LOCAL FOOTBALL: Lack of players forces Brampton to pull out of Cambridgeshire County League top flight

Chairman Tony Burnley (left) pictured with the Brampton first-team back in 2016. Picture: ARCHANT

Chairman Tony Burnley (left) pictured with the Brampton first-team back in 2016. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

Brampton have pulled out of the top flight of the Cambridgeshire County League due to a shortage of players.

The local club have been fixtures in the Kershaw Premier Division for the past eight seasons and achieved a best-ever finish of third in the 2017/18 campaign.

Long-serving boss Wayne Ambler and number two Adam Burnley then stepped down at the end of last term with a number of regular players also no longer able to commit to turning out at the Memorial Field.

Now, with new sibling bosses Sam and Richard Argyle unable to attract enough players capable of playing at this level, Brampton have opted to bow out.

The club's reserve side, which won promotion from Division 2B last season under the tutelage of Malcolm Beswick, will now be the sole Brampton team in the 2019/20 campaign.

Chairman Tony Burnley said: "Of course we are disappointed that we are unable at present to put together a side for the Kershaw Premier Division.

"However, we are not the first club to be in this situation and over the last couple of seasons or so we hope to retrieve the situation.

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"Our reserve team last year gained promotion to Division 1B and we will be doing our utmost to repeat that performance in the coming season.

"We have a dedicated manager and strong team determined to doing all it can to ensure that we make progress."

Burnley revealed four players - George Cresswell, Gareth Owens, Curtis Pearson and Chris Weitzel - have left Brampton in the past two seasons due to working and living in London.

He also says three others - Cavan King, Alex Shepherd and Aaron Wootton - have joined local clubs who pay players. King has stepped up two levels with Godmanchester Rovers, whereas Shepherd and Wootton have gone to another Kershaw Premier Division side, Eaton Socon.

"We cannot afford to pay wages for playing football, but will always support those players who want to progress to a higher standard where payments are made," added Burnley.

"I am not sure that this is the future for village teams where a sense of companionship and camaraderie on Saturdays in many ways compensate for a few pounds in hand."

Richard Argyle will continue as a coach with Brampton while former first-team player Chris Newton, who is recovering from a serious injury, will also form part of the management team.

The exit of Brampton leaves three local clubs in the Kershaw Premier Division with Eaton Socon joined by the newly-named Eynesbury United and Hemingfords United.