Hunts cup competition branded ‘nonsense’ as side makes final without kicking a ball
St Neots Town’s decision to forfeit a prestigious county cup clash has whipped up a storm.
Town were unable to raise a side to face lower-level Yaxley in a Hunts Senior Cup semi-final on Saturday following an injury and illness crisis.
St Neots claimed they had only eight fit players, including two goalkeepers, but a request to postpone the game until a later date was knocked back by the Hunts FA’s County Cup Committee.
A club statement confirmed: “As most of our Under 18s have already represented St Neots Town Youth & Saints in the competition, we had no players to call on to make up the numbers.
“We spoke to the Hunts FA and Yaxley about the situation and unfortunately had no alternative but to pull out of the fixture. If we could have fielded 11 players then we would have played it as the prize is a final at Rowley Park at the end of the season.”
Farcically Yaxley have reached the final without kicking a ball. This walkover follows a bye in the previous round!
They will now face the winners of the other semi-final involving Godmanchester and St Ives which was ironically postponed on Saturday.
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Hunts FA secretary Mark Frost said: “We were aware it was not a decision taken lightly by St Neots Town to request a postponement and it made it a difficult decision taken by the Hunts FA to deny the request.
“It was decided it would not have been in the best interests of the competition and it was with much regret that the tie was decided by a walkover. St Neots Town are held in the highest regard by the association and it has not been diminished by their withdrawal.”
St Neots could be fined up to £50 for not fulfilling the fixture and the situation has angered the manager of the team beaten by them in the previous round – Eynesbury chief Martin Field.
Field blasted: “It makes a nonsense of the competition and basically means we wasted our time when we played them.
“I’m not even blaming St Neots as they are struggling for a side in the days after a new gaffer has gone in there. The fault lies with the Hunts FA for me.
“It is not rocket science to work out a big county cup semi-final should go ahead and to have a team reach a showpiece final without kicking a ball beggar’s belief.”