AFC Portchester, Horndean and Fareham handed home advantage for Wessex League openers

AFC Portchester boss Mick Catlin    Picture: Keith Woodland
AFC Portchester boss Mick Catlin Picture: Keith Woodland
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AFC Portchester, Horndean and Fareham Town will all enjoy home advantage on the opening day of the Sydenhams Wessex League season on Saturday, August 3.

The Royals open up at home against Shaftesbury looking for a big improvement on last season's disappointing campaign.

They began the season with ambitions of promotion but fell well short of those expectations.

There will be a lot of pressure on manager Mick Catlin to deliver this time around because the club are ambitious to climb the non-league pyramid.

Horndean, runners-up last season, and manager Michael Birmingham will be wanting nothing less from his side again.

They face a tough opener against Lymington Town at Five Heads Park in what is regarded by many as the match of the day.

Manager Pete Styles is hoping to avoid many of the struggles he faced last season at Fareham Town.

If he can put a regular side out then the Reds should make progress.

They entertain Bournemouth Poppies in their first game.

Baffins Milton Rovers will travel to newly-promoted Amesbury Town for their first encounter.

In division one, United Services Portsmouth visit relegated Andover New Street.

Petersfield Town are also on the road to Laverstock & Ford.

Meanwhile, Baffins have been handed a tough opening to their defence of the Wessex League Cup.

Steve Leigh's side lifted the trophy by beating Portland United in last season's final.

The second-round draw sends them to Bashley, which is never an easy place to get a result.

Horndean have a first-round tie at Cowes.

And if they win that will face Isle of Wight opposition again in the shape of Newport at Five Heads Park.

Fareham will enjoy home comforts against Christchurch, while AFC Portchester journey to AFC Tadley.

United Services Portsmouth will welcome Folland Sports to the Victory Stadium.

Sydenhams Wessex League opening fixtures

Friday, August 2
Division one

Fawley AFC v Downton

Saturday August 3
Premier division

AFC Portchester v Shaftesbury
AFC Stoneham v Portland United
Alresford Town v Cowes Sports
Amesbury Town v Baffins Milton Rovers
Bashley v Fleet Town
Brockenhurst v Tadley Calleva
Fareham Town v Bournemouth
Hamble Club v Christchurch
Horndean v Lymington Town
Solent University v Hamworthy United
Division one
Alton v Pewsey Vale
Andover New Street v US Portsmouth
Andover Town v Totton & Eling
Bemerton Heath Harlequins v New Milton Town
Hythe & Dibden v Whitchurch United
Laverstock & Ford v Petersfield Town
Newport IoW v Verwood Town
Ringwood Town v East Cowes Vics
Romsey Town v Folland Sports

Wessex League Cup draw

First round
AFC Stoneham v Alton
Alresford Town v Laverstock & Ford
Cowes Sports v Horndean
East Cowes Vics v New Milton Town
Fawley AFC v Lymington Town
Petersfield Town v Verwood Town
Romsey Town v Hamworthy United
Totton & Eling v Solent University

Second round
Amesbury Town v Petersfield Town/Verwood Town
Bashley v Baffins Milton Rovers
Bemerton Heath Harlequins v Andover Town
Bournemouth v Downton
Brockenhurst v East Cowes Vics/New Milton Town
Cowes Sports/Horndean v Newport IoW
Fareham Town v Christchurch
Hamble Club v Pewsey Vale
Hythe & Dibden v Ringwood Town
Portland United v Fleet Town
Romsey Town/Hamworthy United v Alresford Town/Laverstock & Ford
Shaftesbury v AFC Stoneham/Alton
Tadley Calleva v AFC Portchester
Totton & Eling/Solent University v Andover New Street
US Portsmouth v Folland Sports
Whitchurch United v Fawley AFC/Lymington Town