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North Caledonian League to have two-tier format for next campaign


By Alan Hendry

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Thurso's Asa Sinclair punches clear from Halkirk United's James Mackintosh during a 1-1 draw in January. Picture: James Gunn
Thurso's Asa Sinclair punches clear from Halkirk United's James Mackintosh during a 1-1 draw in January. Picture: James Gunn

Halkirk United and Thurso will play in the top division of a two-tier North Caledonian League that is being put in place for 2020/21.

The new format will apply for one season only as a result of the impact caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the uncertainty over when the campaign can start.

The change was agreed at Sunday's annual general meeting of the league management committee. At the same time, three new clubs were accepted into the league – Loch Ness, Scourie and Nairn County “A” (consisting mostly of young players from the Highland League outfit).

Macleod and MacCallum North Caledonian League Division One will consist of the leading six sides from 2019/20. Along with Thurso (who were second when the season was halted) and Halkirk United (who were sixth), the top flight will include Golspie Sutherland, Invergordon, Orkney and St Duthus.

Division Two will feature the returning Alness United as well as Bonar Bridge, Bunillidh Thistle, Inverness Athletic, Loch Ness, Nairn County “A” and Scourie.

It was agreed that the league would return to one division for 2021/22.

The management committee will reconvene at a later date to add cup competitions to the schedule if the calendar allows it.

League secretary Sandy Stephen said: "The two-tiered league structure and the reduced schedule this presents us with gives a variety of options, depending on when the season can get going. If we do finish the league campaign early, we have the option of scheduling one of our cup competitions to add to the calendar.

"Moreover, having a schedule to work towards now allows our member clubs to plan financially during this difficult time."


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