NCA cancels rugby union cup competition for National League sides with no easing of coronavirus restrictions in sight
The seemingly inevitable cancellation of the National Clubs Association Cup has been confirmed, meaning Bishop's Stortford will have to wait until next season for a return to competitive action.
It had been hoped the competition would have provided some fixtures for teams following the scrapping of the 2020-21 National League campaign.
Stortford had been hoping to take on Cambridge, Old Albanian, Bury St Edmunds and Westcliff having been drawn in Group 6.
But NCA chairman and broadcaster John Inverdale said there was a unanimous agreement between the 48 members clubs to abandon the tournament due to the ongoing uncertainty in the pandemic.
"With every re-tiering and subsequent tightening of restrictions, it was getting harder to envisage the NCA Cup getting off the ground," said Inverdale.
"It's with a heavy heart that we've made the call because there was a huge amount of enthusiasm for the idea, but ultimately we've had to concede defeat."
Stortford, who had also been hoping to prepare for the competition with warm-up matches against Hertford and Westcliff, and their fellow member clubs could be permitted to play friendlies if restrictions are eased sufficiently.
And local hubs could be set up to host three- or four-team tournaments in April or May if circumstances allow.