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Match off as Swifts fail to fly into town


By Matt Leslie


Thurso Swifts and Wick Groats met earlier in the season but the match that was scheduled between the two was cancelled as Swifts failed to raise a starting eleven. It is the third time this season that Swifts have forfeited a fixture. Picture: James Gunn
Thurso Swifts and Wick Groats met earlier in the season but the match that was scheduled between the two was cancelled as Swifts failed to raise a starting eleven. It is the third time this season that Swifts have forfeited a fixture. Picture: James Gunn

Division One strugglers Thurso Swifts could once again find themselves in hot water for not turning up against Wick Groats – the third match they've waved this season.

The two had been set to meet at Upper Bignold last Tuesday night only for Groats to be left conducting a quickly-arranged training session as Swifts had failed to fly into town.

Nigel Mackenzie's side have had their problems this season with a number of poor results crashing them down the league table.

Indeed, so bad is their predicament that they currently prop up the table with the not-so-grand total of minus three points having had those deducted when they also failed to show up against Groats' title rivals, Pentland United, last month.

The no-shows did not end there as Groats got a taster of what was to come this week when also last month, Swifts failed to show up for their Eain Mackintosh Cup tie – a non-event that saw Thurso thrown out of the competition.

With CAFA football taking place in the summer and with players who juggle representing their clubs with their work lives – or in some cases, schoolwork – commitments at work, school, college along with holidays booked well in advance have caused headaches for the managers of all teams involved.

Not to forget the usual occupational hazards associated with football such as injuries and suspensions.

However, Thurso Swifts appear to have had selection nightmares aplenty with Mackenzie running into a brick wall in bid to try and cobble a team together come matchday.

In a statement Mackenzie said: "Obviously we are hugely disappointed in not being able to fulfil our fixture but it was unavoidable.

"We do have a sizeable squad however, due to work commitments and injuries, we could not muster up enough [players] to field a side.

"[Also] there are just aren't enough players [who are] unattached to pull in as was once the case in the county.

"Hopefully we can re-group and have a decent second half to the season."

A disciplinary hearing will be held in the future to determine what punishment, if any, should be meted out to Swifts.

They've been up before the beaks on two occasions this season and their visits have cost them a combined total of £180 – covering both fines and referee fees – as well as three league points and expulsion from a cup competition.

It's a horrible position for him to be in.

As this will be their third hearing, the possibility of a harsher sentence that could see more points deducted than last time.

The ultimate sanction of being thrown out of the league itself could be applied – although it is more than likely that the CAFA bigwigs will try to ensure that another club does not bite the dust having lost Francis Street Club and FC Retro before this season began.

What is likely is that Wick Groats should receive the same level of compensation that Pentland got after Swifts failed to show up for their league fixture – three points for a win that did not require them to kick a ball.

Groats boss Kevin Anderson said: "I assume that we will get three points awarded to us like Pentland did.

"I do feel sorry for Nigel. I know what it's like chasing up players to get a subs bench together but he was having to do that to try and get a starting eleven.

"It's a horrible position for him to be in. Nigel was good enough to let me know in advance on the morning of the match that the game might not take place.

"By lunchtime, he texted me to confirm that they wouldn't be able to play. That at least gave me time to tell my players and get a training session arranged.

"I hope that Nigel can get things sorted because he puts a lot of effort into Swifts and I'm sure once they get their full quota of players back, they'll be back and results will improve."



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