Weekend Preview – Saturday 06/01/18

Into 2018 and the Round of the last thirty two in the FA Vase with three of our Clubs in action, weather permitting. Fortunately, they are all paired with Clubs from other Leagues with Blackfield and Langley and Newport (IOW) having home ties but Hamble Club forced to travel. Blackfield welcome Bracknell Town, currently fourth in the Hellenic League Premier Division, to Gang Warily whilst Bradford Town cross the Solent to visit Newport. Bradford, who play in Bradford on Avon, near Trowbridge, are fourth in the Western League Premier Division and defeated Team Solent in the last Round. Hamble Club, who have reached this stage in their first year in the Competition, have drawn the short straw as regards travel with a 270 mile round trip to Hereford to meet Westfields FC. Their hosts play in the Midland League Premier Division and currently occupy ninth place in the table.

On to more parochial matters and the top game in the Premier Division is at the County Ground where fourth place Hamworthy United entertain third place Sholing, The Dorset side have won six of their last seven whilst Sholing are unbeaten in twelve so everything points to a tight encounter. Leaders Andover Town welcome Brockenhurst to the Portway with the visitors looking to end a winless streak and Alresford Town, in fifth place, make the long journey to Shaftesbury who are acquitting themselves well in their first season at this level. Lymington Town, with three draws in their last five matches, go to Amesbury who are playing better than their results suggest, while AFC Portchester, with just one win in six will be looking to put their season back on track when they visit Bemerton. Horndean, in a slightly similar situation to AFC Portchester, head to Bashley who enjoyed a good victory at Portland last week whilst Portland themselves, with only one win in their last seven, journey along the coast to Bournemouth who have not won in nine. Two Clubs with similar records of one win in five, Cowes Sports and Baffins Milton Rovers, meet at Westwood Park while for the final game Fareham Town travel up the A3 to bottom Club Petersfield Town.

It is very tight at the top of Division One and that could still be the case after Saturday’s fixtures. Leaders Andover New Street, with eight wins in their last nine games, travel to Ringwood who are more than capable of causing an upset on their day whilst second place Christchurch will attempt to continue their long unbeaten road as they travel to Laverstock and Ford and may well not find it too easy. Tadley Calleva entertain fellow North Hampshire side Alton just a month after the earlier meeting between the Clubs when Alton came from behind to take the points but it could be a different story this time round. A tight game in prospect at Stoneham where US Portsmouth provide the opposition with both sides enjoying good form at present. Fawley AFC have games in hand over most but with only one win in their last five they may find visitors Romsey Town a problem whilst a little further down the A326 two sides who often find goals difficult to come by, Hythe and Dibden and East Cowes Victoria, meet at Claypits. Verwood Town and Folland Sports, adrift at the bottom, are both at home with Whitchurch United, just one win in six and a new Management Team, visiting Potterne Park whilst Follands play host to the always difficult to beat New Milton Town.

Hopefully the weather will not intervene and all good wishes to our Clubs competing in the Vase. Three Clubs in the last sixteen would be very praiseworthy to say the least.