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Return for Embo as north-west Sutherland amateur teams opt for one-division set up

By Niall Harkiss

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Embo are set to make their return to the north-west Sutherland amateur ranks. Photo: Niall Harkiss
Embo are set to make their return to the north-west Sutherland amateur ranks. Photo: Niall Harkiss

Members of the North-west Sutherland Amateur Football Association met in Lairg on Sunday morning to agree upon the structure of the 2024 season.

A total of 11 teams were represented at the get-together, which was presided over by association chair, Ally Macleod.

Mr Macleod was re-elected as chair for the new campaign, alongside Hugh Morrison as league secretary.

Members agreed to form a single league for 2024, opting to move away from last year's two-division format.

It was determined that teams shall play each other once before a split occurs, dividing the league in two for a final round of games.

Existing member clubs Brora Wanderers, Golspie Stafford, Helmsdale United, Inver, Lairg Rovers, Lochbroom, Lochinver, Melvich and Tain Thistle were all confirmed as participants for this year.

Last season's League 2 runners-up Invergordon Social Club opted not to enter a team for the 2024 season.

The association also welcomed Embo back into the fold, while Dornoch City, who had been optimistic about returning, decided not to follow through with an application.

Elsewhere, there was disappointment for applicant Mallard FC, a new club from Dingwall, after teams voted to refuse their entry to the league.

Reasons of excessive travel were deemed the main barrier to their involvement, leaving the Ross-shire side to go back to the drawing board.

Association secretary Hugh Morrison said: "We are delighted to see Embo back in as they have always been a good supporter of this league and enjoy playing in it and have made plenty of friends over the years on there travels. Hopefully they have a good group of youngsters coming through.

"We had a long discussion on the application form the Mallard to join the league but in the end teams felt it was just a wee bit too far and had to draw a line somewhere. We have agreed to allow them to enter the cups to give them some sort of football, and hopefully it will be a start for them to progress to a league next season that will be within their own vicinity."

A date of April 6 has been pencilled in for the start of the season, which will begin with the first round of the Stafford Cup.

It is anticipated that the Mackay Cup will be played for at the end of the season.

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