Division One North Preview - Weekend Commencing 29 July 2023

Fri 28th July 2023 | Match Previews
By Gary Langley

We go again! Following a long summer and a period of AGM’s changes, moves, drop-outs and drama we arrive at the start of the 2023-24 League season. This weekend sees a number of teams starting their NWCFL Journeys and a number of clubs returning, ready to start their next adventure.

In Division One North Ashton Athletic return to Step 6 for the first time in well over a decade and they start their Division One North journey with a home game against Daisy Hill in a game that sees one of the fancied teams up against a much changed Daisy Hill Team that has promised much in recent seasons but not quite achieved their ambitions.

Two other teams who are much fancied to do well this season are Holker Old Boys and FC St Helens and these two face-off at The Handmark Engineering Stadium in a tough looking opener for both teams. FC St Helens are many peoples favorites for promotion this season, having finished third in their debut NWCFL season and Holker have been close in the last few campaigns, finishing 6th last season.

Euxton Villa have just been bolstered about the news of their successful ground grant application so they are looking to build for the future on and off the park. They will be looking to improve on last seasons 5th place finish, starting with a home game against new-ish members, Shelley who were promoted back into the NWCFL following a few seasons away. Shelley have had a fairly strong pre-season and are looking to return strong to Division One which looks quite different to what it did when they left.

Fellow Division One newcomers, Route One Rovers start life in the National League System with a home game against Ashton Town at The Marley Stadium. Route One have added a couple of new names to their player roster to a squad that dominated the Yorkshire Amateur league last season and they had an impeccable home record. They will be keen to make Marley a bit of a fortress again if they are to consolidate and build on their new League status. Ashton Town are always many peoples quiet fancy to do well but have struggled in recent years, they were at risk of relegation for long parts of last season but ended up finishing 16th and narrowly avoiding the drop.

Another team who had a bit of luck in avoiding the drop last season were Runcorn Town, they look a different outfit this season having strengthened in a number of areas in the squad. They are at home to Nelson this Saturday, Nelson finishing 11th last season.

South Liverpool are a Club that many fancy to do well this season having consolidated themselves back in the NLS and having had a good pre-season, Martin Ryman’s charges could do well this season if they can keep their cool on the park. They travel to Bacup this weekend with Brent Peters’ double cup finalists from last season being a bit of an unknown quantity this term. They have kept the nucleus of their squad and could challenge if they can convert their cup form into league form. They have not really been in the league mix for a few seasons now and face a tough opener this weekend.

Ilkley Town are another club who could do well this season and are quietly fancied by observers, particularly on social media and local commentators. They finished 4th last season and narrowly missed out in the play-offs. They start their campaign with a home game against AFC Blackpool, a team who’s squad have had a number of changes this summer and could surprise a few people if they click.

Garstang finished in 14th last season and they will be looking to do better this campaign, starting with a home game against Darwen who finished in 8th in 2022-23. Darwen have been busy on and off the park and in the pre-season Counties Podcast poll attracted a number of people suggesting that they could do well. Atherton LR are another team who will be looking to improve this time out but they face a difficult looking home opener against Roy Mason’s Steeton side, who themselves were just 6 points off the play offs last time out.

Lots of great fixtures taking place in what is a jam-packed fixture list, a theme that will be repeated quite a lot this season with an 18 team Division One North this season. One thing for sure is that it is a tough looking season for all clubs, with the 2022-23 season surprising people with relegations and surprise strugglers serving as an example. If you are off to a game this weekend, have a good game and don’t forget to tag @nwcfl in on your twitter or @northwestcountiesfl in on your Instagram pics or Threads Social Media posts.

Our Sponsors & Partners

Our Sponsors & Partners