New league to help Sunday football continue
THERE will be a new adult Sunday football league in Bristol and the surrounding areas next season, following the amalgamation of two of the long-term competitions in the city.
The Bristol Premier Sunday League has been formed by merging the Bristol & District Sunday League with the Bristol & Wessex League and officers of both will be serving on the new committee.
This innovative venture is designed not only to address the decline in adult Sunday football, but to also enhance the standing and prestige of playing the 11-a-side game.
The Bristol & District League was the original Sunday competition in the Bristol area, having been formed in 1966 with the support of The Post sports reporters Robin Perry and David Hughes, who led a campaign to Bristol City council allowing park pitches to be used on Sunday mornings.
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The District League, chaired for 34 years by Sid Rummins, later grew to eight divisions and was so popular that there were more applications than vacancies each season.
As a result, the Bristol Friendly League was introduced in 1977 by the present Wessex League president Roger Wilkins to accommodate any additional new teams.
By coincidence, Dave Tanner, pictured, the District Sunday chairman, was associated with Warwick, who were founder members of the Friendly League when Wilkins was at the helm. Now the wheel has turned full circle and the pair will be working together again in the new league.
Tanner and Wessex League secretary Gerry Witcombe discussed the merits of merging and organised talks between the two leagues which has progressed to the new set up, with headquarters at Bristol Manor Farm. Tanner will remain as chairman with Tony Brown as vice-chairman while other members of the committee include Andrew Wait (secretary), Steve Densley (fixtures secretary) Pat Burge (treasurer), Stuart Evans, Brendan Slade, Bob Trow, Pete Burge, Paul Waring, Helen Burdett, Chris Strawford, Gerry Witcombe, Jeff Barnes.
The District Sunday League president Perry will continue in the same role with the support of Roger Wilkins, while Marina Dolman and Hughes remain as vice-presidents.
Annual presentation evenings will continue to be hosted at Bristol City and Bristol Rovers, while cup finals will be staged at other top local grounds and a league representative team may be re-introduced.
"The future looks bright for existing clubs and new teams so sponsors may wish to be involved with the best of Sunday football in Bristol," said chairman Tanner.