Preview: Eversley & California, Joe Loftus-Cheek and all the step 6 openers




The Combined Counties League kicks off this weekend with a full set of fixtures in both divisions. Sandhurst Town start at home to one of the favourites for promotion, Epsom & Ewell.

The Surrey club are playing their first ever season in Division One of the Combined Counties League after relegation from the Premier Division last season.

Despite dropping down a level they boast a strong squad, including striker Joe Loftus-Cheek, brother of England star Ruben. The Salts are celebrating their centenary year in 2018.

The league’s other local representatives, Eversley & California, start their campaign away at Chessington & Hook United.

Based in Greater London, Chessington finished four places below Eversley & California in 13th but they have had some strong results in pre season. They are sure to provide tough opposition, as Ellis Woods takes charge of the Boars in a competitive fixture for the first time.

The Hellenic League Division One East is not officially due to kick off until 18th August, however the three teams from the division who are playing in the FA Cup Extra Preliminary Round have had their opening fixtures brought forward to this weekend so that they have played a competitive fixture beforehand.

Hellenic League Division 1 East

Holyport and Woodley United, who are both involved in the FA Cup on the 11th, have both been given tough away fixtures against sides who are expected to be challenging for promotion this season.

Port make the short trip to face Burnham, a team that were relegated from the Hellenic League Premier Division last season but are looking to bounce back at the first attempt.

Burnham have made several high-quality signings including Ash James, who won the FA Vase and Hellenic Premier Division title with Thatcham Town last season as they look to put together a squad to challenge for promotion.

Woodley’s opponents Abingdon Town are also new to the division this year after spending last season in the Hellenic League Division Two East. Despite being newly promoted, Abingdon are also expected to challenge at the top of the division this season after adding a number of players with experience of playing higher up the pyramid.

Tom Canning has a round up of the full local fixtures here. Rob Davies has spoken to representatives from the Combined Counties League here and Hellenic Division 1 East here. Lookout for Rob’s round up from step 6 on Wednesday.

Main image: Mo Davies in action for Everlsey & California by Richard Milam.

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