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Friday, 28 November 2014

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Hexham Sunday League, Division One, preview

DOMINATING the Hexham and District Sunday League with the clean sweep last season, Haltwhistle are on a mission to again challenge on all fronts.

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Winners of all four local trophies, which included a second successive league title, Haltwhistle Jubilee, previously playing from the Conservatives Club, have strengthened ahead of this year’s kick off.
While losing defensive rock Mark Elliott to his home club of Haydon Bridge Anchor, they have acquired some good young talent from the local area.
In has come the promising duo of Reece Thirtle and Thomas Wilkie from neighbours Bardon Mill, while defender Ryan Potts looks set to sign from Rose and Crown Bellingham.
Last season’s runners-up Stocksfield are well placed to challenge again following the acquisition of some experienced players who will ensure they can compete with the best of the rest.
In former Prudhoe Town man Mark Campbell they have a combative midfielder, while Colin Hardwick has also made the move from Kimberly Park.
They have lost Rob Moore but in James Teasdale and David Sedgwick they have a strike force which is guaranteed goals.
Wylam proved the surprise package of 2013-2014 as they were title challengers until their charge curtailed towards the end of the season, but they have added to their squad to try to make sure they are in it for the long haul.
Former Prudhoe Town men Josh Brookes and the much sought after Dean Brown are in, as are Graeme Watson and Ben Pearson who played for Stocksfield a few years back.
Another new addition is Jonny Bennett following his move to the area from Sunderland, and they have also been boosted by the return from injury of Jamie Crichton and Andy Lowdon.
They have also experienced outgoings during the summer, Paul Turbitt, Kevin Frazer and Adam Hucklesby moving on.
Following an injury stricken season last year, Hexham Phoenix look like they are back to full strength and should be better placed to challenge like they did in 2012-2013.
They will be without the services of Orin Parkinson for most of the season as he is working in Edinburgh, but they have brought in some good players to cope with the loss.
Alex Thomson, Shaun Loughhead and James Owen all make a return to the team, while Northern League player Tony Lancaster has signed from Barrasford.
After an eye-catching start in Division One last year following the previous year’s title-winning year, Ryton and Crawcrook Albion have ambitions to throw their hats into the ring once again.
They are turning to youth to try take them forward with four or five new additions, with centre half Sam Hodgson from last season’s U18 team one to watch out for.
Striker Chris Chapman will miss the season to work over in Norway, but Sam Moore will return to the scoresheet following a long injury lay-off, while David Below is also back to fitness after missing the end of last season.
Youth is the best policy for Prudhoe Town, too, and they have brought in a few youngsters including Jack Moore and Matthew Quinn.
Adam Asquith has rejoined the club, while new faces among the ranks include Philip Edward, Josh Potter and Matthew Burns, the latter a newcomer to the area.
Having blitzed the opposition in Division Two in their debut year, big things are expected of Prudhoe Social Club as the take the step-up to the higher tier.
They proved useful against higher ranked opposition in cup competition last year, and they now need to do it on a weekly basis in the league.
The club have the players to do that as they have managed to keep their squad together, while the addition of both Paul Turbitt and Stephen O'Hara makes them more of a force.
It has been all change at fellow promoted side Bardon Mill who have lost four from the team which won the Division Two KO Cup, but have brought in seven new boys to ensure they can compete.
Amid rumours they were to fold in the summer, Barrasford are still going strong and are expected to battle it out in mid-table again, while Allendale’s close knit side remains and they too are a force for any team when at full strength.

THE FIRST SET OF FIXTURES ARE AS FOLLOWS:

Sunday, August 17

ALLENDALE v BARRASFORD

HALTWHISTLE JUBILEE v BARDON MILL

PRUDHOE SOCIAL CLUB v STOCKSFIELD

RYTON AND CRAWCROOK ALBION v HEXHAM PHOENIX

Tuesday, August 19

BARDON MILL v BARRASFORD

STOCKSFIELD v RYTON AND CRAWCROOK ALBION

HEXHAM PHOENIX v ALLENDALE

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