trat­ing­lythere­are­boyswho would have rep­re­sented a club the pre­vi­ous week in a league game but then can’t play the week af­ter in a cup match.

“Raiders B had two play­ers in that sit­u­a­tion and that can be the dif­fer­ence be­tween hav­ing enough to ful­fil a fix­ture and­nothavin­ge­nough.

“I’m sure there was a strong rea­son for the rule com­ing in orig­i­nally but in my view it should really be the same as the rule for the league games.”

MrWolff in­sist­s­thede­ci­sionul­ti­mately lies with the teams who en­ter.

He said: “The 14-day rule was put in to com­pen­sate the orig­i­nal 21-day rule. The club­shave­tovoteif they­want­todis­pense with the rules.”

PHO­TOS: MARC MOR­RIS

RJC’s Steve Sum­mers scored a stun­ning solo ef­fort against Brady while NLR ( right) have reached the last eight of the Anek­stein de­spite only play­ing one tie

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