Squirrell confident Grundisburgh can still challenge for title

GRUNDISBURGH joint manager Micky Squirrell is confident his side can still challenge for the Kingsley Healthcare SIL Senior Division title despite facing a six-point deduction for fielding an ineligible player.

Grundisburgh contacted league officials after it emerged that club captain Robbie Parker, who came on as a substitute for five minutes in the 3-1 win at home to Leiston St Margarets on September 3, was not eligible.

Parker, who has played for the village side for more than ten years, missed most of last season after undergoing a knee operation, and is working his way back to full fitness.

Although Parker had signed his registration form this had never seen sent to the league, and Squirrell said that the oversight came to light when he spoke to his club secretary on the Monday following the game to put the team sheet through.

Squirrell said: “Although he signed the form in the summer it is mine and (joint manager) Kev Cunningham’s fault that we forgot to check he was signed on with the league.

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“We were not trying to cheat and accept we have done wrong. It is frustrating, but we have to move on. We told the players what had happened before last Saturday’s game at Woodbridge Athletic, and they went out with the right attitude and won 1-0. I think they did it for me and Kev.”

Keith Norton, chairman of the SIL, said: “The matter has been dealt with by the management committee and, as per the league’s rules, they have been fined �30 and had six points deducted.

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“While we are sure Grundisburgh were not trying to gain an advantage, we are unable to look at individual cases and decide whether they have done something wrong with intent or not.

“We have got great sympathy with anyone who falls in that category; they knew he had signed the form, but the form had not gone in to the league.”

Norton added that the Grundisburgh versus Leiston St Margarets match could be replayed if either team are involved in a relegation position towards the end of the season.

Although the six points - three for playing an ineligible player and three for winning the game - have yet to be taken off the official league table, reigning champions Grundisburgh have now accrued just three points from four games played.

Squirrell, who said the club accepted they were in the wrong and would not be appealing, continued: “We only lost four games all last season, and we have already lost once this season, so technically we have now lost three times already.

“We are lucky that it has happened at this stage of the season, rather than later. It will be tough for us to win the league, but we now need to forget about this and I am confident we will give it a good go.

“We have got Framlingham at home on Saturday and then Achilles at home the following week, so we will see where we are after that.”

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