Newark Town and Collingham will stay in the same division
Newark Town and Collingham will stay in the same division

Newark Town and Collingham are to remain in Central Midlands League North after a reshuffle of step-seven football.

It had been thought they could be moved to the Lincolnshire League or Central Midlands League South as the Football Association (FA) tried to reduce clubs’ travel times and the number of matches.

However, the FA’s proposed constitution for step seven, released on Monday, confirmed Newark and Collingham’s places in Central Midlands League North.

Southwell City and Bingham Town remain in the Notts Senior League Premier Division, where they will be joined by Aslockton and Orston in a surprise move.

The village side were moved sideways into the competition after finishing bottom of Central Midlands League South last season.

Manager Martin Hallam said the move, which has still to be ratified, could prove beneficial.

“It was a bit of a surprise for us,” he said. “We were on the way to the Central Midlands League annual meeting when we got the call to say we had been moved to the Notts Senior League.

“When the dust settled we looked at it and saw we could be having derbies against Calverton, Cotgrave and Bingham Town. It does not look a bad move.

“It would save us around 200 to 300 miles in travelling.

“The whole committee has not discussed it yet, but as it stands we might not appeal and could be happy to make the move.”

Radcliffe Olympic, relegated from the East Midlands Counties League, have also been placed in the Notts Senior League Premier Division.

In May it was revealed Newark Flowserve would be promoted to the East Midlands Counties League, while Ollerton Town remain in Northern Counties East League (NCEL) Division One.

Newark Town first-team secretary Dave Roberts said it was a positive outcome.

“First of all we are pleased to be playing step-seven football,” he said. “We avoided relegation and we deserved that on merit.

“We are very happy to be remaining with the Central Midlands League. It is a good standard of football and a well-run league with a great organisation behind it.”

The only new side Newark and Collingham will face next season is Retford United, who were relegated from NCEL Division One.

The FA is looking to cut the number of teams in step-seven leagues and Roberts believed it was a good move.

“They have reduced the size to 15 teams in our division, although that could increase to 16 as there is still time for teams to appeal (the reshuffle),” he said.

“It is the right thing and is proportionate to the level of football we are playing and the pressures of putting a team out.

“There are too many fixtures over a season. It can make life difficult when you have people working and others unavailable.

“There are some teams at this level that do not have floodlights, which can restrict when you play.”

“We have issues arranging fixtures while we are ground-sharing with Collingham.”