Follifoot captain Nick Robinson has urged his troops to front up to the challenge ahead after the club were sent back to square one at the bottom of the table.
Aire-Wharfe League representatives have deducted all of the points Follifoot have collected on their return to Division One after the club admitted an administrative error over the signings of overseas player Damien Lawrence.
Lawrence was brought to the Rudding Lane club after topping the run charts at Nidderdale League side Killinghall last season.
However, ‘Foot were unaware they needed to fill out a transfer form for the Aussie as well as submitting other documents to the league.
After hearing of a similar problem at Green Lane – for which the Division Two side lost all their points - ‘Foot approached the league to tell them of their error.
Robinson said the league’s decision to dock them the 78 points was “harsh” on his players and the club.
“It’s like doing a 1,000 word essay and suddenly it’s all been wiped off the computer,” he said. “Our secretary is absolutely devastated. He puts a ot of hours into it, and clubs are run by volunteers like him. The ECB’s tagline is to get the game on. To take points off us seriously damages that.
“One error out of the reams and reams of paperwork a secretary has to go through, and to miss one thing is really tough on the club and everybody.”
The Aire-Wharfe League has told Follifoot the decision must not be appealed.
It leaves Follifoot with a magnanimous task to survive in Division One in their first year back in the top tier, with Robinson’s men lying 42 points adrift at the bottom.
The skipper admitted his squad were deflated ahead of Saturday’s heavy defeat at Steeton, where they were bowled out for just 124.
However, he still believes his men can beat the drop and wants the disappointment to act as a motivator for the remaining 14 matches.
He said: “For the lads to have put their backsides into getting every point and then find out that we were losing them all, disappointment was an understatement. We are really gutted, and that affected us on Saturday too.
The main disappointment is for the 11 lads that have turned our for seven weeks and it turns out all for nothing. It gives us a really battle to try and stay in Division One
“But we can either lie down and die and go down with a whimper or try stand up and fight for our place in the league. No doubt we need to improve as a side and some of our senior guys need to take some more responsibility.
“But we have already beaten Burley and Bilton, and if we can find that confidence again, I’m sure we can stay up.”
As well as Green Lane and Follifoot, Alwoodley have also falled foul of the regulations in Division Three.
A league statement read: “All Clubs were reminded in January and March that such movements require a transfer certificate, but the above clubs failed to comply with the reminders which are circulated to the officials of all clubs.
“The League Management Executive Committee have met and the decision made that all points gained by the clubs in each individual match in which the ineligible player played shall be withdrawn.
“In addition, those clubs that played those players in the Waddilove Cup have been expelled from the competition. The decision was not taken lightly and was carefully considered. Clubs must follow the correct transfer protocol at all times.”