With the advent of “sin bins” and a 21 team division, the 2019/20 season promises to be interesting to say the least. I see no reason for sin bins personally as we already have the (admittedly) much maligned “respect” campaign
and dissenters to match officials should simply be cautioned. Quite how this will be policed remains to be seen but if you are going to “trial” this sort of thing, then do it in the professional ranks where you can see dissent on a regular basis
in every game! It's not like we have an excess of officials to run this at this level after all.
We have lost Chertsey Town (champions and promoted) and AFC Hayes and Walton & Hersham (Relegated – see division 1 preview) and
gained Molesey and Egham Town (relegated), Sheerwater and Frimley Green (promoted) and Ascot United (sideways move from the Hellenic League).
This looks a tough season to predict so let's take it one team at a time in alphabetical order.
Abbey Rangers – Very much a club on the up and I am absolutely certain they will be right up there all season having finished 3rd in 2018/19.
Ascot United –
Having lost Windsor to the Hellenic League, I was surprised that Ascot were moved across to the CCL but they are most welcome. The installation of a new artificial pitch (ready in September) may take getting used to but I am sure they pose a threat as newcomers
and a rather unknown quantity.
Badshot Lea – Buoyed by their new stadium in Wrecclesham, The Baggies should improve on last season where they flirted with relegation for much of the season to, eventually, finish
Balham – The South Londoners survived on the final day of the season but they are better than that. That flirtation with relegation should make them stronger this season. 18thlast season (on goal
Banstead Athletic – The A's fell away to finish 8th last season after a fine start. Difficult to assess so early on but there are concerns that the end of season fade just might continue.
Camberley Town – Another team that slipped towards the end of last season, eventually finishing 16th. A marked improvement will be required for a top half finish.
United – There were deep concerns over at Green Lane regarding their ground but they finished 19th and I am expecting a big improvement on that this time around.
Cobham – A comfortable
enough 14th place last season and I see no reason why that cannot be matched or improved on.
Colliers Wood United – Under new management and difficult to assess objectively for obvious reasons. Wood
are the longest serving club in the division and I hope they can maintain that record at the absolute minimum. Finished 13th last season.
Egham Town – Relegated from the Bostik Isthmian (now BetVictor)
South Central Division, The Sarnies must be hoping for a change of fortune after a harrowing campaign including just 4 wins. However, history suggests that relegated clubs need time to adjust to the demotion.
– Having won their appeal to the FA (and quite right too) The Green take their place in the premier division having finished runners up in CCL division 1. There have been lots of improvements at The Rec and they will be looking to consolidate at the
Guildford City - 7th last season and always a competitive side. They will be hoping to improve on that and the return to The Spectrum could be a useful aid.
Villa – Having clawed away from the relegation zone last season to finish 15th, The Villans will be looking for a better start to their campaign and some early momentum.
Knaphill – An
11th place finish last season will have been a disappointment for The Knappers but they are capable of some improvement this time around.
Molesey – Relegated along with Egham Town from the Isthmian League,
their return to the CCL will be a disappointment and it may take a while to come to terms with the demotion.
Raynes Park Vale – Their 5th place finish, their second best ever. (where they came with a
wet sail at the end) augurs well for the Grand Drive outfit who, via the grapevine, may be fitted out with a new ground in the near future. Very much a dark horse this season.
Redhill – Another team that slipped
away (to 12th) and need to be careful so as not to continue a downward spiral. Should be fine though.
Sheerwater – Deserved division 1 champions last season and a great reward for the hard working helmsman,
Trevor Wenden. Playing at Woking again this season ahead of their own new ground soon. Things are looking up for The Sheers.
Southall - 4th last season but always just off the pace. Certainly one of the favourites
for promotion this season.
Spelthorne Sports - 6th place for the Middlesex club last season and they look capable of similar or better this season. Don't write them off.
Common Rovers – Whilst a distant runner up (13 points) to Chertsey last season, no club appears to carry the clout that The Curfews did and, therefore, SCR are deserved favourites for the title this season. Their facilities are a big attraction
to players at this level and, no doubt, Darren Salmon will have been busy through the summer.
So, it's SCR (once again) for me with Abbey Rangers, Southall and Spelthorne to be the main challengers.
I hope you
all have a great season.