TROWBRIDGE & DISTRICT LEAGUE SEASON PREVIEW: New boys look to cause a shock (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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TROWBRIDGE & DISTRICT LEAGUE SEASON PREVIEW: New boys look to cause a shock
9:00am Friday 30th August 2013 in Sport
SATURDAY afternoon will signal the start of the l116th season of the Trowbridge & District Football League, sponsored by Trowbridge Windows & Conservatories.
With the loss of three of last term's big guns in Boomsbury, Melksham Town Reserves and Seend United, this seasons battle to become Division One champions could be one of the most open in recent times.
Among the favourites to finish top of the pile next May are North Bradley, who have former Trowbridge Town boss Chris Carr back alongside Paul Ranger and a host of new players at their disposal.
The villagers kick off their campaign at home to Westbury United Reserves.
Semington Magpies, who finished bottom last season, face a tricky opener at home to Freshford United. Both teams have brought in a clutch of new signings but, for the first time in 40 years, United will be without Hughie Fulton.
New manager Chris Birleson has a hard act to follow will be hoping that the likes of Mark Gerrish, Dan Folwler and Tom Rooney will bring him an opening-day victory.
Under Neil Taylor, Steeple Ashton, who suffered relegation from the top flight two seasons ago, made an immediate return after finishing as second division runners up last term and host Bradford United first up.
After winning the title in 2012, Trowbridge Wanderers should have been relegated at the end of the last campaign but they were saved from the drop due to their Reserves being in Division Two. They host Castle Combe in their opener.
Calne Eagles can look forward to their first taste of first division football with a trip to Warminster Town Reserves. Eagles finished with a bang last term, winning six from eight in the title run-in.
AFTER losing both Levi's and Broughton Gifford in pre-season only 10 sides will battle it out for top spot.
Two sides tipped to do well go head-to-head on the day at Bobbins Lane where Mark Hurkett’s Westwood News, who cruised to the third division title last term, entertain Matt Rusling’s Trowbridge Wanderers Reserves, who were impressive last season.
The fixture programme has thrown up a few interesting local derbies, none more intriguing than the game between Heytesbury and Westbury Town, who both enter the campaign with new-look sides.
Westbury took four out of a possible six points from the two encounters last term.
Both Lacock and Bradford United Reserves are new to the division but no strangers to each other.
Lacock, who finished as third division runners up back in May, won the corresponding clash last season 3-2 after Bradford had beaten them 2-1 earlier in the season.
With Dave Jenkins taking over the manager’s role from Ralph McCaldon at Trowbridge Town Reserves, great things are expected from the Bees this season.
Jenkins' side closed out the previous campaign with a 3-2 loss at the hands of the Fleece, whom they meet again in Saturday's opener.
Worton & Cheverell host fellow villagers Bratton, the two meetings last term yielding 13 goals.
ALL six of the league’s new sides will be in action at the weekend.
Four of the third division newcomers have been paired together, Zeals hosting White Horse.
Both sides may be unknown qualities, but White Horse under the guidance of Pete Ayton and oozing quality in the likes of former Westbury men Paul Beavers, Ross Parker and Mark Young to name just a few, look as if they will be the team to beat.
Holt, who were in the league just a couple of the seasons ago, return to the fray by welcoming Trowbridge Rangers to their base on the High Street.
Ben Hogg is in charge of the villagers and has raided former side North Bradley and Bradford United for players.
Fellow newcomers The Lamb Reserves, made up of a number of youngsters, will welcome Lavington0based Drummer Boy to Whaddon Lane for their debut in the league.
The Stiffs managed to pick up just six points in the last campaign, four of them coming from their games with Polenez Westbury, so Ade Giles side will be looking to kick-off with an opening day win when the teams lock horns at the Stallards this weekend.
United FC had a mixed set of results last term so they will be hoping that the visit of former Wiltshire League side Marshfield can see them get off to a winning start.
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