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Newark Alliance's Covid Cup gives Sunday League teams new goals

A Sunday League cup has been launched to fill the void left by the curtailed football season.

The aptly-named Covid Cup, created by the Newark Football Alliance, will begin on Sunday, April 4.

The tournament will run in a similar format to that of the World Cup in which a league-based group stage will determine who qualifies for the knockout stages of the tournament.

RHP (green) and Walesby (yellow) are both in the top division.
RHP (green) and Walesby (yellow) are both in the top division.

Andy Duckmanton, one of the organisers of the competition, said the cup would keep the friendly rivalries alive while also giving teams a chance to play football before the new season.

“There was a demand for some football so I spoke with Dennis Rawle (the Alliance’s referee secretary) and we essentially organised a friendly league, so the managers didn’t have to sort friendly games themselves.

“It consists of four leagues, two leagues of five and two leagues of six.

“The top two in each division will go through into the knockout stages (which is a quarter-final).

“The third-place team from each league will play off for ninth to 12th, fourth place in each league will play for 13th to 16th, fifth place from each league will play for 17th to 20th and then the bottom teams from league three and four — which has one extra team — will play to avoid finishing bottom.

“It will mean that by the end of it, all of the teams will be ranked from first to 22nd.

“The idea was that if somebody from league three or four wins the cup, they will play eight games, and the fewest times a team can play is six.

“It is the best way to run a cup competition without teams only getting one game, because if it was a straight knockout, some teams might only get one chance to play before they are out.

“All of the teams were happy with the decision and it gives the teams a little bit to play for — they can still have a bit of banter over who finishes above each other.”

The four leagues are as follows;

  • League One; Holy Trinity, Newark Town, Walesby, FC Newark, RHP
  • League Two; Collingham, Witham Wanderers, Rose & Crown, Barkestone-le-Vale, FC Genes
  • League Three; Robin Hood Colts, East Bridgford, Old Magnusians, Laxton Athletic, Sutton-on-Trent, White Hart
  • League Four; Claypole, RHP Reserves, Newark Cavaliers, Holy Trinity Reserve, Fernwood, Newark FC

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