Selby are the new leaders, but win highlights need for reform

Selby Town 11-2 East Hull

Selby Town attacker Casey Stewart

Casey Stewart got four, Liam Flanagan moved closer to 100 with a hat-trick, Josh Walker provided a brace and there were singles from Josh Rogerson and Sam Cable as Selby Town flew to the top of the Toolstation NCEL Division One table.

There was no Danny Frost, not that Selby needed him for the walk in the park.

It was always going to be a cricket score and about how many. Selby missed that many chances, it is fair to say the opportunity to overtake Tadcaster’s 1997 13-0 demolition of Bildworth as the league’s record score was spurned.

Maybe if the referee had not felt sorry for East Hull at 5-0 and not ridiculously sent off star right-back Rogerson for ‘denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity’ after awarding a nonsensical penalty 30 minutes in, the score-line may have been greater with Selby keeping 11 men on the field. Quite how a 11-2 annihilation can have controversial elements is bizarre in itself.

Everyone in the ground could see it was never a spot kick and the significance of the red card which rules out Rogerson out of the crunch clash at rivals Campion next week was not lost on the 348 angry Selby fans who barracked the official despite their team’s lead. 

The Robins should have had a second penalty in first half stoppage time, but the referee chose to blow for half-time instead, with Selby leading 7-2.

Hull, who were also reduced to ten men in the second half, only got out of their own half four times, and even their second goal through Iuri Braz was controversial as the ball appeared to go out of play in the build-up.

The result keeps Selby well on course to return to the NCEL’s top flight for the first time since 2012, but the score-line highlights why there needs to be reform in the way clubs are promoted from Step 7.

Double-figure results seemed a thing of the past when the likes of Appleby Frodingham and Lincoln Moorlands Railway departed the league. 

East Hull, under the guise of East Yorkshire Carnegie, actually did well in their first two seasons under the astute management of Jonny Ricardo and then Leon Sewell.

But now they sit with one point from 24 games with a goal-difference of -106 after conceding double figures for the third time in four games.

There is a strong argument to say the club should not have been promoted into the NCEL in the first place in 2017. Having formed in 2016, they finished fifth in the Humber Premier League and yet despite having no history and no real infrastructure (long term fans, players, management, committee) they joined a league containing clubs of vast experience.

Similar happened with Hull United who finished second and were propelled into the NCEL by the FA. That experiment went well…

The drawbridge from Step 7 must be pulled up and strict criteria must be put in place for clubs wanting to progress.

The North West Counties, presumedly because they struggled to fill their new Division, have allowed anyone in from Step 7 in recent years, regardless of whether their ground is good enough. Several NWC grounds clearly don’t meet the required standard for Step 6. 

At least with East Hull, Dunswell Park is more than good enough.

Clubs without suitable facilities have even been allowed to ground-share to win promotion and then have been plunged into a crisis when they have been booted out of their ground-share agreement which could have been foreseen right at the start

All these clubs without suitable grounds, no infrastructure, plus the new clubs who suddenly appear and want to join the NCEL after just one season and potentially replace a long-standing club simply struggling to find the correct formula with limited resources.

Harrogate Railway, like so many other long-standing pyramid clubs have ploughed thousands into their grounds in recent years when the FA have forced numerous clubs to plough thousands in to fulfil changes to ground-grading regulations, face the prospect of falling into Step 7. Unless long-standing clubs genuinely want to accept relegation to Step 7 they should be protected.

It will be a number of weeks before relegation is confirmed for Hull, but the writing is on the wall. 

Hull were chasing shadows as Selby carved them open continuously. The teams will meet again in March and unless Hull have an influx of new players with proven NCEL players, the chance to break the record will be there again.

2 thoughts on “Selby are the new leaders, but win highlights need for reform

  1. Whilst it’s never good to see results like this occur it can happen at any level – Southampton shipped 9 in the premier league.
    For me the drawbridge should be left in place. There are plenty of well organised clubs at level 7 who aspire to move up – Shelley and Golcar in Huddersfield for example. There is a gap between level 7 and level 6 but to my eyes it is not massive between top and bottom of those leagues. It makes more sense to strengthen level 7 so that for clubs going up or down the transition is smoother.
    It’s likely that the opposite is going to happen with officials being taken from level 7 to reduce the shortfall at 6 – particularly short sighted if that does happen.
    Part of the answer is well secured and concrete deals around ground share and strict enforcement of sensible ground standards to avoid some of the situations highlighted.
    It would also help if someone looked at the level of money clubs are throwing around which distorts and probably isn’t sustainable – that also includes level 7 !

  2. I don’t think East Hull can be blamed exclusively for double-figure scorelines not being a thing of the past. I can think of a few in the last couple of years which “established” NCEL clubs were on the end of.

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