Petersfield head into the unknown

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Scott Morris. Picture: Chris Moorhouse

Havant chief rues missed opportunity

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Petersfield go into their final league game against Ellingham & Ringwood at Penns Place unsure of their future (3pm).

Originally, the home side believed a win or a losing bonus point in this London south west division three fixture would be enough to save them from relegation.

But the locals have been horrified to learn a planned re-organisation of the league could condemn them to the drop.

Confirmation that Purley John Fisher will be relegated from London south east division two has heightened fears the bottom four clubs in Petersfield’s division now face the drop as the Surrey club are said to be heading back into the south west divisional system for next season.

Traditionally, clubs from Surrey and Hampshire feed into the south west divisions and clubs from Kent, East Sussex and West Sussex feed into the south east divisions. However, in past seasons, clubs on the extreme borders of either system have been allowed to switch regions.

Problems are created when teams that have switched between the regional divisions start to fall back down the structure and then need to be switched back to their original region to ensure the number of teams in each divisional structure is balanced.

Petersfield officials are convinced they are now as good as relegated as they have been told Purley will be joining London south west division three next season – a move which effectively sees the club relegated by committee rather than by results on the pitch.

League officials, however, stress that no decision has been made on the make up of the divisions for the 2011-12 season.

The London Divisional Organising Committee are expected to make a decision at their meeting on May 14.

All Petersfield can do now is win their game against Ellingham & Ringwood and grab the bonus point on offer to ensure 10th-placed Fordingbridge can’t overtake them.

There is a further twist in this complicated story, though, as Fordingbridge have a game in hand on Petersfield.

Field’s relegation rivals face Alton tomorrow and there is a possibility Camberley may decide not to reorganise their outstanding fixture with them if there is nothing riding on it, giving Fordingbridge a home walkover.

If Petersfield were to drop below them, all of the arguments about four teams going down would be immaterial as Field would then be in the automatic relegation places.

Despite the various twists, Petersfield officials are convinced their destiny is no longer in their own hands.

‘The situation seems unjust and is totally unexpected,’ said club president Paul Martin.

‘As the club had not been alerted earlier to this possibility, we have focused on the clubs in our division and not those below the radar.’

There was something for Petersfield to cheer about this week after they secured their place in the final of the Gales Hampshire Bowl.’