At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking that there is a conspiracy theory at work that allows teams to be so dominant in a particular division. But this is no-ones fault. We cannot force a team into promotion and certainly not one who thinks they haven’t earned the right to be there. I am in a good position in knowing some of the characters involved in the leading teams at Division One level and their stories should be understood rather than glossed over and tossed away without relevance.

At the helm we have Hillford, quite simply the leading lights in Division One, and performing with command that others can only look on and begrudgingly admire what they have achieved.  Dominance in a recent catch up cup final, 100% in the league. What is there that cannot be thrown at them that will do them justice?  But they have always sought to do it in stages. It’s not their fault that the league had to realign some divisions. Much the same story with Debden Sports really. No need to push their teams before they are ready. There’s no doubting the quality they have on the day, but it is much more than that. It’s resources, it’s performing to that level week in week out, that’s the difference. I am a big admirer of the coaching available to each of these teams, I speak to them often and see their strengths and weaknesses, on & off the field. They are where they are on merit and seek only to advance on what happens on the field. not so long ago, they were at a much lower level and much damage would be had in taking one step too quickly. Age is against one setup, whereby the opposite is almost certainly a consideration for the others.

Loxford Lions will have surprised everyone but themselves, an impressive set of results have pushed them through to second place and a realistic chance of promotion should they manage to continually pillage the points against all foes.

But, there’s a few teams in between we need to discuss. BSL came to us and brought a whole different outfit to the equation. Playing  football that has brought them a balanced return, reports tell us they are s serious contender for this year. Maybe the league has let them down, inadvertently through various reasons out of our control. It surely has affected their run, so hopefully, upon resumption, the run of games will unleash their potential. 

 

Newbury Forest Sunday Reserves have also had to put up with the smelly end of the stick. Utterly dominant in their previous interrupted season, the missing league winners medal has inspired them to a cup final against superior opposition, and now threatens to support a serious assault on the podium spots and a place in the record books. Ultimately though, they have the tools to be such a nuisance, tasting defeat in one one of their four games so far.

South Ilford Catholics, one of our most perennial teams, develop from year to year, reaching finals and enjoying the accolades that come their way. they may not lift every trophy they go for, but they always have a chance, surprising many of us through commitment and talent just when they need it. Not afraid to mix it with any level of opposition, their spirit within their own camp is much admired my many of us.

 

Rainham WMC have to be applauded, as they accepted the challenge of “promotion” based upon our realignment and their own nucleus of talent which gave them a glimmer of hope at survival at the much higher level. The fact they have remained somewhat competitive is testament to their own belief that with good recruitment, they could actually exist comfortably, with the potential of reaching cup finals if the winds are blowing in the right direction.

Lastly, and certainly not least, Flamengo find themselves adrift, albeit playing only two league games. Draws in both suggest they’re as tough to beat as they usually are, the talent is unquestionable, but sustaining the challenge seems to be the key to unlocking where this great well-run club truly deserves to be. 

Division One is usually the hardest to predict as this is the area where the most changes usually take place, but there’s quality from first to last. Can’t wait to see how this division develops.