After Christmas and when the monsoons have cleared the season seems to go on fast forward and now most teams are winding up their campaign. We still have a lot to look forward to with our Long Good Friday, Awards night and our very own Merton World Cup. During the summer the SAL has some interesting discussions to have and some di cult decisions to take which will a ect the future of the League and of the clubs within it. At the start of the season the League granted a few clubs dispensation not to enter a rst or second team for this season. This was a grasp of reality as these clubs would have had little alternative but to leave the league. This was done for just the one season and was balancing the interests of the SAL, trying to keep as many clubs within it and those of the other individual clubs those who bene tted from the decision and the rest who had to live with it. A few seasons ago when our 3s left just before the start of the season our request to the League was summarily dismissed and whilst we seriously considered leaving the SAL it turned out to be too late to join another league. With the help of a sympathetic xtures secretary we’ve struggled through the sea- son losing about £3K as a consequence but luckily we have ended up a stronger club. Probably the right decision then by the SAL but times are a changing. But there has been a fair bit of discontent among the other clubs where the bene tting clubs have been successful. The need to keep clubs in the SAL – as some divisions are down to nine teams and only 16 games and the Spring Cup. What seems to have happened is a breakdown in the discipline – that the xtures must go ahead. I recall clubs like EBOG and CEV coming all the way from North London with just nine players to preserve the honour of their club and ful l the xture. But on Saturday the 3s opposition Carshalton 4s decided not to turn up. They let us down badly, and their club who have been very apologetic. The rules dictate that Carshalton 4s should have called up the their 5s to make up the number but the 5s were playing a cup nal so that solution which was not implemented was unrealistic. The consequence was that our lads had a totally wasted Saturday and missed their football. Carshalton the club involved are investigating what happened and have o ered to pay all our costs and given a full and heartfelt apology. On Saturday Len (our treasurer) and I went to watch the First team in their SAL Senior semi nal at Crouch End Vampires. It took us two and a half hours to get there by car as Hangar Lane gyratory was being re- surfaced and two hours to get home on the M25. I had all the kit and stu so that I had to go by car. The team travelled by train and did it in an hour or so. But travelling across London is both time consuming and expensive and not much fun. So we know further regionalisation is on their agenda. CEV have similar council facilities to us and very similar pitch conditions and facilities is another area where we all need improvements. (Incidentally it was an entertaining game which we lost 2-0 a little unluckily but on balance they were better than us and deserved it. It was a good competitive game with their second goal coming in 92nd minute). The SAL have some di cult matters to deal with and there are no right are wrong answers just di cult judgements and we need to make the best of it. One really pleasing area is Merton 7s continuing to thrive and the success of our recruitment campaign last summer. We need to continue that this summer and we have produced a poster that we want to be displayed at Colleges and universities. So if you know of anyone at a university or college who could put the poster up after the Easter holidays please let us know and we will get you some posters. (Contact [email protected])