A Big Bostik Pre-Season- Part 2: Dorking to Hythe

9 months ago By Ian Townsend

The second instalment of our guide to pre-season

We continue with the second part of our guide to the Bostik League Pre-Season schedule, our attempt to provide all of you who have been suffering from football withdrawal symptoms with an A to Worthing guide of the forthcoming action. Parts three and four will be published on Wednesday and Thursday.

This guide features all the matches currently published on the websites of our member clubs. You can also find a list of fixtures in date order listed on our fixture page.

Bostik League fixtures for the forthcoming season will be announced on 13th July.

Dorking Wanderers: New Division, new ground, nearly-new team; fans of Dorking Wanderers have much to be excited about following their promotion to the Premier Division, and their imminent move from Westhumble to the new Meadowbank Stadium at the heart of the town. They’ve also added more quality to the first team with the arrivals of ex Sutton Utd defender Isaac Philpott, ex Worthing midfielder Brannon O’Neill, and former AFC Wimbledon and Ebsfleet star Luke Moore. Their pre-season schedule is as follows. Fixtures: Sat 15 July, 12 Noon- Frimley Green FC (A) (at Bisham Abbey, Marlow); Sat 22 July, Beckenham Town (A); Tues 25 July, 19:30- Horsham YMCA (A); Sat 29 July, Hythe Town (A); Sat 5 August, Phoenix Sports (H)

Dulwich Hamlet- highly fancied to be the nearest challengers to big-spending Billericay Town, last years beaten play-off finalists have lost talented Ibra Sekajja and Panutche Camara since the end of the season, although the majority of the squad remain. A noisy, passionate place to watch football, the Champion Hill support must be dreading the idea of another play-off campaign, and hoping that somehow their pink and blue heroes can upset the odds and win the title. Fixtures: Tues 11 July, Beckenham Town (A); Sat 15 July, Lewes (A) cancelled due to a flood at the Dripping Pan; Tues 18 July, Crawley Town (H); Thurs 20 July, Cray Valley PM (A); Tues 25 July, 19:30- Crystal Palace U23 (H); Sat 29 July, Brentford B (H); Wed 2 Aug, Aveley (A); Sat 5 Aug, Carshalton Ath (A)

East Grinstead Town: The Wasps start their pre-season campaign with a squad strengthened from that which ended the last campaign in eighteenth place, and on Saturday become the first side to welcome new Crawley Town Manager Harry Kewell and his squad to East Court. Fixtures: Sat July 8, Crawley Town (H); Tues July 11, Croydon (A); Sat July 15, Woking XI (H); Tues July 18, Tunbridge Wells (A); Sat July 22, Merstham (A); Tues July 25, Lordswood (A); Sat July 29, Eastbourne Utd (A); Tues 1 August, Margate (H); Sat 5 August, Tooting & Mitcham Utd (H).

Enfield Town: Supporter owned Town will have big hopes of success this season after just missing out last year. Management team Andy Leese and Darren Purse have strengthened both the squad and their background team, but supporters will be particularly interested to see new signings Drew Roberts, Ryan Blake, Sam Youngs, Simon Thomas, Rob Bartley, Joe Wright, and Ryan Blackman- whilst perhaps mourning the loss of Harold Joseph, Nathan McDonald and Percy Kiangebeni. Fixtures: Sat 15 July,Amersham Town (A); Tues 18 July, Haringey Borough (A); Thurs 20 July, Sun Sports (A); Sat 22 July, Skelmersdale (H); Tues 25 July, Cheshunt (A); Sat 29 July, Highgate (A); Tues 1 August, Heybridge Swifts (A); Sat 5 & Tues 8 August- TBC (H)

Faversham Town: Town manager Ray Turner has added five new signings to the squad that finished tenth in the South Division last season, and expressed his confidence that Simon Overland, Sam Lawford, Mark Lovell, Danny Walder and Macauley Murray will provide quality that will help to drive the side forward. Their first test comes rather early, with the visit of Gillingham FC- a match which will also mark the opening of the clubs new changing room pavilion- on Friday. Fixtures: Fri 7 July, Gillingham FC (H- 1930); Sat 15 July, Whitstable (A); Tues 18 July, Margate (H); Sat 22 July, Sheppey Utd (A); Sat 29 July, Canterbury City (H); Sat 5 Aug, Waltham Abbey (A).

Folkestone Invicta: Premier Division Respect Award winners Invicta have retained a settled squad for the forthcoming campaign, although manager Neil Cudgley has added Ade Yusuff and Kieron McCann to the returning Michael Everitt and Scott Heard, and is looking to strengthen further before the big kick off. Highlight of their pre-season calendar is undoubtedly a friendly with Millwall on July 11th. Fixtures: Sun 9 July, Hythe Town (H- 1400); Tues 11 July, Millwall XI (H- 1930); Wed 19 July, Herne Bay (A); Sat 22 July, Dover Ath (H); Tues 25 July, Ashford Utd (A); Sat 29 July, Kings Hill (A); Mon 31 July, Dagenham & Redbridge (H); Sat 5 August, Thamesmead (H).

Grays Athletic: Supporter owned Grays have strengthened enormously since last seasons relegation, signing Jamie Slabber from Welling United, Nicky Eyre from Leiston, Perry Dunn from Thurrock, Barry Cogan (who last season played for Leatherhead and Hastings Utd), Kiernan Hughes-Mason from Hastings Utd and Ade Cole from Leiston. The club will be ground sharing at Aveley this season. Fixtures: Tues 18 July, Hullbridge Sports (A); Tues 25 July, Tilbury (A); Tues 1 August, VCD Athletic (A).

Greenwich Borough: Gary Alexander’s men spent the entirety of last season at the right end of the table, eventually finishing third, before losing out to Corinthian Casuals in a thrilling play-off semi final which featured seven goals. Alexander will undoubtedly expect his side to challenge again, but he may have to strengthen having lost captain Glenn Wilson, midfielder Lewis Spence, forward Robert Denness and highly rated Mohamed Eisa over the summer. Fixtures: Sat 8 July, Club Langley (A-1400); Sat 15 July, Charlton Athletic (H- 1930); Tues 18 July, Beckenham Town (A); Sat 22 July, Leyton Orient; Tues 25 July, Sutton Athletic (A); Fri 28 July, Millwall (H-1930); Tues 1 August, Glebe (A); Sat 5 Aug, Canvey Island (A).

Guernsey: With the Green Lions being based a million miles from anywhere (ok, not quite a million miles, but by goodness it feels like it) in the beautiful Channel Islands, pre-season friendlies are hard to come by. This summer, however, Guernsey are about to be visited by Championship club Bristol City, a match which is to be played on Saturday 8th July, with a 1PM kick off. The relationship between the two clubs stems from the fact that City chairman Stephen Lansdown lives on the island, and, as you can imagine, the South Divisions Community Club of the Year award winners are rather excited about the fixture. Sadly Chairman Nick unreasonably refused your Communications Officer’s offer to visit Guernsey for a fortnight to cover the match, the spoilsport, but we’d all like to wish the Green Lions the best of luck this weekend!

Haringey Borough: The proud recipients of the North Divisions Team of the Season award- and four turnstiles from Tottenham Hotspur (these are not related)- are playing all of their friendlies at home, and are most enthused about the visit of National League Borehamwood on July 11th. Fixtures: Sat July 8, Corinthian Casuals (H); Tues 11 July, Borehamwood (H- 1930); Sat 15 July, Wingate & Finchley (H); Tues 18 July, Enfield Town (H); Sat 22 July, Royston Town (H); Tues 25 July, Barnet Academy (H); Sat 29 July, Kings Langley (H); Sat 5 Aug, FC Romania (H).

Harlow Town: The Hawks, who ended last season only eight points outside the play-off places, have held on to the majority of last year’s squad and made a handful of notable additions. They’ll be no pushovers in the new campaign as they look to improve on last season’s finish. Fixtures: Sat 15 July, Leyton Orient (H); Tues 18 July, Ware (A); Sat 22 July, St Neots (A); Tues 25 July, St Albans City (H); Sat 29 July, TBC Cheshunt tournament (A); Tues 1 Aug, Cambridge City (H); Sat 5 August, Aveley (A).

Harrow Borough: Reprieved from relegation after Worcester City took a voluntary demotion from National League North, Borough will hope to end the forthcoming campaign in a far safer spot. They’ve made a number of signings, including former Norwich and Arsenal U23 full back Arinse Uade, Richard Paquette- who needs no introduction at this level, and Sam Beagle from Hemel Hempstead. Fixtures: Sat 15 July, Kensington Borough (A); Tues 18 July, Burnham (A); Sat 22 July, Spelthorne Sports (A); Tues 25 July, Hayes & Yeading Utd (A); Sat 29 July, Cardiff City (H); Tues 1 August, Beaconsfield (H); Sat 5 August, Egham Town (H); Tues 8 August, Hanwell Town (A).

Hastings United: Last season Hastings United scored an incredible 128 league goals to finish fifth in the South Division, before losing out in the play-offs. They were no slouches at the other end, either, ending with a goal difference of +64, and you’d expect that new manager Adam Hinshelwood will go into the new campaign full of confidence. So far the club have signed Jack Dixon from Lewes and Josh Pelling from Horsham, as well as keeping hold of the majority of the squad from the last campaign. Fixtures: Tues 18 June, AFC Uckfield Town (A); Sat 22 July, Kingstonian (H); Tues 25 July, Eastbourne Town (A); Thurs 27 July, Rochester Utd (A); Sat 29 July, Burgess Hill Town (H); Tues 1 Aug, Chichester City (A); Sat 5 Aug, Worthing (H).

Hendon: Gary McCann has held on to most of last season’s squad and made a few additions, most notably Zak Joseph from Hanwell Town, Ashley Nathaniel-George from Potters Bar Town, and Geo Craig, joining permanently from Luton Town after a loan spell. Fixtures: Tues 11 July, Hanwell Town (H); Sat/Sun 15/16 July, SJP Community Cup, Hemel Hempstead/Hitchin Town/Hayes & Yeading (H- 1300/1530 both days); Sat 22 July, Dunstable Town (A); Tues 25 July, Ebsfleet Utd (H); Sat 29 July, Whitehawk (A); Tues 1 August, Potters Bar Town (A- 1930); Sat 5 August, VCD Athletic (A); Mon 7 August, Hertford Town (H- 1930).

Herne Bay: Bay, who finished seventeenth in the South Division last season, have announced a twenty nine man squad for the forthcoming season, which will hopefully give them enough strength in depth to push on during this campaign. Apparently the future is both bright, as well as being blue and white! Fixtures: Wed 19 July, Folkestone Invicta (H); Tues 25 July, Canterbury City (H); Sat 29 July, Heybridge Swifts (H); Sat 5 Aug, Cheshunt (A).

Hertford Town: The club returns to the Bostik North after fifteen years away, promoted following London Colney’s decision to decline promotion, and are understandably delighted. Promotion wasn’t confirmed until mid June, but manager Gavin Kelsey is confident that the alterations which have had to be made to their recruitment and pre-season schedule won’t hamper the club as they look to consolidate their position- or, perhaps, do a little more than that. Fixtures: Sat 8 July, Codicote FC (A); Tues 11 July, St Margaretsbury (A); Sat 15 July, Stanstead FC (A); Tues 18 July, Takeley FC (A); Sat 22 July, Kings Langley (H); Tues 25 July, Wingate and Finchley (H); Sat 29 July, Cheshunt FC Tournament (A-1100); Tues 1 Aug, Chalfont St Peter (A), Sat 5 Aug, Beaconsfield Town (H); Mon 7 Aug, Hendon (A).

Heybridge Swifts: After escaping relegation only on goal difference last season, Swifts have strengthened greatly and that seems to be breeding confidence within the club and with their supporters. Up front, striker Luke Callander has returned, and alongside him will be two other new signings, Sam Bantick and Harrison Chatting. At the other end, the Scraley Road outfit have signed up experienced stopper Ryan Henshaw. Fixtures: Sat 8 July, Basildon Utd (A); Tues 11 July, Southend Manor (A); Sat 15 July, Barnet (H); Tues 18 July, Chelmsford City (H); Sat 22 July, Burnham Ramblers (A); Tues 25 July, Billericay Town (H); Sat 29 July, Herne Bay (A); Tues 1 Aug, Enfield Town (H), Sat 5 August, Thurrock (H).

Horsham: Horsham finally had the news their supporters had been waiting for at the end of March, when after years of anguish the club were finally given the go-ahead to build a new stadium of their own. For the forthcoming season, however, the Hornets and their Lardy Army will be groundsharing at Culver Road, home of SCFL Premier Lancing and the Sussex County FA. Fixtures: Sat 8 July, Kingstonian (H); Sat 15 July, Burgess Hill Town (H); Fri 21 July, Littlehampton (A); Tues 25 July, Newhaven (A); Sat 29 July, Worthing (A); Tues 1 Aug, Horsham YMCA (A).

Hythe Town: Hythe ended last season just outside the play-off places following their unsuccessful shot at the play-off’s the season before. Perhaps next season will be their turn? Fixtures: Sun 9 July Folkestone Invicta (A- 1400); Sat 15 July Tilbury (H); Tues 18 July, Sheppey Utd (A); Sat 22 July, Peacehaven & Telscombe (A); Tues 25 July, Crowborough Athletic (H); Sat 29 July, Dorking Wanderers (H); Sat 5 August, Bowers & Pitsea (H).

1500 Saturdays and 1945 weekdays, unless stated.

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Moatsiders & Mick part company... Merstham legend- and Assistant Manager- Mick Sullivan leaves by mutual consent

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