John Gorman’s Weekly Preview

We are very much approaching the business and of the season now with Sholing already acclaimed as Premier Division Champions and the possibility of matters at the other end of the table being resolved on Saturday. Andover New Street need to win all their remaining games and the two teams above them to not gain another point if they are to survive whilst a win for Cowes and defeat for Bemerton Heath will ensure safety for the Islanders. All this assumes that the FA will relegate two as previously advised. New Street are at home to Alresford, who they recently beat in the Final of the North Hants Cup, while Bemerton travel to Hamble Club and Cowes host AFC Portchester who have shown improved form of late. At the other end of the table Sholing will be looking to add to their already impressive points tally when Brockenhurst, who have won their last two games, come visiting while Horndean, still looking for a return to winning form, host a Shaftesbury side who have taken ten points from the last five games. Bournemouth, who scored five in midweek, travel to Baffins with a close match on the cards, and Portland who have lost their last four and lost ground on those above them travel to Christchurch who have removed relegation worries with eight points out of a possible twelve. Hamworthy will be hoping to put their heavy midweek defeat behind them but will not find it easy against a Team Solent side who have climbed to eighth spot in the table and scored five away from home last week. Bashley and Lymington meet at the former’s ground with just one point separating them in the table and Fareham, defeated for the first time in nine last week, meet Tadley at Cams Alders with the North Hampshire side having slipped a little of late.

The Division One promotion race is still far from clear cut but Amesbury are still in pole position for a quick return to the Premier Division. Like Romsey and Hythe and Dibden they have three games to play and currently hold a four point lead. Saturday sees them travel to Alton who gained their first point for many a while last week whilst Hythe and Dibden and Romsey are both at home. Ringwood, with three wins in their last four, are at Clayfields while Romsey entertain Whitchurch who have suffered heavy defeats in their last two fixtures after an eight game unbeaten run. AFC Stoneham have the advantage of two games in hand over their rivals – are points in the bag better than games in hand is an age old question – and they are also at home with New Milton the visitors. The latter have shown steady improvement but have needed to exchange draws for wins and may have a difficult afternoon in prospect. US Portsmouth, still pushing hard in fifth place, go to Fawley who have won three of their last five while Downton and Newport meet at Wick Lane, Only one point separates the two but the former, very much the Division’s draw specialists, are hard to beat and possibly in the better form. This just leaves the bottom two with Totton and Eling currently six points adrift but with three games in hand – same argument applies as with Stoneham. Andover did themselves no harm in terms of form and morale with a five goal defeat of Whitchurch on Tuesday while Totton and Eling picked up a more than useful point at US Portsmouth.

Things could be a little clearer after Saturday.