FC CLACTON and WIVENHOE TOWN have been granted a reprieve from relegation and will continue to play in the top flight of the Thurlow Nunn League.

The north Essex pair will form part of an increased 24-team premier division for the 2017/18 campaign.

Wivenhoe finished third from bottom last season and Clacton second from bottom, avoiding the wooden spoon after a final-day victory at basement boys Swaffham Town.

However, rather than falling through the trapdoor into division one, they will remain in the premier division, according to the provisional step five and six line-ups published on Friday.

COGGESHALL TOWN were one of the three promoted teams last season, along with Haverhill Borough and Stowmarket Town, and the new line-up also includes Histon and Wroxham, who were relegated from the Southern League and Ryman League respectively.

Kem Izzet's STANWAY ROVERS will also be in the premier division again, along with BRANTHAM ATHLETIC.

The division one line-up again includes HOLLAND FC, HALSTEAD TOWN and BRAINTREE TOWN RESERVES.

And joining them will be newly-promoted LITTLE OAKLEY, following their success in winning last season's Essex and Suffolk Border League title.

HARWICH AND PARKESTON had been hoping to be promoted from the Border League into the Thurlow Nunn League.

However, this has not materialised so the club will remain at step seven level for another season.

In other non-league news, Clacton have revealed a list of players who have committed to playing for them next season and among them are Ben Parkin and Billy Wales.

Both are former players who will be heading back to the Bowl.

Wales spent last season with coastal rivals Holland.

The full list published on the club website is Kevin Coyle, Wayne Chapman, Lee Clowsley, Paddi Hawkins, Louie Newland, Tom Austin, Kyelan Marvell, Joe Moore, Parkin and Wales.

Wivenhoe, meanwhile, have scheduled another pre-season game, away to Wadham Lodge on Saturday, July 15.