Belton told to replay semi

Another of Norfolk County FA’s showpiece cup competitions has been rocked a by an ineligible player controversy.

Belton were all set to play east coast neighbours Hopton in the final of the Norfolk Primary Cup at Emerald Park, Gorleston on Friday, April 15 (7.30pm).

But instead they have been told to replay their semi-final against Great Massingham, who they had earlier beaten 3-1 to reach the final. The game is set to take place this Saturday at Massingham (2.30). The offence came to light after Belton’s young secretary, with one eye on the final, contacted Norfolk County FA to check on the position regarding players’ bookings. The FA subsequently discovered that one of Belton’s players had played eight games for another club this season – two more than the maximum number permitted under competition rules. Belton manager Pete Reddy said the player, who had turned out for Beccles Reserves at the start of the season, and the club secretary had both been unaware of the situation and were devastated. The player, who had also played in earlier rounds, was “not a ringer” having been with the Belton team since it was formed three years ago. “We feel it’s an unfair punishment bearing in mind the technicality of the offence.” He said he would not allow the controversy to distract his players from their goal of reaching and winning the final. “We feel we are the best young side in the county and we aim to prove that on April 15.” This season Yarmouth outfit El Sol lost a Norfolk Sunday Senior Cup quarter-final against Wymondham Rangers, replayed after El Sol unwittingly fielded a suspended player in a 1-0 win.