New West of Scotland League structure aims to ensure season is completed

Kirkintilloch Rob Roy and Irvine Meadow are both part of the new West of Scotland LeagueKirkintilloch Rob Roy and Irvine Meadow are both part of the new West of Scotland League
Kirkintilloch Rob Roy and Irvine Meadow are both part of the new West of Scotland League
Bosses at the West of Scotland Football League have announced a revamped structure for the fledgling competition to give them a better chance of completing the season.

The new sixth tier of Scottish football's pyramid system, operating one level below the Lowland League, was set up following the move into the senior ranks of the region's former junior clubs.

But with the proposed starting date being pushed back due to Covid-19 - October 31 is the latest estimate for a likely start - there has been increasing concern over the prospects for having enough dates to complete a season.

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WoSFL bosses have now devised a new set-up which will reduce the number of games teams will have to play from 38 to 28.

The 20-team Premier Division has been split into two groups of 10, based on last season's West Region SJFA finishing positions but with groundsharing teams are not in the same group.

In a first phase the teams will play each other home and away, a total of 18 games.

There would then be a draw for a second phase of a further 10 games, with each team getting five home games and five away games against the sides they hadn’t played so far.

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The groups are -

Group A: Auchinleck Talbot, Glenafton Athletic, Irvine Meadow XI, Kilbirnie Ladeside, Clydebank, Largs Thistle, Benburb, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy, Bonnyton Thistle, Blantyre Victoria.

Group B: Kilwinning Rangers, Pollok, Beith Juniors, Hurlford United, Cumnock Juniors, Rossvale, Troon, Rutherglen Glencairn, Cumbernauld United, Darvel.

A similar strategy has been put in place for the three 16-team Conferences which will operate below the Premier Division.

Each conference has been split into two groups, playing each other home and away, before two further phases of cross-group fixtures.

This would mean 30 games for the teams in the 16-team Conferences A and B and 28 for the 15 teams in Conference C.

The conferences are split as follows -

Conference A: Group 1 - Shotts Bon Accord, Craigmark Burntonians, Irvine Victoria, Girvan, Maryhill, Forth Wanderers, Maybole Juniors, Glasgow University.

Group 2 - Arthurlie, Whitletts Victoria, Lesmahagow, Bellshill Athletic, Johnstone Burgh, Muirkirk Juniors, Saltcoats Victoria, Lugar Boswell Thistle.

Conference B: Group 1 - Renfrew, Cambuslang Rangers, Shettleston, Carluke Rovers, Kello Rovers, Thorniewood United, Annbank United, St Cadoc’s.

Group 2 - Dalry Thistle, Gartcairn, Port Glasgow, Greenock Juniors, Royal Albert, Ashfield, Newmains United, Ardeer Thistle.

Conference C: Group 1 - Neilston, Petershill, Ardrossan Winton Rovers, Larkhall Thistle, Wishaw, Yoker Athletic, Vale of Clyde, Drumchapel United.

Group 2 - Kilsyth Rangers, St Roch’s, Lanark United, Glasgow Perthshire, East Kilbride Thistle, Vale of Leven, St Anthony’s.

Promotion and relegation would remain as before with three teams coming up from the Conferences and seven going down from the Premier Division.

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A statement from the WoSFL Interim Management Group said: "On the basis that there is still a high probability of disruption to the season, we believe it is important to put in place an alternative to a normal season of home and away fixtures.

"As such, we have restructured the way we organise our season to give the WoSFL the best possible chance of a season that is competitive, worthwhile and workable."