YOU only have to find 11 players, but for many teams that is becoming increasingly difficult.

A largish number of local football clubs were forced to cancel fixtures last season as they could not raise a team.

Now cricket is suffering as badly, with teams being forced to forfeit fixtures week after week.

Last weekend there were eight instances in the Thames Valley League – and that is becoming an increasing concern to the league’s officials.

Secretary Matthew Stevenson admitted: “The sudden and extraordinary loss of playing strength at several of our member clubs this season has caused considerable disruption and dissatisfaction across the league.

“With the league expansion occurring, there is an opportunity to re-balance the divisions for next season, but this does not help the present situation. We hope that we will not see any further withdrawals this season.”

Sadly, I would not bet against that happening.

Windsor recently withdrew their 3rds from Division 5a, but kept in their 4th team despite the fact they failed to fulfil any of their opening four Division 8a fixtures.

  • LAST month this column recalled the days when Brendan Rogers, manager of Scottish champions Celtic, turned out for Reading Borough in the Reading Sunday League in 1994.

My piece rung a ball with Dave Marshall, who was the league’s cup competitions secretary at the time and he has since found the programme for the Treasurer’s Cup final played at Coombe Park, Pangbourne, in May 1993.

Rogers wore the No. 7 shirt for Whitchurch Youth as they defeated local rivals AFC Whitchurch.

  • PARENTS were out on force at Palmer Park last Saturday to cheer on their youngsters competing in the Berkshire Schools’ athletic championships.

They did it from the stand or away from the track.

But one official remembers the day when Jeffrey Archer, the former MP who is now a best-selling author, ran alongside the track urging on his son during a race. Such behaviour would now be frowned upon.