Three conference split for East of Scotland League

St Andrews United will kick off next season in the East of Scotland League. Pic by Blair Smith.
St Andrews United will kick off next season in the East of Scotland League. Pic by Blair Smith.

St Andrews United and Dundonald Bluebell will be two of 39 teams taking part next season’s East of Scotland League, which will be split into three conferences.

At the league’s EGM on Thursday evening, it was confirmed that conferences of 13 teams was the preferred structure for next season after they accepted applications to join its ranks from 26 clubs, 24 of them junior sides.

The restructure has come about due to the mass exodus of junior sides to the EoS league which offers a pathway into the SPFL pyramid.

At the end of the season the winners of each conference will play off against one another in a round-robin competition to determine who are the league champions.

The three conferences are:

Conference A: Hawick Royal Albert, Leith Athletic, Peebles Rovers, Coldstream, Tweedmouth, Penicuik Athletic, Hill of Beath Hawthorn, Newtongrange Star, Musselburgh Athletic, Dunbar United, Arniston Rangers, Oakley United, Easthouses Lily.

Conference B: Lothian Thistle HV, Tynecastle, Burntisland Shipyard, Eyemouth United, Bonnyrigg Rose, Dundonald Bluebell, Bo’ness United, Sauchie, Haddington Athletic, Tranent, Dalkeith, Crossgates Primrose, Dunipace.

Conference C: Preston Athletic, Heriot-Watt University, Stirling University, Ormiston, Linlithgow Rose, Broxburn Athletic, Camelon, Jeanfield Swifts, Blackburn United, St Andrews United, Edinburgh United, Craigroyston, Inverkeithing.

Kelty Hearts won this season’s East of Scotland League and a play-off to reach the fifth-tier Lowland League a year after making the switch from the juniors.

Others decided to follow suit this season and slowly a trickle became a stream.

The defections have caused East of Scotland junior membership to drop from 60 clubs to just 36.

There is a suggestion that both the East and West Superleagues may merge in time for the 2019/20 season.