The annual who are we going to play next year thread

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The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Sat Mar 24, 2018 8:30 pm

That time has come when we start to look above and below us to see which new teams we might be playing in the league next season. Clearly we're going to make the play-offs and be travelling up-and-down the M5 for those glamour ties with Fylde and Gateshead - but on the vague off-chance that our promotion push falls at the last hurdle, here's quick overview of who might be filling those vacant slots in the National South next term.

The Vanarama National throws up a whole bundle of interesting possibilities - none least that it's looking increasingly likely that we'll be meeting our previous manager's charges in the league next year. Torquay United have been struggling in the bottom few for much of the season, and despite rallying a little of late, still sit nine points clear of safety with 31 points. Stranger things have happened at this time of year, but it's looking pretty bleak for the Devon side.

Interestingly, the rest of the relegation places are currently filled by clubs who are very distinctly Northern, in Guiseley (26), Chester (31) and Solihull Moors (40). The two slots above the dropzone are also looking pretty northy too, with Barrow (40) and Hartlepool (42) looking nervously behind them. However above them Woking (44) are in something of a freefall and could be dragged into trouble at the business end of the season, while Maidstone United (46), Eastleigh (46) and even Leyton Orient (47) from the South aren't completely out of the mire. Should all of them manage to avoid the drop, though, the 3-to-1 North-to-South ratio could throw up some interesting maths a little further down the line.

Onto the Isthmian League, and if you'd asked anyone even a month ago they'd have told you that it was a done deal for moneybags Billericay Town. But all of a sudden the wheels seem to have fallen off Glenn Tamplin's belligerent bandwagon as they've gone an unexpected losing streak, which if it continues could see them failing to get even a play-off place. After all their early season bluster they're now down to third on 70 points and struggling badly, while needing to play at least two games a week for the rest of the season. But of course we'd all feel terribly sorry for them if they failed, now, wouldn't we...

Current table toppers, the troubled Dulwich Hamlet (78), have got over their usual mid-season lull and have hit a terrific run of form just at the right time, and lead the second place side Folkestone Invicta (73), themselves at the back end of a fine run, by five points. Level on points with Billericay in fourth are Margate, who also saw a post-Christmas dash up the table, and filling up the final play-off berth are our FA Trophy vanquishers Hendon on 68. But it's all bunching up behind them with Leiston (68) and Staines Town (66) snapping on their heels. Leatherhead come next on 60 points, but look perhaps a bit too far off the pace to creep into the play-off zone. I don't know about you, but I'll be keeping a very close eye in Billericay's results over the next few weeks, as this could get funny.

Looking to the Southern League, Hereford United are have regained their form after a wobbly few weeks, and lead the table by four points on 89 with a game in hand. In any of the last ten years they'd have automatically gone to National North, but if the National Premier retains its Northern flavour at the bottom they could very well be coming South on their quest to get back into the glorious 92 as soon as they can.

Our old pals Kings Lynn sit steadfastly in second on 85, and despite their apparently Northerly position, sit right on the cusp of the North/South buffer zone, so we could very easily be seeing them again should they either catch Hereford or get through the play-offs. In the other play-off places, that trusty old yo-yo club Weymouth sit third (81), with another familiar face in Kettering Town (79) in fourth. This quartet seem almost certain to progress to the next stage at least, as the final side in the slots, Slough Town, sit eight points behind on 71. However, with two or three games in hand on anyone who could danger them from below, only a miracle could propel Tiverton Town (63), Chesham United (62), Banbury United (61) or Royston Town (61) into a play-off place.

But that's not all. Things could get troublesome for Strudwick's Fag Packet should a team like Kettering or Leiston go up, which would mean that the North/South balance of the upwardly and downwardly mobile sides is completely off kilter. Last year that saw us get Gloucester back, so who might be in line for the switch should things get wonky? Looking at the map, Brackley Town would be first on the list to make the shift, although they're still in with a good shout of making their play-offs. Should that happen, Leamington are the next nearest, with Kidderminster Harriers not far beyond them, both of which would make a nice change with the away trips.

So who among that lot would you like to play next season (if, of course, we don't go up)? There's some pretty interesting potentials among them!

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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by LB on Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:03 pm

I think realistically the play offs let alone promotion are probably beyond us now - if Hereford and Torquay are in National South next season then, along with Chippenham, we should have three guaranteed 1000+ gates, even if the league does insist on arranging them for a Tuesday!

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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by comrade powell on Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:41 pm

Excellent summary, Roy. I predict within a week you'll be posting your famous map again in frustration!

My hopes...

Torquay (bring 'em on!)
Woking
Dulwich
Margate
Hereford
Weymouth
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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Freeview Joe on Sat Mar 24, 2018 9:58 pm

I've had my eye on Orient too Mr Hacksaw, it would be great to see The O's at Twerton, though I think they will retain their Conference status again next season. I do think we will be definitely welcoming Torquay though, and if Hereford decide to join us in the NLS, it'll be fantastic to see them too (wistfully recalling Paul Batty's screamer Smile)

I for one would love to see Kettering Town back in Twerton-Upon-Avon. From what I remember they never brought too many fans with them, but didn't a bunch used to turn up dressed in Mexican sombreros and with a trumpet? if they're still about, it would be lovely to hear their rendition of Guantanamera again (Or their sombre strains of The Last Post the time City beat them 3-0) ... Although I might be wrong ... It could have been Runcorn Very Happy
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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Luton Roman on Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:24 pm

All adds up to a stronger league than this season.

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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by stillmanjunior on Sat Mar 24, 2018 10:44 pm

Glenn Tamplin walked out of Billericay's defeat at Hendon today near the end. Which isn't a bad move, as it makes all the attention on him again, which he craves. And has achieved here as I've mentioned it.
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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Bluebird on Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:10 pm

That's a great read Mr Hacksaw. Would you mind if I put your report on the Chippenham forum?

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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by comrade powell on Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:31 pm

I bet you wouldn't have posted that request if you'd lost on Saturday! Very Happy But results then make Poole clear favourites for the drop. Will be a pity to lose 3 south coast clubs but a consolation if we don't go up is looking forward to 2 games with Chipp (hopefully at Xmas/New Year)
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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Bluebird on Mon Mar 26, 2018 12:48 pm

You're probably right there Comrade! I think we've got enough in the tank to get safe. One more win might even be enough. I'd rather Concord drop than Poole of course.

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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Freeview Joe on Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:28 pm

Bluebird wrote:You're probably right there Comrade!  I think we've got enough in the tank to get safe.  One more win might even be enough.  I'd rather Concord drop than Poole of course.  

I think it's great that it looks like Chippenham will be playing in the NLS next season, a credit to their management team and players. We had two superb games against each other this season (albeit a bit of a difficult watch for the home fans in both Very Happy) but the bumper crowds and atmosphere at both Twerton and Hardenhuish Parks were fantastic. If we can help each other out by putting bums on seats at games and generating a few quid for each club, all the better.

I've even popped down to see a couple of games at Fortress HP this season, and although not quite witnessing the free-flowing total football I'm used to at Twerton Wink I thought the games I saw were great (the Chelmsford game was fantastic.)
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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by comrade powell on Mon Mar 26, 2018 1:37 pm

Well said, Joe. We badly need these local derbies and the ones with Chipp seem like real ones.


Last edited by comrade powell on Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Bluebird on Mon Mar 26, 2018 3:12 pm

Couldn't agree more. The two games between us were memorable, for different reasons obviously. I've been watching Chippenham since I was literally a toddler (I'll be 50 + vat at the end of the year) and I've never seen such a complete performance over 90 minutes than the one we produced at Twerton in August. As good as we were then, we were as poor in the return but that's football ain't it? After spending 15 years trying to get out of the Southern Prem we'd like to stick around in the National South. It's a great league I reckon, I've thoroughly enjoyed it so far, with the odd exception of course.
I do recognise the odd City fan at HP from time to time, not least Ken Loach. Not that he's odd, but you know what I mean. I'll get my coat.

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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by the demon headmaster on Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:32 pm

I'm being greedy:
Leyton Orient
Torquay
Dulwich
Hereford
Weymouth

With Chips safe in mid-table (below us) Very Happy

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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Mon Mar 26, 2018 4:42 pm

Bluebird wrote:That's a great read Mr Hacksaw.  Would you mind if I put your report on the Chippenham forum?

No worries at all, Mr Bluebird!

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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Thu Mar 29, 2018 8:57 pm

Billericay news. Two big wins on Monday and Wednesday have dragged them back into second, level on points with Folkestone and two points behind Dulwich with three games in hand. This might not be over - although I think they've still got four games to play in the next nine days, so anything could happen!


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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Palms on Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:40 pm

Torquay, Weymouth, Hereford, Billericay and Staines please
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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by BenE on Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:29 pm

Looks like Torquay are making a belated fist of trying to stay up. Lemonhaigh Evans getting the winner on Tuesday.

It looked nailed on that we would be playing them next season only last week.
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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by kermit on Thu Apr 05, 2018 9:49 pm

BenE wrote:Looks like Torquay are making a belated fist of trying to stay up. Lemonhaigh Evans getting the winner on Tuesday.

It looked nailed on that we would be playing them next season only last week.
Keep the faith Bennie, we might even play them if they complete the Great Escape 3........unlikely I accept.
I still think they will be relegated, but it may well be very close. Trouble is, while we would all welcome a weekend in Torquay, it would surely be a midweek fixture in either league.
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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by BenE on Fri Apr 06, 2018 4:08 pm

Yes too true
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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:20 pm

Two weeks on and we're still nowhere near knowing who'll be coming up and down to the Conference South next season - should we still be here, of course!

In the Conference National, Chester from the North were relegated today, and Guiseley (also North) are very likely to join them in the next week or so, which leaves two places left to avoid. Torquay are now third from the bottom with 37 points after rallying over the last few weeks. This now leaves them only seven points from safety with five left to play. A hard task, but still not entirely beyond the realms.

In the final slot, and nearest to safety are Barrow (North) on 41, who dropped into the danger zone after a good away win by Solihull Moors (North) left them on 44 points. Above them are Woking (South), who've been in something of a freefall over the last couple of months, although a battling draw today put them onto 45 points. I still wouldn't rule them out of a return to the Southern division if their poor form continues though.

Above them are Maidstone (South), also struggling for form on 47, Hartlepool (North) on 48 and Maidenhead (South) on 49. Everyone upward of them is on 50 or above and nine points clear of the relegation quadrant, so it's reasonably safe to assume that nobody else will be drawn in.

So unless Woking continue their poor run, we could very well be getting just the one Southern side coming down from above next term - and if Torquay somehow do manage to escape, things could get even more interesting when it comes to reordering the junior Vanarama leagues next season.

The Southern League is looking more stable, with Hereford (98) now six points clear of second place King's Lynn (92) with a game in hand. Filling the other three slots below them sit Weymouth (90), Kettering (85) and Slough (83). This is increasingly looking like being the final five, as their nearest rivals, Royston and Tiverton both languish 13 points behind the upzone on 70 points a piece.

Now this little list could potentially cause problems for the famous fag packet. Kettering would always go North, and King's Lynn would most probably head in the same direction - although they're right on the cusp. But it's looking increasingly possible that Hereford would now come south, which I wouldn't mind at all. But again, this all depends on the upward and downward mobility of the other two leagues.

The Isthmian, however, has been the scene of much drama over the last fortnight, and at this point it's impossible to call any of its potential promotion and play-off participants. After a clear two months of terrible results, Billericay have suddenly turned the form table on its head and gone on a terrific unbeaten streak, despite playing at least three games a week over the last two weeks. They now head the table on 82 points, two clear of Folkestone, who had a big win today to go into second on 80, while a draw for Dulwich Hamlet pushed them back to third on 79. However, both Billericay and Dulwich have two games in hand on the south coast side, which could go in their favour come the final run in.

Below this threesome are Hendon and Margate, each on 75, who both had big wins today. Beneath them and outside the play-off slots are Staines and Leiston (both on 69) and Leatherhead on 68. Staines though seem the most likely to make the jump, having three games in hand on Margate above them.

But the form of everyone in the top five has been so variable that I wouldn't want to predict anything at all in the South-Easterly division.

And then of course we might be getting into the situation where we'll claw someone back from Vanarama North, but there's so many possible permutations there that it's probably best leaving ita couple of weeks before we look too closely at that - although Brackley, Leamington and possibly even Kidderminster wouid be the most likely.

However it works, we could have some very interesting new away games next term - should we somehow manage to avoid getting promoted, of course...





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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Sat Apr 21, 2018 5:01 pm

Barring resignations and expulsions, Torquay have just been relegated!

Woking, meanwhile, are hanging on by the skin of their teeth!

More news later when I’ve done all the maths!

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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Roy D Hacksaw on Sun Apr 22, 2018 5:35 pm

So sadly yesterday's result means that we're resigned to another season in the National League South, but it's looking increasingly like there could be some pretty interesting sides joining us next year.

The biggest news of the lot is that Gary Owers' Torquay United have finally lost their brave last-ditch battle to stay in national football. They're now seven points shy of safety with two to play, so are doomed to play in what could become in an incredibly competitive *add name of new sponsor here* South next term.

Elsewhere in the National, Chester City and Guiseley are definitely down, and will head North, so the last place up for grabs has become a straight battle between Woking and Barrow. They're level on points, but Barrow have a game in hand and a superior goal difference, so on paper Woking, who've suffered a terrible run of form of late, must be favourites for the big plunge, despite a battling win yesterday.

A month ago they looked safe, and it seemed certain that we'd get three Northern clubs out of the four in the drop zone. But if they do descend back to our level it could make the divvying out of divisions even more complicated - although theoretically Solihull Moors can still go down, but there would have to be a seriously weird run of results for that to happen.

Onto the Southern League, and Hereford United got to parade the enormous wooden shield around the pitch yesterday as they were confirmed as champions. But whether they join us or not next year is now down to the results elsewhere.

The play-off line up has been confirmed for a couple of weeks now, but it's still unclear who'll be playing who as it's pretty tight between the four clubs. As it stands, King's Lynn Town sit in second with 97 points and a game to go. Kettering Town are next with 94 and two left. Then come Weymouth, also on 94, only with a worse goal difference and just the one to play, while Slough Town bring up the rear on 93, but with two games to play. So there's still everything to play for, and there could very easily be a Southern League play-off final where both of the competing sides would go North.

The Isthmian League however still has everything to play for with a week to go. Billericay Town's rollercoaster run-in leaves them four points clear with two to play, but they can't afford any slip ups as Dulwich Hamlet also have six potential points left to play for. Both sides have comparatively easy midweek matches against lower table sides who'll surely already have their flip flops on, but both have massive home games on Saturday against sides who really need to win.

Billericay play third place Folkestone Invicta, who can cement their position ready for the knockout stages, while Dulwich are also at home, to Margate, for who only a win will give them any chance of making the play-offs.

In fourth place sit Hendon, who despite being three clear of the chasing pack on 79 points must be nervously looking over their shoulders as Leiston in fifth, Margate in sixth and Leatherhead in seventh all wait poised on 79 points. And with two left to play, Staines Town aren't mathematically out of it, although it would require another run of curious fortune at all the other clubs for them to stand a chance.

And of course, it must be remembered that Leiston hail from the weird East Anglian borderlands, so it's unclear at which point of the compass they'll be playing should they manage to win their play-offs - which in turn could have knock-on effects for many of the other North/South orientations this year.

A week left of the regular season and we still only know Torquay for sure - and even then they could very easily go out of business between now and then. So who know's what's going to happen!

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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by kermit on Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:38 pm

Great stuff as usual Roy.
Slightly off topic here, but you are the expert at these things, so what happened at Go Sport yesterday?
They are battling it out with Gerry Dolan's Dunstable for the relegation berth out of the Southern Prem, and yesterday they beat Frome Town 7-0 to leap frog Dunstable on equal points, equal goal difference, but no surprise here, more goals scored.
Now call me a sceptic, but that all looks a bit suspect to me........I wonder whether the bookies in Frome took a hammering yesterday!
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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by LB on Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:46 pm

Agree with Rob, excellent stuff Roy - will be interesting to see how it pans out over the next couple of weeks.

As for Rob’s question about Frome, apparently both the manager and his assistant have left and at least one player - Jon Davies once of these parts, has gone as well (to Melksham). Interestingly, Frome are playing Dunstable on Saturday so might return the favour!

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Re: The annual who are we going to play next year thread

Post by Ashley on Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:31 pm

I think I saw that Frome only had 10 players too. Not sure what’s gone wrong there but clearly in trouble.
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