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Low team participation behind the St Edmundsbury League deciding to fold 112 years after first forming in 1907

By Sport Bury

The St Edmundsbury League – one of the oldest football leagues in the country – has folded.

St Edmunds 1965 were the last winners of the now defunct St Edmundsbury League in 2017/18
St Edmunds 1965 were the last winners of the now defunct St Edmundsbury League in 2017/18

First held in 1907, then under the guise of the Bury & District League, the league has been in operation for more than a hundred years, but the 2018/19 season is to be its last.

A special general meeting was held last month, where the decision was made to fold the league, with dwindling team participation behind the vote.

Bill Tinkler, who was secretary of the league from 1999 to the current day, said: “In June 1999 I was elected secretary of the then Bury & District Football League which boasted 30 football clubs from in and around Bury St Edmunds.

“In the past four or five years the team numbers operating in the league has dwindled dramatically, so much so that towards the end of last season (2017/18) the league spent a substantial amount of money advertising (for new teams) sadly with little success.

“The league operated in this past season with only seven teams, this included an Ipswich based side Stage FC and Walsham-le-Willows kindly helped out entering A and B teams.”

In an unfortunate end to the long-standing league, it was also decided that there would be no champions in its final season, as an outstanding fixture between joint leaders St Edmunds 1965 and Walsham-le-Willows B, both locked on 45 points each at the top, was cancelled.

“There was a problem with player eligibility in a game involving St Edmunds and Walsham B that did not get resolved,” Tinkler said.

“The league’s management committee decided that the league title should be settled ‘on the grass’ but as both teams were unable to come to any compromise it was decided that the fixture be deemed as cancelled and therefore no league champion in this the last league campaign.”

l Elsewhere, Gym United were crowned champions of Premier Logos Bury & District Sunday League Division One for the ninth consecutive season, after they were awarded the points from their last two league games.

The champions will face Brandon Town in the final of the Floodlit Cup at the Denny Bros Stadium tonight (7pm).

In Division Two, Occold finished fifth after beating Pakenham 8-1 in their final game of the season.

Thetford Rovers claimed third spot in Division Three with a 4-0 victory over Elmswell Youth.

On Sunday at the Denny Bros Stadium, Howards take on Horringer in the Knights Lowe Division One Knockout Cup final (12pm), followed by Ixworth against Moreton Hall 96 in the Carters Barbers Division Two Knockout Cup final (3.30pm).

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