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Westmorland Football League announces new arrivals for new season

Hest Bank United. Photo by Phil Dawson.

A local grassroots football league has announced its line-up for the new season including some new arrivals.

The structure of the JMP Foodservice Westmorland Football League, which a number of our local teams compete in, was announced on Tuesday evening ahead of the 2023/2024 football season.

The Westmorland Football League (WFL) has been representing local grassroots football since its creation in 1892 when it consisted of just two divisions. It extended to three divisions in 1903, then to four in 1977. For eight seasons from 2014 the league went to a three-division structure but reverted back to four last season (2022/2023) as more clubs from outside its traditional area applied to join.

If you look back 10 years to the WFL 2013/2014 season the league, then four divisions, consisted of 43 teams who, in the main, represented communities across what was the former county of Westmorland that become part of Cumbria in 1974.

In recent years the WFL has allowed football clubs from outside its traditional boundaries to apply to join and has seen teams from North Cumbria and Lancashire enter the league. Other longstanding WFL teams have over recent years left the league, merged with other clubs and sadly, in many cases, folded.

The 2023/2024 season will feature 47 different teams across its four divisions and feature five more teams than the previous season.

Hest Bank United FC, who only formed as a club in 2021 and have played for the last two seasons in the North Lancashire and District League Division 1, will enter the WFL and play in Division 3. They will join Carnforth Rangers FC A Team (third XI) who were promoted as champions from the WFL Division 4 last season.

Burton Thistle FC and Millhead FC (first team), who both narrowly missed out on automatic promotion last season, have been moved from Division 4 to Division 3 as part of this coming season’s structure, which will have been a welcome surprise for both clubs.

Carnforth Rangers FC Youth (fourth XI) & Millhead FC Reserves will also enter the WFL in Division 4, both teams have moved from the North Lancashire and District League Division 1.

Other notable changes in the WFL see Cartmel AFC enter their first team into Division 3 and a reserve team into Division 4. Cartmel resigned from the West Lancashire League at the end of last season.

Keswick FC have left the WFL Division 1 and joined the Cumberland County League.

Most of our local grassroots clubs have now commenced pre-season training for the forthcoming season and have several pre-season friendlies planned in the next few weeks.

The WFL fixtures for the 2023/24 season are planned to be released on or before Friday July 14, and our local teams' games will feature in our weekly sports guide on the Beyond Radio website and across our social media platforms.

The Westmorland Football League season kicks off on Saturday August 12.

Division 1: Ambleside United, Appleby AFC, Endmoor KGR, Greystoke, Ibis, Kendal United Reserves, Kirkby Lonsdale, Kirkoswald, Penrith AFC Reserves, Sedbergh & Dent United, Wetheriggs United, Windermere Sports Club

Division 2: Appleby AFC Reserves, Braithwaite, Burneside, Cartmel AFC, Endmoor KGR Reserves, Kirkby Stephen, Kirkoswald Reserves, Lunesdale United, Penrith AFC Academy, Staveley United, Shap, Ullswater United

Division 3: Alston Moor, Burton Thistle, Carnforth Rangers A Team, Eden Valley, Greystoke Reserves, Hest Bank United, Ibis Reserves, Kendal County Reserves, Millhead, Wetheriggs United Reserves, Windermere Reserves

Division 4: Ambleside United Reserves, Arnside & Milnthorpe, Brough, Burneside Reserves, Carnforth Rangers Youth, Cartmel AFC Reserves, Eden Valley Reserves, Kirkby Lonsdale Reserves, Lunesdale United Reserves, Millhead Reserves, Penrith Royal, Sedbergh & Dent Reserves

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