Anglian Combination

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Anglian Combination
Country England
Confederation Norfolk F.A.
Founded 1964
Divisions 7
Number of teams 112 (2016–17)
Level on pyramid Levels 11–16
Feeder to Eastern Counties League
(Division One)
Relegation to Central and South Norfolk League
Great Yarmouth & District Football League
North East Norfolk League
North West Norfolk League
Domestic cup(s)
  • Don Frost Memorial Cup
  • Senior League Cup
  • Junior League Cup
  • Reserve League Cup
Current champions Acle United
Most championships Blofield United (6)
Website Official website

The Anglian Combination Football League is an English football league that operates in the East Anglia area. The league specifically covers Norfolk and northern Suffolk with rules stating that clubs should be within a 50 miles radius from the centre of Norwich[1]

It consists of 112 teams and has seven divisions – the Premier Division, Division 1 to 4 plus the two regionalised divisions, Division 5 North and South. Its top division is currently at step 7 (or level 11) of the National League System. An U19 Development Division was proposed to start in the 2014–15 season depending on interest.

Each season, the best of the Anglian Combination's footballers are selected to represent the Anglian Combination in the FA Inter-League Cup, a cup competition for the FA's regional leagues.

C.N.S.O.B.U. (City of Norwich School Old Boys Union) were the first ever champions of the Anglian Combination in 1965, winning the Senior A division in the league's transitional season.

Acle United will be the reigning champions for the 2016–17 season after winning the Anglian Combination for the fourth time, becoming only the second club ever to win four top division titles in a row (the first being Wroxham between 1981 and 1985). They will become the first club ever to win the Anglian Combination five times in a row if they win the title next season.


The league was formed in 1964, as a merger of the East Anglian League and the Norfolk & Suffolk League (established 1897) and had a transitional season in 1964–65 before settling down to a regular format for the 1965–66 season of four divisions for first teams and three for reserves. A further division for first teams was added for 1966–67, and that format remained unchanged until the previously separate reserve divisions incorporated into the main structure for the 2003–04 season. The winners of the Premier Division are also known as the Sterry Cup winners and are eligible for promotion to the Eastern Counties League.

After a league meeting of the Anglian Combination clubs on 9 February 2011, it was decided the Anglian Combination would adopt the FA's Respect programme. This included the practice of all players on the two teams and match officials shaking hands before the game.[2]

On 25 June 2012, a proposed trial for rolling substitutions was rejected by Anglian Combination clubs at a league AGM [3]

To try and solve problems with decreasing youth participation, an U19 Development Division was agreed on at a league AGM on 17 June 2013 with the competition expected to start from the 2014–15 season at the earliest.


From 1992–2006, the chartered accountants Lovewell Blake sponsored the league. Dolphin Autos took over sponsorship of the league from 2006–2010. Gleave & Associates sponsored the league for the 2010–11 season.

Gleave & Associates ended their sponsorship of the league after the 2010–11 following which there was a period of three seasons without sponsorship[4] before the independent financial advisors, Almary Green, agreed to sponsor the league for the 2014–15 season[5]

Format and regulations[edit]

No more than 80 clubs and 132 teams (first and reserve teams) are to be permitted to the league system. In theory this means that no more than 52 clubs can have both a first and reserve team competing in the league. No more than one team from a club can play in the same division. The Premier Division and Division 1 are "senior" divisions while the rest of the divisions are "junior" divisions. There is a limit of 16 teams for each division except for the Premier Division, which has a limit of 24 teams. Some divisions do get reduced in size either at the start of the season or during the season because of teams withdrawing, due to not enough players or financial problems. Their places for the next season are taken by teams elected from the feeder leagues. Teams play each other twice, home and away, in a double round robin format.

In Division 1 to Division 5, the top two clubs are promoted while the bottom two are relegated. In the Premier Division, there is no automatic promotion as clubs need to meet the FA's ground grading guide for Eastern Counties Division 1 in order to do so, as well as being in competition for promotion with champions of other feeder leagues to the Eastern Counties leagues. Only teams finishing in the top two of the Premier Division are eligible for promotion (the runners-up are eligible if the champions decide not to apply for promotion). The bottom two clubs are relegated to Division 1. In Division 6, the top two earn promotion, but there is no automatic relegation. Clubs need to be elected from the feeder leagues below, in order for relegation to occur, providing that there are no places in other divisions in the league to fill due to withdrawals. [6]

There are some interesting rules in the Anglian Combination. Unlike professional leagues, no team or goalkeeper is allowed to wear black or very dark shirts. This is because referees kits in this division are all black compared to professional leagues in which referees wear different coloured kits where appropriate. Another rule of interest is that matches can be less than 90 minutes but no less than 70 minutes, although this rule only comes into play if the two team captains and referee agree prior to kick-off and it is common sense for the match to be shorter than 90 minutes. A typical reason that this rule comes into play is for evening kick-offs due to a lack of natural light if the ground of the home team doesn't have floodlights. Similarly half-time intervals can be less than 10–15 minutes with the consent of the referee.

FA Charter Standard

The Anglian Combination is looking to become a designated FA Charter Standard League. Member clubs have until the end of the 2014–15 season to become an FA Charter Standard club or they face expulsion from the league. New member clubs have one season to achieve Charter Standard status.


Players are allowed to move clubs at any point during the season. However each player is only permitted one move during the season. Once they move, they cannot move again until after the season's end.

  • Any team shall not have more than three players who have played in a more senior cup competition in two of the three consecutive games immediately prior to a league game.
  • Players must be at least 16 years old to play an Anglian Combination game.

Premier Division ground grading

Clubs in the Premier Division are subject to the FA's Ground Grading regulations where they are subject to the regulations of Grade H [1][citation needed] Clubs that fail to comply to the regulations by a certain deadline could face expulsion to Division 1 at the end of the season. Every Premier Division club in the 2011–12 competition met the deadline of 31 March 2012 except North Walsham Town. They were given a deadline of 25 June 2012 to raise the funds and complete the work needed to meet regulations. Otherwise North Walsham Town would have been demoted to Division 1.[7] However after finding the funds and getting the necessary upgrades done in time, they stayed in the Premier Division for the 2012–13 season (although they were relegated at the end of the 2012–13 season).

U19 Development Division[edit]

Over the years, the Anglian Combination has had problems with retaining players who have come from U16 Youth football with the numbers going on to play in the Anglian Combination dwindling. A big reason for this has been the gap between youth and adult football in terms of physicality where young 15- to 16-year-old players suddenly come up against adult players, some of whom are big and physical and have been around the adult scene for years. To try and bridge the gap, an U19 Development Division was voted for at the Anglian Combination AGM on 17 June 2013.[8] To further help youth players, three over age players will be able to play in the starting eleven to pass on vital experience for these youngsters. There will be a maximum of 12 teams in the division[9] The 2014–15 season will be the earliest the U19 competition will start.

Clubs for 2016–17 season[edit]


  • Premier Division (Sterry Cup)

Acle United | Blofield United | Caister | Cromer Town | Harleston Town | Kirkley & Pakefield Reserves | Long Stratton | Mattishall | Mulbarton Wanderers | Norwich CEYMS | Reepham Town | Spixworth | St. Andrews | Stalham Town | Waveney | Wroxham Reserves

  • Division One (East Anglian Division 1 Cup)

Attleborough Town | Aylsham | Beccles Town | Bradenham Wanderers | Bungay Town | Dersingham Rovers | Foulsham | Hellesdon | Hindringham | Holt United | Loddon United | Mundford | North Walsham Town | Scole United | Sheringham | Wymondham Town

  • Division Two (Allerton Cup)

Acle United Reserves | Blofield United Reserves | Caister Reserves | East Harling | Easton | Hempnall | Hoveton Wherrymen | Martham | Mattishall Reserves | Poringland Wanderers | Sprowston Athletic | Thetford Rovers | University of East Anglia | Watton United | Wells Town | Yelverton

  • Division Three (East Anglian Division 2 Cup)

Beccles Caxton | Brandon Town | Buxton | Fakenham Town Reserves | Freethorpe | Gayton United | Hemsby | Horsford United | Loddon United Reserves | Long Stratton Reserves | Norwich CEYMS Reserves | Redgate Rangers | Sheringham Reserves | South Walsham | Sprowston Wanderers | Swaffham Town Reserves

  • Division Four (George Hunt Cup)

Bradenham Wanderers Reserves | Bungay Town Reserves | Costessey Sports | Dersingham Rovers Reserves | Downham Town Reserves | Earsham | Feltwell United | Gorleston F.C. Reserves | Hingham Athletic | Horsford United Reserves | North Walsham Town Reserves | Reepham Town Reserves | St. Andrews Reserves | Stalham Town Reserves | Thorpe Village | Wymondham Town Reserves

  • Division Five North

Aylsham Reserves | Castle Acre Swifts | Cromer Town Reserves | Easton Reserves | Gayton United Reserves | Heacham | Hellesdon Reserves | Hindringham Reserves | Martham Reserves | Mundford Reserves | Narborough | Necton | South Walsham Reserves | Spixworth Reserves | University of East Anglia Reserves | Wells Town Reserves

  • Division Five South

Attleborough Town Reserves | Beccles Town Reserves | Belton | East Harling Reserves | Freethorpe Reserves | Great Yarmouth Town Reserves | Harleston Town Reserves | Hempnall Reserves | Mulbarton Wanderers Reserves | Newton Flotman | Poringland Wanderers Reserves | Scole United Reserves | Thetford Rovers Reserves | Thetford Town Reserves | Waveney Reserves | Yelverton Reserves

Anglian Combination winners[edit]

The Sterry Cup which is handed to the winners of the Anglian Combination.


For the league's first "transitional" season, the members of the amalgamating leagues were split into three tiers, "Senior", "Junior" and "Reserves". Each of these three tiers was split into two parallel divisions, designated simply "A" and "B".

Season Senior A Senior B Junior A Junior B Reserves A Reserve B
1964–65 C N S O B U Dereham Town York Athletic Southwold Town Gothic Reserves Henderson Reserves


After the initial transitional season, the first teams in the league were split into four divisions, based on their finishing positions in the 1964–65 season. These became the Premier Division, Divisions 1, 2 and 3. A Division 4 was added for the 1966–67 season. Reserve sides were similarly split into three divisions, Reserve Divisions 1, 2 and 3.

 Season  Premier One Two Three Four Res One Res Two Res Three
1965–66 C N S O B U York Athletic Horsford United Poringland N/A Watton United Reserves Thorpe Village Reserves Norman Old Boys Reserves
1966–67 Watton United Horsford United North Walsham Town Eaton Rangers Hellesdon Watton United Reserves Bungay Town Reserves Shipdham Reserves
1967–68 Watton United Diss Town Earlham Y C Hellesdon Birds Eye (Lowestoft) Norman Old Boys Reserves Reepham Town Reserves Holt United Reserves
1968–69 Gorleston St Andrews Hellesdon Birds Eye (Lowestoft) Thetford Rovers York Athletic Reserves Holt United Reserves Sextons Reserves
1969–70 Sheringham Hellesdon Birds Eye (Lowestoft) Overstrand Earlham Rangers Watton United Reserves Thorpe Village Reserves Fakenham Town Reserves
1970–71 C N S O B U Wymondham Town Lakenham Y C Boulton & Paul Bodham St Andrews Reserves Hoveton United Reserves Shipdham Reserves
1971–72 C N S O B U Fakenham Town Southrepps Beccles Town Stags Hoveton United Reserves Fakenham Town Reserves Hellesdon Reserves
1972–73 Hellesdon Reepham Town Thetford Rovers Salhouse Gorleston Reserves Henderson Reserves Wymondham Old Boys Reserves Norwich Lads Club Reserves
1973–74 C N S O B U Diss Town Swaffham Town Carrow Wells Town Norwich Union Reserves Thetford Rovers Reserves Aylsham Wanderers Reserves
1974–75 C N S O B U Bungay Town Southwold Town Newton Flotman Wortwell St Andrews Reserves Fakenham Town Reserves Newton Flotman Reserves
1975–76 St Andrews Southwold United Wroxham Wortwell Yarmouth Town Reserves St Andrews Reserves Newton Flotman Reserves Sprowston Wanderers Reserves
1976–77 Diss Town Wroxham Newton Flotman Gorleston Reserves Mundham & Seething St Andrews Reserves Beccles Town Reserves Earlham Spinney Reserves
1977–78 Lowestoft Town Reserves Brundall United Wortwell Brandon Town Town Hall St Andrews Reserves Sheringham Reserves Holt United Reserves
1978–79 Diss Town Newton Flotman Kirkley Lakeford Rangers Bradenham Wanderers Wroxham Reserves Thetford Rovers Reserves Wortwell Reserves
1979–80 Lowestoft Town Reserves Kirkley Lakeford Rangers Bradenham Wanderers Acle United Fakenham Town Reserves C E Y M S Reserves Kirkley Reserves
1980–81 Hoveton United Bungay Town Gorleston Reserves Harleston Town South Walsham Hoveton United Reserves Kirkley Reserves Bradenham Wanderers Reserves
1981–82 Wroxham Wymondham Town Harleston Town Mundford Mundham & Seething Hoveton United Reserves Bradenham Wanderers Reserves Attleborough Reserves
1982–83 Wroxham Gorleston Reserves Bradenham Wanderers Acle United Hempnall Wroxham Reserves C E Y M S Reserves Wells Town Reserves
1983–84 Wroxham Blofield United Swaffham Town Hempnall Mulbarton United Wroxham Reserves Wells Town Reserves East Harling Reserves
1984–85 Wroxham Thetford Rovers Hempnall Ashlea North Walsham Town Wroxham Reserves Thetford Rovers Reserves Loddon United Reserves
1985–86 Watton United Wymondham Town Wortwell Thurton & Ashby Mattishall Watton United Reserves Blofield United Reserves Poringland United Reserves
1986–87 St Andrews Ashlea Aylsham Wanderers Town Hall Watton United Reserves Wroxham Reserves Aylsham Wanderers Reserves Loddon United Reserves
1987–88 Wroxham Bungay Town Town Hall Watton United Beccles Caxton Wroxham Reserves Carrow Reserves Hempnall Reserves
1988–89 Norwich United Kirkley Stalham Town Poringland Wanderers Wroxham Reserves St Andrews Reserves Overstrand Reserves Ashlea Reserves
1989–90 Newton Flotman Dereham Hobbies Mulbarton United Attleborough Town Norwich United Reserves Blofield United Reserves Lakeford Rangers Reserves Stalham Town Reserves
1990–91 Blofield United Wymondham Town Mattishall Scole United Corton Newton Flotman Reserves Stalham Town Reserves Mulbarton United Reserves
1991–92 Overstrand Horsford United Diss Town Reserves Town Hall Scripts South Walsham Wymondham Town Reserves Mulbarton United Reserves Reepham Town Reserves
1992–93 Mulbarton United Wroxham Reserves Thorpe Village South Walsham Anglian Windows Carrow Reserves Loddon United Reserves Caister United Reserves
1993–94 Blofield United Lowestoft Town Reserves Poringland Wanderers Anglian Windows Halvergate United Blofield United Reserves Thorpe Village Reserves C E Y M S Reserves
1994–95 Wroxham Reserves Thorpe Village North Walsham Town Acle United Hingham Athletic St Andrews Reserves Poringland Wanderers Reserves Wortwell Reserves
1995–96 Horsford United Loddon United Attleborough Town Scole United Thetford Town Reserves Blofield United Beccles Town Reserves Anglian Windows Reserves
1996–97 Mulbarton United Acle United Scole United Swaffham Town Reserves Downham Town Reserves Acle United Reserves Brandon Town Reserves Aylsham Wanderers Reserves
1997–98 Dereham Town Scole United Wells Town East Harling Great Ryburgh Acle United Reserves Oulton Broad / L R Reserves Thetford Rovers Reserves
1998–99 Attleborough Town Lakeford Rangers Sprowston Athletic Watton United Reserves Dereham Town Reserves Acle United Reserves Caister United Reserves Saham Toney Reserves
1999–2000 Kirkley Sprowston Athletic Norwich Union Dereham Town Reserves Hindringham Acle United Reserves Scole United Reserves Wells Town Reserves
2000–01 Blofield United Gorleston Reserves Halvergate United Holt United Gayton United Blofield United Reserves Wells Town Reserves Watton United Reserves
2001–02 Kirkley Beccles Town Hindringham Gayton United Fosters Athletic Wells Town Reserves Halvergate United Reserves Fosters Athletic Reserves
2002–03 Kirkley Halvergate United Horsford United Sheringham Southwold Town Kirkley Reserves Norwich Union Reserves Costessey Sports Reserves


In 2003 the league was re-organised, reducing the number of divisions from eight to seven. The reserve divisions were included within the main structure of the league, allowing the reserve teams the possibility of promotion to the divisions containing other clubs' first teams.

 Season  Premier One Two Three Four Five Six
2003–04 Cromer Town Watton United Sheringham Southwold Town Sprowston Athletic Reserves Norwich Union Reserves Hindringham Reserves
2004–05 Blofield United Sheringham Southwold Town Norwich St Johns Kirkley Reserves Cromer Town Reserves Sprowston Wanderers Reserves
2005–06 Cromer Town Dersingham Rovers Mundford Kirkley Reserves Beccles Caxton Thetford Rovers Foulsham
2006–07 Blofield United Hempnall Kirkley Reserves West Lynn SSC Caister United Reserves East Harling Freethorpe
2007–08 Wroxham Reserves Loddon United Corton Norwich CEYMS Bradenham Wanderers North Walsham Town Reserves Gorleston Reserves
2008–09 Sheringham St. Andrews Norwich St. Johns Mundford North Walsham Town Reserves Sheringham Reserves Dersingham Rovers Reserves
2009–10 Blofield United Kirkley & Pakefield Reserves West Lynn SSC Hempnall Reserves Blofield United Reserves Hemsby Thetford Athletic
2010–11 Cromer Town Wells Town Norwich CEYMS Harleston Town University of East Anglia Mulbarton Wanderers Bradenham Wanderers Reserves
2011–12 Cromer Town Dersingham Rovers Harleston Town Martham Mulbarton Wanderers Saham Toney Yelverton
2012–13 Acle United Norwich CEYMS Foulsham University of East Anglia Waveney Buxton Redgate Rangers
2013–14 Acle United Long Stratton Scole United Waveney Fakenham Town Reserves Redgate Rangers Mulbarton Wanderers Reserves
2014–15 Acle United Mulbarton Wanderers Waveney Blofield United Reserves Redgate Rangers Earsham Scole United Reserves


To try and tackle the issue of travel costs for players and clubs at lower levels of the league, the Anglian Combination's bottom two divisions were regionalised into Division 5 North and South for the 2015-16 season. This meant that Division 6 ceased to exist. Travel costs are one of a number of reasons why teams fold in the lower divisions of the league and it is hoped that the new system will help slow and maybe even reverse the negative trend. Generally the A47 road from King's Lynn to Great Yarmouth is the cut off point for determining whether clubs in Division 5 are placed in the North or South division[citation needed]

Season Premier One Two Three Four Five (North) Five (South)
2015–16 Acle United Waveney Mundford Watton United Sheringham Reserves Bradenham Wanderers Reserves Gorleston Reserves

Premier Division league titles by club[edit]

Club Winners Winning seasons
Blofield United 6 1990–91, 1993–94, 2000–01, 2004–05, 2006–07, 2009–10
Wroxham 5 1981–82, 1982–83, 1983–84, 1984–85, 1987–88
C.N.S.O.B.U 5 1965–66, 1970–71, 1971–72, 1973–74, 1974–75
Acle United 4 2012–13, 2013–14, 2014-15, 2015-16
Cromer Town 4 2003–04, 2005–06, 2010–11, 2011–12
Kirkley 3 1999-00, 2001–02, 2002–03
Watton United 3 1966–67, 1967–68, 1985–86
Sheringham 2 1969–70, 2008–09
Wroxham Reserves 2 1994–95, 2007–08
Mulbarton United 2 1992–93, 1996–97
St. Andrews 2 1975–76, 1986–87
Lowestoft Town Reserves 2 1977–78, 1979–80
Diss Town 2 1976–77, 1978–79
Attleborough Town 1 1998–99
Dereham Town 1 1997–98
Horsford United 1 1995–96
Overstrand 1 1991–92
Newton Flotman 1 1989–90
Norwich United 1 1988–89
Hoveton United 1 1980–81
Hellesdon 1 1972–73
Gorleston 1 1968–69

Cup competitions[edit]

In addition to the league, clubs take part in the following cup competitions:

  • Don Frost Memorial Cup

Single match between the winners of the Senior League (Mummery) Cup and the winners of the Premier Division from the previous season.

  • Senior League Cup

Cup competition for all clubs in the Premier Division and Division 1. The two teams drawn together for each tie play one match with extra-time then penalties separating the sides.

  • Junior League Cup

Cup competition for any side competing in Divisions 2,3,4,5 and 6 plus the reserve sides of Eastern Counties League clubs competing in the Norfolk or Suffolk county cups. The two teams drawn together for each tie play one match with extra-time then penalties separating the sides.

  • Reserve League Cup

Cup competition for any of the reserve sides in Divisions 2,3,4,5 and 6.

Norfolk's premier cup competition with all teams from Norfolk that play in the Premier Division, Division 1 and any Norfolk sides that compete in the Eastern Counties League.

  • Norfolk Junior County Cup

Main cup competition for junior sides from Norfolk that compete in Divisions 2,3,4,5 and 6 of the league as well as sides from the lower leagues.

  • Suffolk Senior County Cup

Open to teams from Suffolk that play in the Premier Division and Division 1 as well as Suffolk teams playing in the Eastern Counties League.

  • Suffolk Junior County Cup

Cup competition for teams from Suffolk in Divisions 2,3,4,5 and 6 as well as reserve sides of clubs that are in the Eastern Counties League that are competing in the Suffolk Senior Cup.


External links[edit]