Fixtures and Preview Saturday Feb 3rd

Only one place to start this week and that is Stag Meadow in the Royal Borough of Windsor where the home side entertain HAMBLE CLUB in the last sixteen of the FA Vase. A remarkable performance by the Sydenhams Football League (Wessex) side in their first season in the Competition and they will not be lacking in confidence after their win at Hereford in the last round. Windsor are currently ninth in the Hellenic League Premier Division with 34 points from 24 matches and have won seven of their thirteen League matches and way back in the sunshine of September they defeated Whitchurch in the Second Qualifying Round of the Vase.

In the Premier Division Andover Town have the day off giving others the chance to reduce their fifteen point lead at the top of the table. Second place Blackfield and Langley, who are unbeaten in their last nine League fixtures, travel to Portland for a game possibly made more difficult by the home side’s appointment of last Season’s Championship Manager Gary Bailey to the hot seat again on an interim basis. Hamworthy, in third place, will wish to bounce back from their heavy League Cup defeat in midweek when they make one of their shorter trips, to Victoria Park, to face a Bournemouth side that has won their last two games.

Fourth place Sholing, who have lost two of their last three, host Newport who are badly in need of points at the wrong end of the table, while Alresford, who beat Newport in midweek, journey to Bashley who do tend to blow hot and cold. Horndean, on the fringe of the top six, welcome Amesbury to Five Heads Park, with the Wiltshire side in a similar position to Newport while Lymington, whose defeat last week was their first in nine matches travel to Team Solent who seem to have suffered more than their share of postponements of late and will no doubt be anxiously eying the weather forecast.

Baffins Milton Rovers, who have slipped to 16th place with no wins in four, face a Cowes side who need to turn draws in to victories while Shaftesbury, safely ensconced in mid table on their return to the top flight, welcome “near neighbours” Bemerton with the hope that the midweek fog will have dispersed ! Two sides in need of a win meet in the Forest with Fareham travelling to Brockenhurst. The home side have not won in nine matches and have slipped to eighteenth place in the table whilst Fareham’s form can perhaps be best described as stuttering and finally bottom place Petersfield travel south to meet AFC Portchester who have shown signs of improvement of late.

In Division One it could be all change at the top again as Andover New Street, who regained top place last week are, like their Premier neighbours a mile down the road, not in action on Saturday. Tadley Calleva, beaten by New Street last week, will be looking to return to the number one spot but face a difficult game at Romsey who have won four of their last six. Christchurch, another club to have suffered their fair share of postponements, take their long unbeaten run up the A338 to Ringwood whilst Laverstock and Ford, now up to fourth place, entertain Verwood who are showing signs of improvement with seven points from their last nine.

United Services, whose defeat last week followed five successive victories, will be looking to get back on track when they host Hythe and Dibden who in turn won last time out, while AFC Stoneham, also still in the promotion mix, make the relatively short trip to Follands who, at the bottom of the table, simply need points. Alton, with only one win in four, welcome East Cowes Vics who have drawn four of their last six games and two clubs adjacent to each other in the table, Downton and Totton and Eling, meet at Wick Lane in a game that could easily go either way. Lastly two improving sides, Fawley and Whitchurch, meet on the Waterside but overall it is still very tight at the top with ten points covering the top seven Clubs and with all having played a varying number of games.

All good wishes to Hamble Club on a big day for them and the League.

Thanks to John Gorman for this contribution