Sunday 5th September brings the start of what everyone hopes will be an unbroken Shoestrings-Chargrill sponsored Chippenham & District Sunday Football League season for the first time in 2 years and here is the rundown for the 2021/22 season.
As always, the pinnacle lies in the Premier Division and despite a couple of teams not being able to take their place the remaining 6 teams are a mixture of some up and coming teams and some of the most successful teams of recent times.
It would be nigh on impossible not to start with Corsham Wildcats. With 2 title wins and 2 runners up places in four consecutive from 2014/15 as well as 2 knockout cup wins and runners up medal during that period, Darrin Moss will certainly be thinking that this could be another year of success being brought to Biddestone Sports Ground. With players like Adam Mitchell providing the goals then this is of course more than possible this coming season.
One of the teams likley to have a different view will be Jordan Kirks’ AFC Melksham who have not found themselves in the top 2 spots since the 2015/16 season. However, they did end their short trophy drought with victory in last seasons AM Print & Copy sponsored Knockout Cup, unbelievably for the first time in their history. With players like Jordan De Silva, Ryan Baggs and new signing Rhys Talmash, they will believe that this is the year that they return to the summit of the CDSFL.
FC Devizes United were the beaten finalists in the aforementioned cup final on that day and that coupled with the strength they were showing in their 100% record in Division 2 before the season was cruelly halted will have Oscar Webster’s being feared. His side certainly have a pedigree goal scorer in their ranks in Jamie Walters and that firepower could well be a pivotal weapon in securing the silverware this season.
Another team more than in with a shout will be FC Lacock having finished runners up in the last full season that was completed before the unfortunate events f the last couple of years. Ryan Ross has had his share of difficulties this pre season with COVID putting paid to some friendly fixtures but when you boast the firepower of Billy Gleed, Rory Davis & Mark Dolman in your side, then silverware is definitely not too far away from your grasp.
Chippenham Icons may well be the dark horses of this Premier Division however having made a number of signings in the last few weeks following the unfortunate news that Bromham Owls would no longer be participating in this years competition. Add those names to the likes of Daniel Fowler, Joseph Hylands & defensive lynchpin Richard Hudson, the Icons could well be a considerable force to be reckoned with this season.
Semington FC are no strangers to success, in fact quite the contrary a Division 2 title in 2002/03 under the former guise of Semington Rovers was followed by the Division 1 title in 2006/07. Under their new title of Semington FC a runners up medal in the AM Print & Copy sponsored Knockout Cup in 2015/16 and another Division 1 title claimed in 2017/18 stamped their place as one of the top sides in the region. Ian Rimmer will be sure to want to ensure that this continues in much the same vein.
Division 1 of the Shoestrings-Chargrill sponsored Chippenham & District Sunday Football League really has all the hallmarks to be one of the most exciting for many a year with a number of teams in this division truly believing and rightly so that a push for the title is well within their grasp, especially with the late withdrawal of Bremhill View from proceedings.
Lavis FC will head into this season possibly as very marginal favourites with their success in the RP Clarke Sheds & Fencing sponsored WG Parr Trophy last season. Lavis, who of course was formed and named in the memory of the late Pete Lavis by Aaron Latchem will be hoping that Jack Booth can continue finding the back of the net in the same regularity as last season when he fired them to cup victory.
Closely behind will be Andy Anderson’s Beeches FC who also found themselves in a final last year, albeit as a battling runner up in the Gooding Accounts sponsored Subsidiary Cup. That run which also included beating a free scoring Sutton Benger in the semi-final will no doubt give them some great confidence going into the new season and with Steve Ball leading the line then anything is well and truly possible.
That brings us nicely on to Kai Flack’s Sutton Benger who will also be looking to add The Button’s name to that list of possible winners after enjoying their best season for a number of years with another cup semi-final appearance off of the back of a promising start to the league season.
Despite the loss of James Weston to a ruptured achilles, there is still hope that there will be a push towards the top of the league. Goals are often shared around with this team with key men being James Hernandez, Ethan Jones and the evergreen Jason Cole but with the addition of Tom Stratton to the ranks this could be the final piece of the puzzle that Flack has been looking for.
Royal Oak FC enjoyed a fabulous season in 2019/20 when they would have claimed the Division 2 title with 16 wins from 16 before they were cruelly denied silverware when the league was curtailed early due to COVID19. They will hope that Ryan Campbell handing over the reins to Richard Tandy this season will not be too disruptive and the new boss will be hoping that himself and Sam Curren can find their scoring boots once more to propel them to the higher echelons of this division.
Pack Horse are another team not to be taken lightly at all and Gary Williamson and Darren Legg are assembling a side that could very well surprise a few this season. Adam Shipman is a player that makes this team tick and if Josh Madle can continue where he left off last season, then again we have another team capable of having their name engraved on the league title at the end of year.
Biddestone FC look to have lost a couple of players during the summer and the loss of the pace Ryan Armstrong to the team could mean that Geroge Marshallsay could be in for a long season if their recruitment has not been up to scratch during the off season.
Finally, Allistair Johnson’s Sporting Box have proved a more than competitive side that has consolidated themselves in the first division over the last few seasons and they will be hoping that Nathan Baldwin will be able to find the goals to give them a further push in the right direction.
Division Two of the Shoestrings-Chargrill sponsored Chippenham & District Sunday Football League promises to be a fine one and I suspect many a high scoring fixture on a weekly basis.
Calne Athletic find themselves top of the tree at the start of September, albeit by factor of alphabetical order this early on but they will hoping to see themselves in that very same position come the end of April(or May weather permitting!) as Steve Browning’s Athletic have been vastly improving and knocking on the door over the years.
Athletic’s derby rivals will be keen to ensure that Calne does have its name on the divisional trophy, Callum Horne’s Calne United will also be looking to get off to a good start after finding themselves in the third tier of the CDSFL. In Chris Halliday and Ashley Monaghan they potentially have the goals to provide stiff competition for the rest of this division.
The moniker of favourites for this division would probably have to lie with Tom Perkins’ The Castle FC who may well be slightly aggrieved(or pleased) to have found themselves in Division 2 when the placements were decided having looked very competent in the same division, which comprised of 11 teams last season last season. Matthew Tilley had a great goals to games ratio with 6 in 5 starts so there is likely to be some confidence in the ranks going in to the season ahead.
In a similar situation is FC Box formerly Spartak Rudloe who were more than holding their own in the same division as Castle with Andy Wilkins pulling the strings in midfield. With James Whitehead and Stuart Donnelly potentially bringing in some players from the golden Corsham Centre era then there is some potential for a bit of sparkle down at Box Recreation Ground this season.
A team who may potentially profit from the new league structure this year is Chris Simpkins’ Kingfisher FC who find themselves in Division 2 for the forthcoming season. Kingfisher are another team where the manager will be hoping they can stay injury free and bring good numbers to matches, if they do, they remain a very competitive side.
Will Green will be hoping that his Old Road side can rediscover some of the form from a couple of seasons back that made them one of the toughest sides in the division about. They could very well be another tough nut to crack should they be able to get themselves back to the level.
If squad size was to win you medals then Fox & Hounds (Warminster) would certainly be wearing some gold around their necks with no less than 33 players currently signed on. If Mark Davies can call on all of those players as well as keeping the harmony in the squad then this could well be vital come in the final couple of months of the upcoming season. That being said, Dale Raine and Aaron Burbridge will certainly be hoping that they can start this season as they did the last. with 3 wins and 2 losses before the season was curtailed showing that their Steeple Ashton side are not to be taken lightly, a good start could well see them gain some early momentum in this division as early pacesetters.
It was fantastic to see five/Six new teams apply and be accepted to participate in the upcoming new season and this also makes for potentially a nice and open Division 3.
Sunday League stalwart Lance Davis has experience of moving up the divisions having previously led Bradford Renegades, through a few different guises (namely Riverside & Three Horseshoe Renegades) and he will be hoping for similar success with his new Staverton Rangers (Sunday) Team.
Dyson Institute FC are another of the new teams in this division but they are somewhat of an enigma in that they are very much an unknown entity with many teams probably not going to be able to do any pre match homework on Matthew Mendums’s side, for a few weeks at least.
Before we find out more on the other new entrants into this seasons league, we must not discount how much experience could play a part in this division and this brings us on to Warminster Athletic, managed by Stuart Green. Warminster have a great team spirit and have clearly showed huge strides of improvement over the last couple of unbroken seasons and Stuart will be hoping the undetermined nature of this division could well work out for them.
Despite a few players seemingly jumping ship during the summer, Ben Thomas has been at his wheeling dealing best and seems to have recruited a competitive Misfits FC team to be able to give this division a right go and I am sure he will be eyeing a promotion come the end of the season.
The Spires Athletic managed by Kieran Baskerville will be looking to pose a significant challenge as although he has assembled a young and exciting side, the addition of the experienced Pete Thornton form the now defunct North Star, formerly of the Premier Division will no doubt be invaluable for the coming season.
The British Lion FC could well be in the mix this coming season with Devizes seemingly having a rich pool of players emerging over the last few years. Niall Choularton will be hoping for a similar rise to that of Devizes United who found themselves in the AM Print & Copy sponsored Knockout Cup Final last season.
The Chippenham & District Sunday League really is not complete without a team competing from Westbury and thankfully William Doust and Kevin Pearce have put together a Westbury Celtic team that they certainly hope will be able to add to the history created by some of the past Westbury Rangers teams to have graced the CDSFL.
With Westbury legend Marc Lanfear chairman of the club, they have a forward who despite his best years possibly being behind him, has the experience required to lead a new team at their home in Bratton, a ground that has not had a CDSFL match played on for many a year.
Last and certainly by no means least, Audley FC, managed by Jordan Tarrant are probably the early season favourites. With the uncertainty of the new teams Jordan has a strong Audley team on paper so this will no doubt be dependent on being able to keep the main part of his squad fit and hungry throughout the season.