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Teams from Dornoch and Dingwall seeking entry to north-west Sutherland amateur league

By Niall Harkiss

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Invergordon Social Club have announced their withdrawal from the association.
Invergordon Social Club have announced their withdrawal from the association.

A new amateur football team from Dingwall hopes to become a member North-west Sutherland league for "many years to come", its manager says – after it was refused membership in Inverness.

Members of the North-west Sutherland AFA are preparing to meet in Lairg this Sunday to agree upon the structure of this year's competitions and its participants.


The league, originally set up to serve teams in the north-west corner of Sutherland, has 'absorbed' several teams from Sutherland and Ross-shire in recent years.

Mallard FC, who were formed late last year, will be the latest – and furthest afield – from Ross-shire to seek entry.

The Dingwall club were unsuccessful in their application to join the ranks of the Inverness & District amateur league, which is facing a venue crisis amidst work to upgrade sports facilities at Bught Park in Inverness.

Liam Watson, co-manager of Mallard FC, along with Scott Gardiner, said: "We were told that no new teams were being accepted to the Inverness & District AFA as the pitches at Bught Park are having work carried out on them. Also, the changing rooms have been demolished.

"The North-west Sutherland have a good set up with their league, and having played myself in that league many years ago, I hope to have us accepted. We have been invited to the AGM this Sunday in Lairg, so we will see how that goes. Hopefully we can become a member for many years to come."

The new team, which has been fundraising and playing friendly matches since September last year, says it will play its games on the Jubilee Park pitch in Dingwall.

Former member club, Dornoch FC, has also been in touch seeking re-entry to the association.

Elsewhere, Invergordon Social Club, who last season finished second in League 2, has announced its withdrawal from the association.

Paul Sangwin, who coached the Invergordon side last year, says a busy summer schedule has put paid to its chances of playing, but holds hope that the club can make a return next year.

He said: "The decision has been made mainly for financial reasons, but also due to time available with us all having busy schedules.

"Not getting to play the play-off game to finish on a high was frustrating and also having to miss out on one of the cups due to lads beginning the North Caledonian season wasn't ideal, but it's a tight window for the games to happen.

"The amount of our lads that are now playing in the North Caledonian League currently is really pleasing and its one of the main reasons we were doing it.

"Hopefully it's just a year out for the club and a different decision will be made next season to keep summer football available in Invergordon."

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