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[Title]Mid-season Report[/Title]
The Formation of the League
Following the unfortunate folding of the Wearside Combination League, there was a number a teams left without a league to play in. A Wearside League Division 2 was proposed that would incorporate these teams with applications for other teams to join. A number of meetings were held with Durham FA and all leagues that would be affected voiced their concerns and issues including the Durham Alliance League. As the new season approached and still no decision made a final meeting with Durham FA and other leagues a decision was made to form a new league and be called the Durham Alliance Combination Saturday Football League. Initially 23 clubs had applied to join and the league was looking to incorporate 2 divisions, however 4 clubs withdrew their applications leaving a league of 19 clubs and only 1 division. The clubs ranged from existing Durham Alliance and Wearside Combination League clubs as well as a number of new clubs.

What the Future Holds for the League and Clubs
The future looks bright……
The league is looking to expand next season to be able to have 2 divisions, this will mean better chance of lower league clubs to win some silverware.
There is still a chance of promotion and relegation to the Wearside League subject to ground approval, and decision from Durham FA with regard to the promotion and relegation.
More exposure for clubs with better relationships with local press.
Working together to develop grassroots football in the area to get more people playing.

This can only happen if we all work together
The Story So Far……..
Before the season started the league welcomed teams from the Durham Alliance League, Wearside Combination League, and some new clubs. Initially 23 clubs had applied to join the league meaning the league would be split into 2 divisions, however 4 clubs either withdrew their application or resigned before the season started leaving 19 teams to contest 1 division. Credit must go to all clubs as by the end of November the league still had 19 clubs playing. Unfortunately Whitburn FC resigned from the league. Some teams have struggled results wise but are still going strong and are able to field a team every week. The standard of football has been very good and this has shown in the County Cups with Hartlepool FC Reserves into semifinals of the Durham Minor Cup, and Coundon into the semifinals of the Durham County Trophy beat Wearside league team Spennymoor Reserves in the last round. Also credit must go to Sherburn WMC who were unlucky against Wearside league team Hartlepool FC in the quarter finals by the odd goal in 7.

Match Officials

Every game in the league is officiated by 3 officials who range from a level 7 – Junior County Referee to Level 5 - Senior County Referee, even had games where Level 4 Supply League Referees and Level 3 Contrib Referees have officiated. All referees are affiliated with Durham FA and must have been trained and passed an exam on the Laws of the Game. The league is a great platform for referees who want to achieve promotion due to working with assistants and the good standard of football being played. Referees who do seek promotion are assessed to see if they are suitable to referee at a higher level but club marks are important too, that is why when you score a referee judge them on the whole game rather than one or two decisions that may have gone against you. The league is quite lucky in the fact that 3 members of the management committee are or have been referees so they can offer advice to clubs and referees if needed.

Sunderland Hall Farm
On the 4th November Sunderland Hall Farm were playing at home to Bishop Auckland Reserves. Sunderland Hall Farm’s players all wore a poppy on their shirt as they took on Bishop Auckland Reserves and organized a collection on behalf of the Royal British Legion. Current and ex-servicemen were present the lay a wreath whilst The Last Post was expertly played. On behalf of the league I would like to congratulate Sunderland Hall Farm for doing this, it goes to show grassroots football does care so well done to all involved.
From the Management
Farms season so far is steady in the words of manager Lee Bogan!  I think we've acquitted ourselves very well and despite a terrible injury list we stayed unbeaten longer than any other team at the start of the season which saw us sit top for a spell, a run of 3 defeats in Sept that saw us go out the county cup threatened to derail the season but some key new signings lifted the team and the return to fitness of others has seen us suffer only 1 defeat in the 8 games since and we finish 2015 sitting in a respectable 3rd in the league and looking forward to pushing on in 2016 in what is a very competitive and enjoyable new league!!

Bishop Auckland Reserves
Bishop Auckland Reserves have made steady progress in the opening half of the season, holding their own in 5th place in the league thus far. Although there have been some disappointing results, there have been many more positives with an 8 match winning run through September/October perhaps being the most promising. Other than a 5-1 loss at Redcar, games have only been lost by single goals with the team playing very entertaining football. However, a defensive record of only conceding 19 (5 in 1 game) is perhaps the most promising factor from the early season results. The young team are hungry to improve and keep pace with the league leaders, with every game giving added experience to the team that can only prove beneficial over the next 6 months and indeed 2016/17 season.

Sherburn Village WMC

On Saturday 25th September Sherburn Village WMC FC had a trip to Catterick to visit the Light Dragoons North East Tank Regiment. The team and a group of supporters were treated to a tour of the camp with visits to the officer’s mess, the sergeant’s mess and a display of small weapons. In a friendly football match Sherburn came out on top in a competitive, well spirited match with a 4-0 win. Goals came from Andrew Hope, Chris Brown 2 and Ben Reed it is intended that this will be the first of a series of annual events to forge links between the regiment and the football club. Chairman of the football club, Lee Jordan said, “It was a very successful day. The players were a credit to the club, the Durham Alliance Combination League and Durham FA.”
Sherburn Village WMC FC with sponsor Kristian Lloyd of KTL Plumbing & Heating Services
From the Management
We started the season with a new sponsor, a new strip and an extended management team. Through the early weeks of the season we had a hectic stat with fixtures coming thick and fast. There has been the usual turnover of players, some have realized (or been told by the women in their lives) that Saturday football is not for them. We have the league’s top goal scorer and our seven goalkeepers have taken turns in keeping the score down at the other end. The weather has played a big part in our season thus far. To combat this, we have used two additional “home” pitches to try to get games played. We are continuing to create interest in our players from Northern League clubs with five of our squad regularly unavailable due to commitments with their Northern League teams. As the season progresses, we are looking to improve off and on the pitch to make the club a one that the people of Sherburn Village can feel proud.

Coundon & Leeholme Youth
I am not sure whether you know that Coundon have been well known for running football teams for many years. There have been many very good footballers playing in Coundon teams. Our manager at present took a team from Coundon all over the country to play in the Carlsberg Sunday FA cup, I think this is correct, and went on to win it in a final played at Anfield in Liverpool. We got beat in another final in the same by Hetton Lyons at Anfield. There is a lot of pride in the village concerning football. We believe we have a good squad who will beat most teams when playing at their best and we appreciate there are some teams struggling a little this season but there are also some good sides. We hope to do well this season and contribute to making the Durham Alliance Combination League proud of the teams playing in it. Unfortunately the weather is causing problems at the moment.

Redcar Town

In common with a few other sides competing in the DACL we originally applied to join the Wearside Development Division but when that did not materialize and the DACL was formed we decided to go with it. After an indifferent start which saw us drop 9 points in our opening 9 games in August we have won 8 in a row and are currently in 4th place with games in hand over all the teams above us. The recent bad weather has seen us not play a single League game since our win over the Oddies on October 31st which will mean a tough second half of the season as we try and catch up with the backlog of games. The second half of the season is the business part of the season with Silverware to be won but with some tough games ahead we take nothing for granted.

Durham City Reserves
Durham City Res was formed when a number of players from the defunct Durham under 23s and Shildon Reserves amalgamated and were joined by a number of very good young players from Durham and surrounding areas. We started the season with a convincing victory at Sunderland Guide Post but found what the league was all about when we beaten at Coundon and Wheatley Hill. Since then we have only lost one game at Redcar but now with Durham first team losing most of their first team more and more of the reserves are being drafted into the first team. Staying top of the league is a tall order but we will just keep plugging away.

Sunderland University FC
After a difficult start to the season we are slowly getting to grips with the league in our debut season on the Durham Alliance League. We have showed plenty of promise in training and in patches during games, but now we just need to transfer that into performances over 90 minutes. In 2016 we hope push on and climb up the table and show what we are capable of. We have a young squad but the experience they gained during the first half of the season will definitely stand them in good stead for the remainder of the fixtures.

Washington AFC
Washington AFC have entered their first season with Durham alliance for 2015/16. The team came together two weeks before the season commenced with a group of players who wanted to play. The team and club have overcome many obstacles since August but continue to move forward.  With the hard work of Craig Robinson managing the team, being supported by John Lines and Mark Wallis the team have made massive strides on the field improving results.
While the team continue to develop, it will not be long before the players and coaches gain their first win due to their attitude and work ethics to gain a result.    

Sunderland Oddies FC
Our season started poorly with management taking full responsibility for bringing in far too many new faces and even trying to change our in your face never say die playing style that had brought us 2 county cups and 4 other trophies in the previous 2 seasons. After a few home truths were dished out things began to settle down and we have started to put in some terrific performances lately with the defeat to Redcar town the only blip since September.   With a couple of players returning from long term injuries we hope to push on and be challenging for the title towards the end of the season.
Best performance beating Coundon 2-1 Worst performance losing to guide post 3-2 Player of the first half of the season Michael Bulmer

Brandon United Development FC
Formally Brandon United reserves, we still play from the Welfare Ground home of Brandon United. Team was formed by Gary Tindale with mainly a group of young local lads who just wanted to play football and have developed through playing for junior sides. A majority of players have played with each other throughout the years and are good friends. The main aim at this point of the season is to challenge for top half, but more importantly develop the players into good footballers and hopefully for them to move into the northern league.

Blackhill & Ebchester FC
Blackhill and Ebchester entered their 50th campaign and they did this going into their new facilities. Now located in the new Consett Academy with a newly laid 4G pitch this was an exciting time for the club off the pitch. Due to having many players away they started the season 2 weeks later than most clubs; away to Washington AFC. Things got off to a promising start with a good 5-0 win. Their first game in their new home was to Killingworth YPC which ended in a 2-1 defeat. Over the coming weeks Blackhill and Ebchester’s performances were up and down, often struggling to field full strength teams. During the month of September Blackhill and Ebchester were involved in various tight matches, often ending on the wrong end of the result; their sole win being away to Brandon Development FC. October saw them participate in the Durham County Trophy exiting at the first hurdle against a strong Hartlepool Town FC from the Wearside league, again putting in a very strong performance until the away sides quality came out on top, going down to 4 late goals. In the league things picked up, winning 3 out of 4 games and their only defeat coming against league pace setters Durham City Reserves, scoring an impressive 36 goals in the 4 games. The month of November found fixtures starting to become affected by the weather and Blackhill and Ebchester only managed 3 fixtures – 2 tight affairs against Hartlepool Town Reserves; which they were unfortunate to lose both and 1 against Washington AFC; finding themselves 9-3 winners.

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