Super League shortfall sways in favour for Newtongrange

Action from Newtongrange Star v Forfar West End play-off match
Action from Newtongrange Star v Forfar West End play-off match

Newtongrange Star are set to remain in the Super League for the forthcoming 2017/18 season.

Star, who finished third 
bottom in the league this season, were relegated after losing out to Premier League’s third-placed Forfar West End in the Super League play-offs.

But with Kelty Hearts 
decision to make the move to the East of Scotland League, the league was left with just 15 teams.

Following last week’s East Region management committee meeting, it was decided to retain the a 16 team league, so Newtongrange were quickly re-instated.

In the absence of Star boss Stevie McLeish, club president Joe Wilson spoke to the Midlothian Advertiser saying: ‘‘We are happy to be back in the Super League after losing out in the play-offs on goal difference.

‘‘We will be playing again at the highest level and it is our aim to improve on this season’s performances and ensure that we do not find ourselves in a similar position next season.’’

On the player front, Mr Wilson added that three players were at present set to leave the club while manager McLeish was looking to retain players and bring in new ones now that Super League status had been retained.

Over at New Dundas Park, Bonnyrigg Rose boss Robbie Horn added he too was pro-actively recruiting new players for the season ahead. With five players leaving the club, Horn said any announcement on new players would be made after the June 30, the official date in which players are registered up until.

Penicuik Athletic’s manager Johnny Harvey has also been busy, snapping up five players.

These include, striker Fraser Eddington (Bo’ness United), defender John Williams (Whitehill Welfare), midfielder Arran Ponton (Haddington Athletic), midfielder Sam Jones (Berwick Rangers) and Gary Hamilton (Newtongrange Star).

Penicuik has also lined up a series of pre-season friendlies ahead of the forthcoming Super League campaign.

They are scheduled to play Preston Athletic (A) - July 11, Whitehill Welfare (A) - July 18, St Johnstone U/20s (H) - July 22, Lothian Thistle (A) - July 25, and Spennymoor Town (H) - July 29 .

At Arniston, the club has signed three players from Bonnyrigg Rose Under 21s - Ryan Sanderson, Myles Doig and Andy Watson.

Finally, any hopes Bonnyigg Rose had of representing the East Super League in next season’s William Hill Scottish Cup were dashed this week.

With Kelty Hearts departure from the juniors, there was talk of the Rose possibly taking their place in the cup as league runners-up.

When the Midlothian Advertiser spoke to Tom Johnston, secretary of the Scottish Junior Football 
Association this week, he 
said: ‘‘There has been a lot of confusion amongst clubs as to the 
departure of Kelty Hearts from the juniors.

‘‘But Kelty Hearts will 
represent the juniors in the Scottish Cup as being winners of this season’s East Region 
Super League.

‘‘Although they are set to join the East of Scotland League, they are not a fully affiliated member of the SFA as yet and thereby do not 
gain automatic entry to the Scottish Cup next season.’’