Written by Scott W [Twitter: @ScottMHC14] – EOFL Blogger
Hello and a warm welcome to the first of a mini-series of articles previewing the upcoming 2019-2020 season, division-by-division which in turn starts off my blogs on the Essex Olympian League for another season. We start off with the top tier which has 14 teams in it though with a few new teams entering it thanks to two promotions, following the unfortunate resignation of Great Baddow towards the end of the 2018-19 campaign and Manford Way being relegated after a season of struggle.
EOFL Premier Division Constitution (2019-20)
- Basildon Town (P)
- Bishop’s Stortford Swifts
- Buckhurst Hill (C)
- Canning Town
- Catholic Utd
- Harold Wood Athletic
- Kelvedon Hatch
- Leigh Ramblers
- Old Southendian
- Rayleigh Town
- Shenfield AFC (P)
After a fine season on all fronts, Buckhurst Hill ran away with the championship last term by 25 points though were ultimately frustrated in their efforts to seek elevation to the Eastern Senior League South (Step 6) so they will once again compete at the top tier of the EOFL. Manager Mark Williams is still in place, and I have little doubt his team will be fired up to defend their title. Last season’s chasing pack of Kelvedon Hatch, Harold Wood Athletic, Bishop’s Stortford Swifts & Catholic Utd will again look to have some say in the matter, all four sides are now recognised names in this division.
Rayleigh Town had a promising mid-table campaign last time out, finishing six points clear in sixth, ahead of Leigh Ramblers. The trio of Hutton, Sungate & Springfield all finished last term well while Old Southendian and Canning Town will want better campaigns after their bottom-four finish.
Plus, with promoted sides Shenfield AFC and Basildon Town joining the mix as well, it adds to the theory that all-round it could be a stronger division this term. Shenfield won EOFL Senior One after a strong campaign saw them lose only four matches last term. Town return to the top tier after sealing second spot on the final day, with a win over Shenfield at home in front of a hefty crowd.
I wouldn’t be surprised if the division is more hard-fought than last term, I recall how Catholic Utd’s poor start impacted their campaign though new boss Mick Jacobs’ side will compete in the FA Vase this term, as they travel to the Old Spotted Dog to face Essex Senior League side Clapton on the weekend of August 31st in the First Round Qualifying. I wish them well for that momentous occasion.
I shall end this preview with a look at the fixtures for the opening couple of weeks in the EOFL Premier Division. Round-up’s of EOFL action will return hopefully on Sunday August 11th, subject to info I receive.
To all the clubs, managers, players and many others who support them, have a good season all. I look forward to keeping tabs on the action. Best, Scott
First two weekend’s of EOFL Premier Fixtures (subject to change)
Saturday 10th August – 2.30pm KO
Canning Town v Leigh Ramblers | West Ham Community Grd (3G)
Rayleigh Town v Bishop’s Stortford Swifts | London Road, Rayleigh
Saturday 17th August – 2.30pm KO
Basildon Town v Canning Town | Basildon Sports Club
Bishop’s Stortford Swifts v Old Southendian | Silver Leys
Catholic Utd v Kelvedon Hatch | Len Salmon Stadium (3G)
Harold Wood Athletic v Leigh Ramblers | Harold Wood Recreation Ground
Rayleigh Town v Buckhurst Hill | London Road, Rayleigh
Shenfield AFC v Springfield | St Martins Sch (3G)
Sungate v Hutton | Ilford Wanderers RFC, Forest Lane