EXCLUSIVE: Thurlow Nunn League confirm First Division split

GOING UP? Lakenheath - pictured celebrating a cup win in 2015 - are keen to join the Thurlow Nunn League set-up

Thurlow Nunn League chairman Peter Hutchings has confirmed next season’s First Division is set to be split into two separate leagues.

The divisions — which are to be branded North and South — will be implemented as part of the Football Association’s proposed changes to the non-league structures.

ALL CHANGE: A map of Step 7 teams in the area, courtesy of Fans Focus

Each league will contain at least 16 teams, with clubs in the likes of the Kershaw Premier Division, Suffolk & Ipswich League Premier Division, Anglian Combination Premier Division and the Essex and Suffolk Border League Premier Division all given the opportunity to apply to make the jump from Step 7 to 6.

Any interested party would need to meet a basic ground grading requirement by May 31, though these, according to Hutchings, are ‘quite light’.

Clubs will then be given until 2020 to bring their facilities up to scratch.

Hutchings said: “We have had a number of applications and are expecting more.

“Each club needs to meet the ground grading, but these are quite light. We want to give everyone that is interested a chance.

“The rest of the work can be spread over a period of time.

“Hopefully the South will feature Essex sides, but we are also keen to boost the number of Norfolk sides in the First Division.”

Hutchings also revealed the hope that the newly-formed South Division would be made up of sides from Essex, though this would be dependent on the number of successful applicants.

So far 22 teams have applied — including Kershaw outfit Lakenheath — four of which have been formally accepted and seven discounted.

All of the clubs have until March 31 to confirm that they are still interested in making the move.

• What do you think to the proposed changes? Is your club interested in making the move up? Let us know on liam.apicella@iliffepublishing.co.uk

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