THE West Kent Sunday Football League has suffered another team folding after Tunbridge Wells Foresters, a highly successful youth set-up, could not sustain a challenge in the senior game.
The club had two teams in the league last season to provide adult football for their young players, and the other side won Division Four but stood down at the end of the campaign.
Stuart Newman, the Foresters chairman, says: “We have nobody to run it, and it’s difficult to recruit new players. The costs are also a major issue. The price of hiring pitches is going up all the time. It can add up to £170 a game.
“It is disappointing because we set up the two teams as gateways for the young players -progressing upwards.”
He added: “There is a huge drop-off as well. All 16 members of our Under-18 squad last season went up to university. The year before it was all but one. They may not come back to the local area, or they won’t want to pay £20 a month to play football.
The youth section of the Foresters is very strong. The club can boast over 40 teams from Under-6s up to Under-18s, with more than 500 players.
Their departure leaves the West Kent Sunday League with the fewest member teams, 27, since the second season of its existence 50 years ago.
Green Lane still have a 100 per cent record on top of Division One after a 2-1 win at Artois United. Both Donaldsons scored, Richard and James, and Artois replied through Jake Miller.
Pembury Sunday drew 2-2 at Insulators. Cole Walsh opened the scoring for the hosts but Nick Forward levelled. Debutant Luke Parker restore the lead, but less than 90 seconds later Pembury levelled again when Matt Rice-Tucker struck his fourth goal of the season.
Tonbridge Origin gained their first points with an 8-0 win at home to Dormansland Rockets. Tom Cobb, back on the scene, scored twice as did Myles Lowden. Louis Qunton, Ollie Bettis, Alan Page and Dan Lawrence also found the net.