GMCL announce structure change for 2020 campaign
Monday 17th December 2018 @ 10:33 by Mark Phillip

GMCL – 2019 SET UP

Nearly half way from the end of the 2018 season until the start of the 2019 campaign the GMCL has published the set-up for the forthcoming summer and also indicated changes that will be put in place for 2020.  The 26 clubs in the Tameside; Glossop and Oldham areas now know who their opponents, and there have been some changes. The most notable are the disappearance of Hollinwood, following their problems in sourcing a ground; the decision of Saddleworth, following a reported exodus of players, to drop down two tiers to Division 3; and Ashton, having finished in the relegation places in Division 2B, avoiding the drop in order to accommodate the space created by the Hollinwood situation.  The structure also sees the merger of Springhead and Rochdale Catholic Club recognised and being placed in Division 3, and Thornham and Brooksbottom maintain Division 1 status despite finishing in the relegation places.  The league structure for the top three tiers is as follows:

Premier Division – Flixton; Prestwich; Woodbank; Woodhouses; Roe Green; Clifton; Denton St Lawrence; Egerton; Greenfield; Royton; Stand; Monton

Division 1A – Heywood; Denton West; Moorside; Swinton Moorside; Brooksbottom; Glossop; Flowery Field; Denton; Unsworth; Glodwick; Uppermill; Austerlands

Division 1B – Greenmount; Edgworth; Walshaw; Whalley Range; Bury; Heyside; Dukinfield; Astley & Tyldesley;Stayley; Thornham; Droylsden; Westleigh

Division 2A – Winton; Elton; Werneth; Shaw; Littleborough Lakeside; Glossop 2nd XI; Prestwich 2nd XI;Micklehurst; Elton Vale; East Lancs PM; Roe Green 2nd XI; Bury 2nd XI

Division 2B – Stretford; Edenfield; SW Manchester; Bolton Deane & Derby; Friarmere; Oldham; Wythenshawe; Greenfield 2nd XI; Whalley Range 2nd XI; Ashton; Denton West 2nd XI; Tottington St Johns

Elsewhere locally Saddleworth will be in Division 3 East together with Springhead, while Ashton Ladysmithremain in Division 4 East.  The new season starts on Saturday 21st April.

Looking ahead to 2020 the structure will see a unitary approach with a Premier Division; Championship and Divisions 1, 2 and 3, all of which will have 12 clubs.  Below those Divisions 4 and 5 will continue to operate on a geographical split as now, with two competitions at each level.  In order to achieve this there will be two clubs promoted to the Premier Division from each of Divisions 1A and 1B, replacing the four relegated clubs.  These will be in the Championship together with the eight clubs with the best records at Division 1 level.  The remaining 12 Division 1 level clubs will form the new 1st Division.  A similar process will happen to determine the new 2nd and 3rdDivision.  Whilst not a simple promotion and relegation format the new structure should provide plenty of incentive for all clubs to finish as high as possible.  Below the new 3rd Division there is less clarity about the way in which the new format will be put in place.

By Martin Frost