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Curtain to come down on North Lancashire and District Football League 

The last ever North Lancashire and District Football League affiliated game will take place tonight.

The Robert Hockham Senior Challenge Cup final will take place at Morecambe FC’s Mazuma Mobile Stadium between Marsh United’s first team and Scorton Saints - kick off is at 7pm (May 20).

It was confirmed in March that the historic local grassroots league would fold following the completion of the 2023/24 campaign, after over a century in existence.

The final ever league season began with 13 teams from 12 clubs but, for multiple reasons, decreased to nine as the season progressed and the remaining teams’ results against the departed or folded sides have been voided.

Marsh United’s first team won the final ever league campaign after winning 15 out of the 16 games.

They also won the Lawrie Postlethwaite Invitational Cup on May 9 after a 2-0 win over Caton United Colts.

The club have had representation in all four of the league’s cup finals, with the reserves team playing in the other two - the Robert Hockham Junior Challenge Cup and the Ashley Cross Fisher Remembrance Cup - which both ended in defeat for them.

Scorton Saints were formed last year and finished in sixth place in this season’s NL&DFL table. 

They are a club who encourage Christian men in the local area to play football together and be united in their shared religious beliefs. 

Marsh United’s first team manager Kris McMenamin and Scorton Saints coach Steve Hewitt spoke on this weekend’s Saturday Sport Show about the game and the league as a whole.

Speaking about the league title win, McMenamin said: “It’s been a really good year, with the club being in the league for pretty much as long as it’s been around, it’s quite fitting for us and the boys have done really club.

“I’m really proud of the lads and what we’ve achieved.”

As for Scorton’s season, Hewitt said: “If you look at the league table, it’s kind of in two halves. Marsh were top of the first half and we were top of the second.

“We had a bad result in the middle of November but since then we’ve been competitive in every game, with some really close matches.

“I don’t know for certain but I’d say our lads are the youngest in the league, but we have had a few older lads to help those players out. We’ve really enjoyed the season.”

McMenamin and Hewitt paid tribute to the clubs who have folded or left the league setup over the season, including Lancaster Boys Club, one of the local area’s oldest and most popular grassroots teams, who folded in March.

While it remains to be seen what other clubs currently in the NL&DFL are doing next season, Marsh United are hopeful that their two teams will be accepted into the Mid Lancashire Football League.

Meanwhile, Scorton Saints are confident they will enter the Westmorland Football League as they move to a new ground at Carnforth High School.

Looking ahead to the final, McMenamin said: “We got through the [Lawrie Postlethwaite Invitational Cup] final last Thursday without any injuries which is good.

“We’ve managed to keep a relatively small squad of 17 or 18 players and you want roughly 15 a week available which we’ve managed.

“The beauty of having two finals is that you can give most of your squad game time.”

As for Scorton Saints, Hewitt said: “We’re looking forward to it but [the buildup] has been a bit unusual.

“We played eight games in 23 days towards the end of the season, which was crazy, we didn’t cancel a single one.

“We were sometimes coming into games with 11 or 12 [available players] so it was a real hard slog.

“Now, we’ve not played for two weeks so we’ve had that gap which has given the lads a chance to pause.

“Two thirds of our team are currently on a football tour in Austria with SportsReach, they’re coming back tomorrow [May 19 at time of broadcast]!”

The opportunity of playing at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium is one to really relish.

Marsh United and McMenamin experienced that in their previous cup final and are looking forward to it again.

“The changing rooms and facilities are brilliant.

“The lads were going out onto the pitch before the game and they’ve got the sprinkler system going so the pitch is absolutely perfect - it made me want to drop a couple of the players and put myself in!

 

“We can’t thank Morecambe enough and the league for securing it.”

For Scorton Saints, it will be their first ever experience of both a cup final and playing at the Mazuma.

With a few of their players supporting the Shrimps, it will be a special occasion.

“A number of us, myself included, have watched Morecambe over the years so it’s going to be really good to actually be on the pitch playing, we’re really looking forward to it”, said Hewitt.

“We’ve got the home dressing room so let’s see what happens!”

Marsh United FC Firsts v Scorton Saints FC in the final ever North Lancashire and District Football League cup game kicks off at 7pm at the Mazuma Mobile Stadium.

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