Mid Essex League - 2020 Review
As 2019 drew to a close we looked forward to the prospect of an exciting close to the 2019-2020 season. No one could have predicted the final outcome.
The weather played a part in January with a number of games postponed
Silver End were top of the Premier Division at the end of 2019 unbeaten 6 points clear of their closest rivals. As we entered January 2020, their rivals gained some hope as in the first game of the New Year they had to come from behind to salvage a point at Sandon Royals. Brentwood United secured two crucial victories in the month to maintain the pressure but on the last Saturday of the month also dropped points drawing 1-1 at Sandon Royals.
Silver End secured their place in the Premier Division League Cup Final with a hard fought 1-0 victory over Mayland Village
Division One had been depleted by withdrawals only 5 League games were possible during the month
In Division Two White Notley were top at the start of the year with Pitsea Town in hot pursuit and having games in hand. Pitsea handed out a 5-1 thumping to the League leaders at the end of the month
Not much changed in Division Three as Brentwood Athletic Res. continued to dominate the Division with Haver Town Res. their closet rivals, although Basildon Sporting Village had games in hand and went through the month unbeaten.
Dunmow United and Springfield were neck and neck at the top of Division Four. Dunmow continued their winning ways with 3 victories netting 20 goals in the process. Springfield matched their title rivals but only managed to net 17 goals in their 3 wins.
Both Hutton and Brentwood Athletic Res. made their way through to the Saturday Junior Trophy Semi Finals. with hard fought victories over Gosfield Res and Upshire respectively. Writtle Res. missing out after losing to Cowley Community from the Essex Alliance League
Again the weather disrupted the fixtures during the month.
The Premier Division saw very little action during the month. Silver End defeated CT66 3-1 a crucial victory. Brentwood United suffered defeat to Haver Town on the 22nd of the month which strengthened Silver End's position at the top.
Harold Hill secured their place in the Premier Division League Cup Final scheduled for Good Friday after comfortably beating Burnham Ramblers.
Division One only saw 6 League games in the month. Although Rayleigh Town, Writtle Res, Notley and Stock had managed to secure their progress through to the Cup Semi Finals.
In Division Two Pitsea Town lost at Felsted Rovers on the first Saturday of the month , they bounced back the following week thumping in 9 against South Woodham, but three victories in the month saw White Notley hold on to top spot
Brentwood Athletic Res. went unbeaten through the month, and a crucial victory over rivals Basildon Sporting Village strengthened their position at the top of the table.
Springfield defeated Dunmow Town in the first week of the month, and suffered a further loss later in the month at Kelvedon Social. In between they netted 17 against Beaulieu Park Res. Springfield were now the form team of the Division.
Cup action saw three teams Silver End, Harold Hill and Brentwood Athletic advance to the semi finals of the Dave Strachan Knockout Cup. White Notley and Kenson advanced to the final of the Division Two League Cup. In Division Four Laindon and Great Baddow would fight out the first League Cup Final in late March.
Brentwood Athletic Res. were denied a final spot in the Junior Trophy going down 2-0 to Cowley Community
Our season was brought to a sudden end. We played on the 7th March but never kicked another football in the 2019-2020 season with the Covid pandemic at its height and concern for the health and well being of all.
Only 14 games were played on that last weekend, the stand out achievement being Hutton's victory against Sungate that placed them in the Junior Trophy final, but that never took place.
And so the season was voided
April - August
No competitive football was played during these months as we all tried to stay safe.
Friendly football was able to resume in August which allowed the Competition to start it's preparations for the 2020-2021 season.
We said a sad farewell to Bob Hurrell who after 20 seasons as Referee Appointment Secretary hung up his whistle. We welcomed George Lowe as our new Referee Appointment Secretary a great acquisition for the Competition
Andy Chaplin was appointed Chairman of the Essex County Football Association in July
The Competition however welcomed 17 new teams to the Competition, this being achieved following great collaboration with the Olympian League, allowed us to introduce a Development Division.
Not knowing what the season would bring the competition expanded to 7 divisions.
Innovation would be the key to a successful season and with teams not having kicked a ball in months and with the number of new teams on board we decided to open the season with the Dave Strachan and Patrons Plate Competitions on Group basis.
Teams from the Premier to Division Two competing in the Dave Starchan and Teams from Divisions 3 to the Development in the Patrons Plate.
The competition got off the a great start and the results from these fixtures would give us the basis to determine the League set up.
Harold Hill, CT66, Sandon Royals, Hutton, Brentwood Athletic Res,, Basildon Wanderers, White Notley and Boreham all topped their Group's in the Strachan
Whilst in the Patrons Plate, Harold Hill Res, Broomfield, Power Town, Great Baddow, Galleywood, Benfleet, Writtle A and Debden Park achieved the same feat in the Patrons Plate
Having opened the season and seeing very little adjustment in Divisions necessary we embarked on the League programme.
CT66 and Haver Town started strongly but Harold Hill went through the month unbeaten
in the Premier Division
Division One saw Islanders, White Notley, Harold Wood and Hutton all have good strong starts
Long time members Boreham had a good start in Division Two with Basildon Wanderers hot on their heels
Haver Town Res. started where they left off in season 19-20 by being the team to watch in Division Three alongside Writtle Res. whilst in Division Four United Chelmsford Churches, Dunmow United and Emerson United all had good starts.
In Division Five Harold Hill had an unbeaten start whilst new boys Southend Rangers looked to be a force to be reckoned with. In the newly formed Development Division Benfleet appeared to be the stand out team
Once again the UK Government announced a period of lockdown and so that meant that Grass Roots football was once again suspended
We got back going again on the 5th December, but only had two weeks of football when Essex and Greater London entered tier 3 on the 14th December, leaving it impossible to schedule a full fixture list on the 19th.
We managed 12 games on the 19th December
On that same day we were told we would be heading into tier 4 and that is where we are
Grass Roots football is again suspended and we await the Government announcement on the 30th December
We have scheduled a resume on the 9th January 2021..............
Update - 23rd December 2020
FA Update - 19/12/2020
Football for adult participants across ‘non-elite’ football in Tier 4 areas is not permitted, including all training and fixtures. This immediate advice in place from 20 December applies to the following aspects of ‘non-elite’ football in England in Tier 4 areas:
* Steps three to six of the National League System (NLS)
* Tiers three to seven of the Women’s Football Pyramid
* Regional NLS feeder leagues
* Barclays FA WSL Academy League (unless under elite guidance)
* Indoor and outdoor adult grassroots football
* Vitality Women’s FA Cup (which is currently classified as ‘non-elite’ at this stage in the competition)
The Government’s Tier 4 guidance states organised outdoor sport for under-18s and disabled people will be allowed, while there are exemptions for FA Girls' Regional Talent Clubs. The Government’s guidelines on travel between tiers should be adhered to. These players cannot move in or out of Tier 4 to train or play.
The Government’s Tier 4 guidance confirms that elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) are able to compete and train.
If there are any further updates from Government, The FA will communicate these in due course.
Updates 7th December 2020
Full guidance on the new FA Full-Time Sign-In changes, including troubleshooting, can be found here:
Return to football
The FA have issued updated guidance for ‘non-elite’ football in England following confirmation from the UK Government that organised sports can return from Wednesday 2 December.
Update 6th November 2020
LATEST FIXTURE INFORMATION
We await the latest update from the UK Government this week but all being well Fixtures will re-commence from the 5th December 2020.
The Fixture Secretary has scheduled these and are being added to Full Time and the relevant emails being sent out
The Essex County F.A have confirmed that the next round of the Junior Trophy and Junior Cup will take place on 9th January 2021
Update 6th November 2020
LATEST LEAGUE UPDATE
Since the early summer Grassroots / Non Elite Football has been on a journey to gradually bring back football. Careful steps have been taken by the FA, in conjunction with the Government, that allowed the gradual phased return of grassroots football and opened the pathway for football to return in a competitive format for the 20/21 season in a covid secure way, by adhering to the FA guidance. Since early September fixtures and competitive football have been taking place across Essex. This continued during the introduction of the Local Tiered Levels of restriction when the majority of Essex was under a Tier 2 Level.
However, following the UK Government’s announcement on new national Covid-19 restrictions that will be in place from Thursday 5 November 2020 until Wednesday 2 December 2020, it has been confirmed by the FA, following consultation Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport [DCMS], the impact on ‘non elite’ football in England will include the suspension of the following during this period:
· All fixtures and training for Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS];
· All fixtures and training for Tiers 3-7 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP];
· All fixtures and training for the Regional NLS Feeder Leagues;
· All fixtures and training for The Barclays FA WSL Academy League;
· All fixtures and training for FA Girls Regional Talent Clubs;
· All fixtures and training for indoor and outdoor youth and adult grassroots football.
This information has been shared widely on the ECFA website and social media channels but the latest guidance and information including an FA FAQ document can be accessed at https://www.essexfa.com/about/coronavirus
This is naturally disappointing, but as a collective game we need to support the Government position and play our part in the ongoing fight to prevent the spread of the virus and protect the NHS.
This is the latest step on the football journey through the 20/21 season. Across all stakeholders in the game there has been an overwhelming drive and determination to bring the game of football back to a position where it can serve local communities. This has been because of the commitment, passion and hard work of the thousands of volunteers and stakeholders across the game including clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers and facility providers.
Update 19th October 2020
COVID - UPDATE
Please see latest Essex FA announcement on Facebook:
Following the UK Government’s latest announcement regarding the introduction of local Covid-19 alert levels, The FA's guidance for grassroots football, which includes NLS Feeder Leagues (Step 7) and below of the Men’s Football Pyramid and Tier 7 and below of the Women’s Football Pyramid, remains the same.
It is extremely important that clubs, players, coaches, match officials, league officials, volunteers, parents, carers, and facility providers continue to strictly follow this guidance as well as the UK Government’s latest guidance on Covid-19. Find out more: www.essexfa.com/about/coronavirus.
Update 28th September 2020
Over the summer period careful steps were taken by the FA, in conjunction with the Government, that allowed the gradual phased return of grassroots football, that opened the pathway for football to return in a competitive format for the 20/21 season in a covid secure way by adhering to the FA guidance. Grassroots football across Essex has responded very positively with more than 4600 teams affiliated to participate and with the vast majority of League competitions now underway, highlighting the excellent work of all the volunteers across the game to get to this position.
As from the 24th September Clubs and facility providers need to support the NHS Test and Trace system. This means ensuring information for all training sessions and matches is collected by one of the methods set out below:
· Each venue needs to register for an official NHS QR code and display the official NHS QR poster, which came into effect from Thursday 24 September to help NHS Test and Trace. This can be done here https://www.gov.uk/create-coronavirus-qr-poster Where clubs are utilising a venue from a facility provider discussion needs to take place with the facility provider as to who will produce the NHS QR code.
· In addition, there is an NHS Covid-19 app, which has a feature that allows users to quickly and easily ‘check in’ to your venue by scanning the code. The information stays on the user’s phone. In England, you do not have to ask people who choose to ‘check in’ using the official NHS QR code to provide their contact details at your site.
· If there is an outbreak associated with a venue, a message will be sent to the relevant app users with the necessary public health advice.
· For those who do not have a smart phone, or do not have the relevant software to access the QR code scan (for example), an alternative method should be available on site, such as a manual process to collect the relevant contact information to support Test and Trace. This information should be collected, processed and stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and GDPR principles for 21 days. It should be used only for the purpose of NHS Test and Trace and, where requested to share with the NHS for Test and Trace purposes, the shared information should relate only to the match or training in which the player or supporter tested positive.
The current landscape for both football and wider society continues to evolve in the current covid climate and by adhering to and supporting these measures football is helping to ensure that the game is best placed to continue. The role grassroots football is playing in supporting thousands of players to get access to vital activity levels and supporting healthy lifestyle with positive physical and mental wellbeing, is of huge value to each local community
All Essex FA staff remain fully contactable and available for support. If you wish to discuss any of the above in more detail, or require support in specific areas, then please contact the Essex FA Development, Coach Education, Refereeing, Safeguarding or Governance Teams via E-Mail or telephone.
Update 23rd September 2020
We wanted to draw your attention to the Government’s recently
updated guidance on test and trace, and specifically a new
section on the use of QR codes. This has important implications
for you and requires action.
By maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors, and
displaying an official NHS QR poster, you will help NHS Test and
Trace to identify and notify people who may have been exposed
o the virus.
official NHS QR poster from 24 September 2020.
The NHS COVID-19 app has a feature that allows users to quickly
and easily ‘check in’ to your venue by scanning the code. The
information stays on the user’s phone. In England, you do not
have to ask people who choose to ‘check in’ using the official
NHS QR code to provide their contact details. If there is an
outbreak associated with a venue, a message will be sent to the
relevant app users with the necessary public health advice.
This will help to avoid the reintroduction of lockdown measures and support the country to return to, and maintain, a more normal way of life.
The relevant settings this applies to are:
- clubs providing team sporting activities
- facilities for use by elite and professional sportspeople (including sports stadia)
- indoor sport and leisure centres
- cafes, including workplace canteens
- bars, including bars in hotels or members’ clubs
Please note this updated guidance comes into effect from the 24th September and failure to comply will result in Government issued fines.
Update 14th September 2020
WHOLE GAME SYSTEM - PLAYER REGISTRATION
We know that some of our clubs have struggled with registering
players as a result of the inaccessibility of WGS Player Registration.
However, every team has sufficient WGS registered players to field
teams for up and coming fixtures.
Therefore the MEFL will continue with the existing process.
Our Registration Officer, Steve Carter, has helped Clubs where he
can and will continue to do so.
The procedure for signing on the day has been notified to you already.
It is expected the issues with WGS will be sorted once other leagues
have started their seasons and the amount of activity slows down.
Officers of the League know how difficult this has been with WGS
because we also have to use the system and wait for hours to get in.
We have expressed our concern to the FA.
It looks like the system is more stable at the current time.
COVID UPDATE - 13th September 2020
Hope fully the details shared here have been received by you direct from the FA.
Key message is that we must ALL adhere to the guidelines published & accessible via the message below. Should this not be the case there is the real risk that grassroots football may be subject to more restrictive controls.
Please ensure that you & club Covid Officers etc refresh their knowledge of the guidelines & ensure all involved in your games comply with the requirements.
The UK Government has confirmed that organised sports, which include Steps 3-6 of the National League System [NLS], Tiers 3-6 of the Women’s Football Pyramid [WFP] and outdoor grassroots football, can continue as an exemption to its latest planned measures in response to Covid-19.
Re-starting the game at these levels has been a significant challenge for everyone involved and we must acknowledge the hard work, passion and commitment of the football family. However, it is vital that we all adhere to these guidelines and ensure it can continue in a safe and secure way.
Supporters are the life force of our national sport and The FA hopes to see them return in greater numbers across the country as soon as it is safe and possible. However, we must continue to work together and play our part by following all the relevant guidelines if this is to become a reality.
The FA remains in consultation with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, leagues and competitions and will provide an update on the further returns of supporters – including scheduled pilot events – in due course.