Following the Bostik Premier League fixtures being released and ahead of the new season, we’ve previewed the opponents we will face this season. In Part One, we look at teams between A and H in the league.
AFC Hornchurch (The Urchins)
Ground – Hornchurch Stadium, Upminster, RM14 2LX
Last Season – 1st (Promoted from Isthmian League North)
Home Match – Saturday 1st December (3PM)
Away Match – Saturday 13th April (3PM)
Hornchurch are back in the Bostik Premier Division after storming to the Bostik North title last season, winning it with a 13 point gap over second placed Potters Bar Town. Crucial to the title challenge last season was 22 goals from Striker George Purcell and no doubt fans of The Urchins will be hoping he can emulate the same form this season. A familiar name for Hawks fans is Christian Assombalonga, who previously had a loan spell at The TerraPura Ground. A blow in the off-season was captain Elliot Styles retiring after a staggering 541 appearances in a Hornchurch shirt, though they have already added former Maidenhead forward Sean Marks to the squad for some added experience. The Hawks have never previously played The Urchins.
Bishop’s Stortford (The Blues)
Ground – ProKit UK Stadium, Bishop’s Stortford, CM23 5RG
Last Season – 18th (Transferred from Southern Premier League)
Home Match – Saturday 30th March (3PM)
Away Match – Saturday 17th November (3PM)
The Blues will keep things a little bit more local this season after being moved from the Southern League into the Bostik Premier Division. Following their relegation into the division last season and finishing in a disappointing 18th place. During the off-season, they have confirmed that experienced Forward Jamie Cureton will remain with the club. The Hawks last played The Blues in the 16/17 season, winning both games with a 1-0 result at The TerraPura Ground and a 3-0 victory at Woodside Park courtesy of a Danny Mills hattrick.
Bognor Regis Town (The Rocks)
Ground – Nyewood Lane, Bognor Regis, PO21 2TY
Last Season – 22nd (Relegated from National League South)
Home Match – Tuesday 1st January (3PM)
Away Match – Monday 22nd April (3PM)
Ah Bognor, a side we know all too well! Like ourselves, The Rocks were relegated after a disappointing season in the National League South. It’s been a Summer of change at Nyewood Lane, with Assistant Manager Darin Killpartrick leaving along with a few other key players. Former Portsmouth Coach Robbie Blake has came in as a replacement and brings a large amount of experience. Some key players who were involved in the 16/17 promotion campaign have signed back on, with more new faces being promised by the backroom staff. Matches between us featured plenty of goals last season with a 2-2 draw at The TerraPura Ground and a 6-2 Bognor victory at the Nye Camp.
Brightlingsea Regent (The R’s)
Ground – Taydal Stadium, Brightlingsea, CO7 0PL
Last Season – 20th
Home Match – Saturday 13th October (3PM)
Away Match – Saturday 2nd February (3PM)
A respectable first season in the Bostik Premier Division as The R’s finished 20th, with 24 goals from Billy Hunt being a vital part of this. Fans will also be delighted that Hunt will remain at the Taydal Stadium for the new season as well. Many key players from last seasons side have committed for their 18/19 campaign and manager Tom Rothery has made new additions as the side located in the village of Brightlingsea, 10 miles outside of Colchester, look to push on further. Unsurprisingly given their rise from the county leagues over recent years, The Hawks and The R’s have never played each other.
Burgess Hill Town (The Hillians)
Ground – Green Elephants Stadium, Burgess Hill, RH15 8DL
Last Season – 23rd
Home Match – Saturday 15th December (3PM)
Away Match – Saturday 1st September (3PM)
Another side we know very well given the amount of links between us! Manager Ian Chapman is a former Hawks boss, Forward Lucas Rodrigues has had a couple of loan spells there and Summer signings Connor Tighe and Tom Cadman both featured for The Hawks last season. The Hillians survived on the final day of the season, with Tooting & Mitcham United going down instead. Looking to avoid a repeat season, they’ve signed on a large chunk of last seasons squad and added Worthing Strikers Ben Pope and Kieron Pamment along with the experienced Defender Gary Charman. The last competitive clash between us was a Sussex Senior Cup tie in December 2016 where The Hawks came back from 2-0 down to make it 2-2 after 90 minutes and to allow Lucas Rodrigues to score the winner to make it 3-2.
Carshalton Athletic (The Robins)
Ground – War Memorial Sports Ground, Carshalton, SM5 2PW
Last Season – 1st (Promoted from Isthmian League South)
Home Match – Saturday 26th January (3PM)
Away Match – Saturday 6th October (3PM)
Carshalton managed to just about see off Lewes to seal the Bostik South title on the final day of the season with 102 points. Last seasons top scorer Mickel Miller left Colston Avenue in January for Hamilton in Scotland, but 16-goal Forward Raheem Sterling-Parker has signed on for the new season along with the majority of the title-winning team as Bostik South 17/18 Manager of the year (and also still a Robins player) Peter Adenyi looks to push back towards Step 2, where they last played in 2006. The Hawks and The Robins last faced off in our 12/13 Ryman Premier League winning campaign, with us winning 1-0 Away in Carshalton and 3-0 at Home on our way to the title.
Corinthian Casuals (Casuals)
Ground – King George’s Field, Tolworth, KT6 7NA
Last Season – 5th (Promoted from Isthmian League South)
Home Match – Saturday 27th April (3PM)
Away Match – Saturday 22nd September (3PM)
Corinthian Casuals have found themselves in the unusual, but welcome, position of being promoted despite losing the Bostik South Playoff Final on penalties against Walton Casuals. However, due to resignation of Thurrock from the Isthmian League and results in other playoff finals, Casuals were the highest placed losing finalist and found them promoted. The Hawks and Casuals last faced each other during out 11/12 Ryman South title winning season, with us winning 3-0 at Home and 3-2 Away.
Dorking Wanderers (Wanderers)
Ground – Meadowbank Stadium, Dorking, RH4 1DX
Last Season – 14th
Home Match – Saturday 12th January (3PM)
Away Match – Saturday 2nd October (3PM)
After a £5 Million upgrade and a few delays, Wanderers will start the season at the upgraded Meadowbank Stadium, previously the home of now dissolved Dorking FC, in the centre of Dorking after 10 years playing on the outskirts in Westhumble. On the field, Dorking have shown serious intent to compete at the top of the division after signing Forward Jason Prior from National League South Champions Havant & Waterlooville, along with former Hawks Defender Sami El-Abd. Much like The Hawks, Dorking have had a quick rise through the non-league pyramid from the Sussex County League and as a result we have never previously faced each other.
Enfield Town (The Towners)
Ground – Queen Elizabeth II Stadium, Enfield, EN1 3PL
Last Season – 17th
Home Match –Saturday 9th March (3PM)
Away Match – Saturday 20th October (3PM)
After losing in the Playoff Semi-Finals in the 16/17, The Towners finished in a disappointing 17th position last season. Looking to improve on this, Enfield pulled off a coup in bringing prolific striker Billy Bricknell to his hometown club, after scoring 37 goals in the 17/18 season as Billericay became Bostik Premier League champions. They’ve also brought back Defender Taofiq Olomowewe, who was on loan from Wealdstone last season. The Hawks last faced The Towners in the 12/13 season, with a 3-1 win Away at Donkey Lane and a 6-0 win at Home.
Folkestone Invicta (Invicta)
Ground – Cheriton Road, Folkestone, CT19 5JU
Last Season – 4th
Home Match – Saturday 24th November (3PM)
Away Match – Saturday 6th April (3PM)
Invicta are coming off an impressive season after finishing 4th to qualify for the Playoffs, though they lost 4-0 Away at Hendon. Striker Ade Yusuff contributed 27 goals last season and Folkestone will be hoping he can have a similar scoring record during the 18/19 season. Invicta have also made the signings of experienced Midfielder Jack Evans and the permanent re-signing of Striker Johan ter Horst, who after coming through the youth system was snapped up by then Premier League side Hull City. The Hawks and Invicta last faced off in the Ryman South in 11/12, with Folkestone winning 1-0 at The TerraPura Ground and The Hawks winning 3-0 Away at Cheriton Road.
Haringey Borough (The Borough)
Ground – Coles Park, Tottenham, N17 7JP
Last Season – 4th (Promoted from Isthmian League North)
Home Match – Saturday 15th September (3PM)
Away Match – Saturday 5th January (3PM)
The Borough have been promoted to the Bostik Premier Division for the first time after a 3-1 win over Canvey Island in the Bostik North Playoff Final at Coles Park last season. Haringey were playing in the Essex Senior League as recent as 2015. Last season also saw Borough make their first appearance in the FA Trophy 1st Round, narrowly being defeated by Leyton Orient 2-1 in front of 1,133. Striker Ralston Gabriel netted 21 goals last season, but they’ll miss his goals as he’s moved on to St Albans City. The Hawks and Borough have never previously faced each other.
Harlow Town (The Hawks)
Ground – The Harlow Arena, Harlow, CM19 5BE
Last Season – 21st
Home Match – Saturday 11th August (3PM)
Away Match – Saturday 23rd February (3PM)
We have a couple of things in common with Harlow Town; we both play in Red and White and are nicknamed The Hawks! The Hawks of Harlow are coming off a disappointing season, finishing just above where the relegation zone would have been had there not have been the league restructuring. Things haven’t improved in the off season with last seasons top scorer Alex Read and Midfielder Jared Small both leaving to join Tonbridge Angels and Captain Craig Pope departing after three seasons. Manager Danny Chapman, who has also just stepped down from his Director of Football role at the club to concentrate on the First Team, will be looking to replace these key players as soon as possible. The Hawks (IE us) and The Hawks (IE them) have never previously faced each other.