Natalie Connor was forced to play a number of players out of position. Picture credit: Iliyana Farfarova

The Sunderland City Predators have struggled for players to play in the Regional League all season. Picture credit: Iliyana Farfarova

Sunderland City Predators were forced to cancel their fixture with Oaksway this Saturday as the Sunderland side continue to struggle to get a team together.

Having just seven players, the Predators were too vulnerable to enter the game.

As the matches in the North East Regional league can’t be rescheduled, the fixture will go down as a 0-10 loss with Oaksway getting easy points – leaving the Sunderland side firmly at the bottom of the table.

Captain Kelsy Mavin said: “I’m very, very disappointed. It’s so frustrating because we have so many players on a Wednesday but because of work commitments and family commitments we cant get a full squad for regionals.

“We’re literally getting six or seven and seven is just not good enough for regional level because of the possibility of injuries. If someone gets injured, we’ll be left with six which is not ideal at all.”

This isn’t the first time the Predators have had to forfeit a fixture this season, as they had to cancel their game against the Wildcats in the season due to the same reasons.

Mavin said: “It’s a bit of a shame because we came into the season and we had a lot more players. We thought it was going to be a great season and we were going to try and keep up there but we’ve had to cancel two games already, and in the last game we had a small squad which is not ideal.

“We haven’t been able to have that strong squad where people can play their positions. People were playing unusual positions because Emma is injured and the other shooter we have can’t play on Saturday. It is a shame and it is unlucky.”

Emma Nutley ripped a tendon which left her with a sprain on her right ankle – forcing her to miss out for half of the season. However, Nutley is expected to come back after Christmas to help her team get out of the hole they’ve been digging for themselves.

It’s not a bright situation for the Predators, though, as they only have a couple of matches until the end of the season, one of them next week.

Against all odds, Mavin is hopeful of getting a full squad together for the next fixture.

“For the next game after that we have got nine or 10 and hopefully all goes to plan. We’ve got nine players at least and that means Natalie (Connor) can play around. People will get to play at their positions instead of having to settle at unusual positions so I can’t wait for the next game,” Mavin explained.

The Predators are even more pressured by the relegation rules which were introduced this year, meaning the team to finish bottom will be dropped out of the league.

So far the Predators are perfectly fitting that description, having fallen to the bottom with just a point as debutants Durham Palatinates stay clear of them seven points ahead.

Mavin said: “If we’re fortunate to play regional next season fingers crossed we have extra people and then we might have those extra people on a Saturday.”



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