THE West Kent Sunday Football League (WKSFL) continues to experience an alarming drop-off in participating teams.
Just 27 clubs making up the three divisions, the lowest membership in the league’s history since it started in 1967.
Four teams were lost to football completely from the end of last season including successful sides Bricklayer’s Arms and Gardener’s Arms. A couple went to other leagues while Rusthall switched to Saturday football.
Numbers were further reduced when FC Hayward failed to start their fixtures in the new campaign, and a few weeks into the season came the demise of Tunbridge Wells Foresters.
Crowborough and Jarvis Brook recently had seven teams in the league but now it’s just the one, Crowborough Town. No longer are there any teams based in Sevenoaks, Edenbridge and Westerham, while large villages like Hadlow and East Peckham have no active adult football at all. Pembury is another small town now down to one Sunday team, where once there were four or five.
In Division One Simla look likely to finish ahead of Green Lane and Armada, though the form book is skewed by the fact that Dormansland Rockets have played only four league games because of a good run in the Surrey Sunday Cup, and they have yet to play any of the top four. Tom Welch of Green Lane is leading the scoring charts across the three divisions with 18 goals.
In the second tier Royal Oak have played just two league matches and FC Grinstead only four – and none of them at home. Both sides are capable of dominating the division in the second half of the campaign, though Crowborough Town and Green Street Blues in particular will have something to say about that.
Brenchley are on top of the league by virtue of having been awarded nine points from three games where opponents could not raise a team.
The top two in Division Three, Speldhurst Rangers and St John’s Yard, are likely to fight it out for the title. But Ridgewaye in Tunbridge Wells have shown a major improvement in recent weeks and have yet to play either of the current leaders.
Two WKSFL teams have progressed to the Kent Reliance Sunday Premier Cup.
Simla must travel to Broadstairs to meet Bradstow Albion of the Thanet Sunday League, while Artois United are at home to Footscray Lions of the Woolwich and Eltham Sunday Alliance.
Both games are on January 14 (kick-off 10.30am).