Wingham football coach has concerns about promotion/relegation game

Alex Ihlow (right) from Wingham and Taree s Tom Griffen give chase to the ball during the premier league clash this month. Wingham faces Kempsey Saints tomorrow at Wingham in a game the Warriors must win. See more page 29

Alex Ihlow (right) from Wingham and Taree s Tom Griffen give chase to the ball during the premier league clash this month. Wingham faces Kempsey Saints tomorrow at Wingham in a game the Warriors must win. See more page 29

WINGHAM coach John Bevitt admits he has no real interest in preparing his side for a promotion/relegation game this year if the Warriors finish last in the Football Mid North Coast Premier League.

Bevitt's been there and done that when the Warriors were beaten in a similar clash three years ago. Wingham fought their way back into the premier league via a promotion/relegation match the following season. They managed to avoid the wooden spoon last year but now sit in last spot, five points shy of Old Bar.

Bevitt was critical of the promotion/relegation game when the Warriors were involved the first time. He said the side that comes last should automatically go down if the club that challenges for a spot passes the necessary criteria.

It's expected that Tuncurry-Forster will seek a return to the premier league in 2015.

The promotion/relegation game is played on premier league grand final day in late September.

"I wouldn't put the boys through that again,'' Bevitt said of the challenge match.

"Maybe there would be someone else on the coaching staff who is prepared to do it, but not me.''

He agrees that the premier league club is disadvantaged as the match is played a month after the competition-proper has ended. The team challenging is usually involved in northern or southern domestic competition semi-finals right up to the promotion/relegation game.

Bevitt understands there has been a proposal put forward to play a competition between the clubs not involved in the premier league semi-finals. However, he doubts this will work.

"Once the season is over players aren't interested unless they're in the semi-finals,'' he said.

"You can try to organise matches between the first and reserve grade side but that doesn't really work.''

He said it is also hard for the team in the promotion/relegation game to keep training. Wingham would be further disadvantaged as they have a number of players based in Newcastle, so the squad wouldn't be able to train as a unit.

Bevitt has no doubt that Tuncurry-Forster will nominate for a place in the league for next year.

"They were out there watching us against Wallis Lake last week,'' he pointed out.

The Warriors play Kempsey Saints tomorrow at Wingham and Bevitt said this is a must win game for his side.

Saints are in seventh place on percentages but on the same points as sixth placed Port FC and fifth placed Taree.

Football Mid North Coast board member Mike Parsons told the Times last month that the league has no intention of increasing the number of sides in the competition from the current 10. He backs the current format of playing the promotion/relegation match on grand final day.

"There have been some different scenarios put forward as to how to play the game but we believe this is the way it works best for us,'' he said.

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