No verdict expected until April on any restart of Lowland League
This newspaper understands that it is expected that no decision will be taken on whether or not to resume the coronavirus-delayed 2020-21 Lowland League – contested by Motherwell-based Caledonian Braves – until next month at the earliest.
Some clarity within minor senior Scottish football circles was given this week when the West of Scotland Football League – contested by local sides Bellshill Athletic and Thorniewood United – stated that its four divisions would be declared null and void if clubs were not allowed to resume full contact training by April 3, therefore allowing for the resumption of competitive fixtures no later than April 17.
But the Times and Speaker has learned that this decision was taken partly due to so many West clubs having played so few games this season when the campaign was postponed over two months ago, making any resumption impossible due to the challenge of trying to fit in several fixtures within a very short time period.
Conversely, Lowland League teams have generally played far more games – the benefit of artificial pitches or floodlighting – making ‘fixture cramming’ less of an issue.
The Lowland League has previously confirmed that – other than null and voiding – there are three other options which could allow the resumption of play in the 2020-21 campaign this spring.
Clubs could either play their full quota of matches – increasingly unlikely as more time passes – play half their league games and end the season, or play half their league games before splitting into a top and bottom half to determine final positions.
Caledonian Braves were 12th with 13 points from 14 games before minor Scottish football below the Championship was postponed in January due to the pandemic.
At West of Scotland League level, Bellshill Athletic were second in Conference A with 14 points from seven games before the coronavirus-enforced lay-off, with Thorniewood United third in Conference C with 10 points from five matches.
It remains to be seen if any of these divisions will resume for season 2020-21 or whether they’ll be off until August.