Longridge Town and Garstang FC will be back playing next month

Longridge Town and Garstang FC will return to action next month when they take part in a new cup competition.

Tuesday, 9th March 2021, 8:00 am

The pair are among 16 sides invited to play in the Heys Invitational Cup, devised by Prestwich Heys as a way of playing football with the NWCFL season set to be scrapped.

It will initially see four groups of four competing in round-robin matches over three weekends.

The top two in each group then move into the quarter-finals before the semi-finals and final, both of which will be at Heys’ Adie Moran Park base.

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Longridge Town are one of the host clubs for the upcoming 16-team tournament Picture: Adam Gee

All group matches will be staged by one of the clubs in each section with two games taking place each matchday.

Longridge will host all the games in their group, which includes Ashton Town, Pilkington and St Helens Town.

Garstang will travel to Squires Gate, where they will meet AFC Blackpool and Charnock Richard in addition to the host club.

Riversiders’ boss Richard Cookney and his Longridge counterpart, Lee Ashcroft, were both excited by the new event.

Neither side has played since December, meaning they potentially faced eight months without competitive football – provided next season starts in August.

Cookney said: “I’m really happy they have come up with this.

“It gives the lads a bit of football and it’s a chance for everyone to get back together.

“We get to play games and it’ll be finished in May and then we have the summer so, in that respect, it’ll be like a normal end to the season.”

Ashcroft added: “Everyone knows me, we’ll be trying to win it!

“It’s something to look forward to though. We can get back into training at the end of the month and then we can take part in this tournament.

“Fair play to Prestwich, they have taken it on and we’re delighted to be taking part.”

With the return of outdoor sport scheduled for the end of the month, teams will have two-and-a-half weeks of training before the tournament starts on April 17.

Teams are allowed rolling substitutions of up to seven per game, while three new signings will be allowed to play as long as the clubs submit them as part of their official squads in advance.

Each of the four host venues also stages a quarter-final.

The knockout matches will be over one leg and decided by extra time and penalties should the need arise.

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