The League programme gets underway on Saturday, 18 August with a full programme of League fixtures, writes John Turner.
League numbers are slightly up on last season with an increase of six new teams that have joined us as. As a result, competition is likely to be fierce in the return to the format of four Divisions with no regionalisation this season.
Division 1 has a new look about it with the top four teams from last season’s Division 2 joining the eight surviving teams for the new campaign. They are joined by Briston, UEA A, Norwich Medics and Castle Acre Swifts Res. Of the teams from last season, the League Champions Longham and the runners up Dereham Taverners will be among the teams to beat. The Division 2 champions, Briston, will want to build on their excellent debut season and the three new teams competing in the top Division for the first time are all likely to make an impact. In terms of the remaining teams from last season, Watton Utd. Res. and Rockland Utd. ought to do well while Mulbarton Wanderers A and Hethersett Athletic will both be looking to move from the bottom half of the table to the top half and Shipdham will want to improve on their bottom two position last time out.
Division 2 also has a partly new look to it from last season with three newcomers from Division 3 joining the remaining teams from last season. The three promoted teams are Redgrave Rangers, Briston Res. and Gressenhall. Of the teams from last season, Bridgham Utd, Hockering and Yaxham all did well and will be looking to build on that platform for the coming season. The remaining six teams of Dereham Taverners Res., Dussindale Rovers Res., Brandon Town Res., Tacolneston Res., Bar 33 and Mundford Exiles were covered by less than 10 points between them and all will all be looking to improve on their positions from last season. Given the new look to this Division, it is likely to produce strong competition for the honours at the end of the season.
The new Division 3 is an amalgam of the top teams from the two regionalised Divisions from last season together with two of the new teams from those elected to the League for this season. Based on last season’s positions, likely high fliers will be Longham Res., AFC Weeting, Hingham Athletic Res., Cockers and Wensum Albion. Those looking to improve on last season will be Bowthorpe Rovers, Home Care Utd., Bacton. The two newcomers are Feltwell Utd. and Horsford Utd. Res. both of whom should be capable of mounting a challenge for honours given their background.
Division 4 also has a new look in that five of the new teams will join the five teams who did not make the cut from the two Division 3 regionalised divisions.
These are Bar 33 Res., Colkirk, Hockering Res., Narborough Res. and Necton Res. The new teams are Hempnall Res., Litcham and Sprowston Athletic Res. together with Rockland Utd. Res. who have returned to the League after having to withdraw during last season.
It will be interesting to see what effect the new teams will have on the race for Divisional honours.