County League loses its status

Saturday sees the Bedfordshire County Football League season kick off with the Premier Division section having in effect lost its Level Seven status within the Football Association Pyramid due to the withdrawal of Ickwell & Old Warden, Biggleswade United Reserves and Southill Alexander.

The proposed 15 club line-up this season is already down to 14 following the withdrawal of Leighton United, their link-up with Dunstable Town having failed to materialise to leave the club without any players, thus the league’s attempt to regain its Level Seven status is already in turmoil without a ball being kicked.

However the top-flight will kick off with a programme of six games this weekend. For reigning champions Blunham, who have not been without their own problems this summer, the season commences at Steppingley Road where they journey to face Flitwick Town in their quest to become the first side since Caldecote at the turn of the decade to win three top flight titles on the bounce. And if Blunham are not going to achieve their aim, then who will win the title?

For many people the answer would be Shefford Town & Campton, last seasons runners up, they start the season by making their way to the Carlsberg Stadium to face Dunton.However, one should never rule out the chances of Caldecote and Renhold United who start their campaigns by going head to head at Harvey Close.

Having had their best season for many a year last term, Wilshamstead could well be the season’s dark horses, they commence their campaign with a visit to Miller Road to take on newly promoted and last seasons Division One champions Bedford Hatters.

For the second promoted side, Potton Wanderers, its home action at Mill Lane against Sharnbrook. The visitors being another club in crisis resulting in them withdrawing their Division Three championship winning reserves side from the league due to lack of players.

The other top flight action is due at the Armadillo Stadium where Arlesey Town Reserves who are expected to have a much better season this term entertain AFC Kempston Town & Bedford College and at Oakley Playing Fields where Oakley Sports play hosts to Woburn.

Division One action sees a programme of just three games. The game of the day in this section perhaps being at Hurst Grove, the venue where newly promoted Lidlington United Sports host a Luton Boys side (formerly Luton Old Boys) who could well be the dark horses this season to challenge for a promotion spot.

For another of the promoted sides, Westoning, its home action at Greenfield Road against Caldecote Reserves. Whilst last season’s third place club Marston Shelton Rovers will be entertaining Henlow at their Playing Field headquarters.

Division Two sees a programme of six games. For many the title favourites are Elstow Abbey. They commence their campaign with a visit to Mowsbury Park to face Queens Park Crescents. Whilst last season’s Division Four champions AFC Turvey having been promoted two divisions, start their new season with a trip on the road to face Bromham United.

For Clifton, at their new home at Biggleswade United’s Second Meadow, it’s a visit from Stopsley Park. Mowsbury Park also stage the action between hosts Pavenham and their fellow newly promoted visitors M & DH Oakley.

The day’s other two games in this section comes at Rectory Road, where Shefford Town & Campton Reserves host Great Barford and in Stockwood Park, the venue for Sundon Park Rangers home clash with Marabese Ceramics.

In the six game Division Three programme, many eyes will be focussed on the clash at Renhold Playing Fields between perhaps two of the leading contenders for the 2011/12 league title, hosts Renhold Village taking on league newcomers Sundon Park Colts.

For last season’s Division Four runners-up Goldington, life in Division Three begins with a trip to Cutler Hammer to take on relegated hosts Kempston Hammers Sports and life in this section for both Dinamo Flitwick and Potton Town commences when they clash with each other at Hinksley Recreation Ground.

Elsewhere, for another of this season’s new Division Three sides Eastcotts, its home action at their new home at Wootton Blue Cross’ Weston Park against Royal Oak Kempston.

The other action in this section seeing Cranfield United Reserves host Flitwick Town Reserves at Crawley Road and Westoning Reserves make the short journey for some local derby action at Jubilee Playing Fields against Wilshamstead Reserves.

In Division Four, most eyes in the earlier weeks usually fall upon the league newcomers and this term there are five.

Bedford Panthers will travel to face Goldington Hammers in Mowsbury Park; Dunton ‘A’ entertain relegated Shefford Town & Campton ‘A’ at Horseshoes Close; Marsh Leys journey to Wootton Village while Dinamo Flitwick Reserves make their way to Hillgrounds for a meeting with Kempston Athletic.

The fifth side, Ickwell & Old Warden Reserves, can hardly be called newcomers, having played under that guise in Division One last term. Following the demise of their first team, they have a trip to Stewartby Village.

The other action in this section coming in the form of a local derby at Bedford Road Recreation Ground between Sandy Reserves and their visitors Clifton Reserves while Hillgrounds stages the clash between hosts Bedford Park Rangers and Caldecote ‘A’. Action then moves to Wednesday evening when Ickwell & Old Warden Reserves will host Dunton ‘A’ in a 6.15pm kick off on The Green.