Sunderland RCA reprieve, but Ryhope in the balance

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SUNDERLAND RCA have won a last-minute reprieve against relegation from the Ebac Northern League First Division – but Ryhope CW’s future still hangs in the balance.

At the annual meeting held at the Nissan Sports Centre, RCA proposed that they should remain in the top flight instead of Jarrow Roofing, who ended fourth top in Division Two, being promoted.

The decision was left to the clubs and 24 voted in the Wearsiders’ favour while 17 supported Jarrow Roofing’s promotion.

The result means that there will 23 clubs, one fewer than last season, in Division One.

Champions Darlington 1883 have moved to the Evo Stik League with Norton and Stockton Ancients and South Shields relegated. Champions Crook Town and third top Morpeth Town are promoted from Division Two.

Ryhope CW are designated as a relegated club from the Second Division to the Wearside League although they are appealing against the FA’s decision.

After 38 years in the Northern League, Horden CW are also relegated with Heaton Stannington (Northern Alliance) and Willington (Wearside League) promoted to the Second Division.

Secretary Tony Golightly reported that next season will start on Saturday, August 10. As is customary, the Cleator Cup will be played at Hillheads on Saturday, August 3, between Whitley Bay and Spennymoor Town.

Chairman Mike Amos said that the League, the second oldest in the world, will celebrate its 125th anniversary this year when several events are planned.

He particularly mentioned a scheme to allow youngsters under the age of 16 to gain entrance for £1.25.

Chester-le-Street stalwart Joe Burlison, who helped to form the club more than 40 years ago, was presented with a tankard in recognition of 25 years service to the management committee.

The following officers were elected: President George Courtney, Chairman Mike Amos, Secretary and Treasurer Tony Golightly, Registrations Secretary Dave Robinson, Referee Secretary Alan Powles, Management Committee Derek Brakewell, Joe Burlison, Graham Craggs, Steven Lawson, Ray Matthews, Brian Mulligan.

The draw for the first round the Brooks Mileson Memorial Cup resulted as follows: Stokesley SC v Markse United, Seaham Red Star v Crook Town, Consett v Chester-le-Street, Newton Aycliffe v Team Northumbria, Whitley Bay v Willington, West Auckland Town v Birtley Town, Norton and Stockton Ancients v Brandon United, Morpeth Town v RCA, Billingham Synthonia v Ashington, Washington v Jarrow Roofing, West Allotment Celtic v Ryton and Crawcrook Albion, North Shields v Shildon, Thornaby v Bedlington Terriers.