ONE of the district’s oldest and most prestigious football competitions has been reduced to just one match this year.

The Clayton Cup has been part of local football for over a century, with the summer knock-out tournament providing competitive pre-season action.

But this time around, only two teams have entered the competition, with holders Haltwhistle Jubilee set to take on Hexham, on Tuesday, July 23.

Clayton Cup committee member David Tiffin said both teams would play out a straight final due to a lack of interest among local sides.

He explained: “We asked around about this year’s competition but the teams said they weren’t interested, and didn’t want to play midweek games. It’s disappointing, but never mind. We will see what happens.

“You need eight teams really to make it a competition, and we thought it would be good for clubs to use as friendly, but competitive, games rather than just a kick-around before the season started.

“The Clayton Cup doesn’t have the same importance as it once did. It used to be the premier cup in the area and everybody wanted to win it.

“We will have a straight final this year and then go back and see what we can sort for next season.”

The Clayton Cup has struggled in the past. It lay dormant for almost 10 years until 2010, when Wark defended the title they had won nine years earlier. The competition dates back to 1904, and photos of winning teams began appearing in the Hexham Courant from 1950.