January could be ‘key’ month in potentially thrilling Wessex League Premier title race – former Gosport Borough FA Trophy hero Tim Sills

Hamworthy manager Tim Sills insists the possible destination of the Wessex League Premier Division title will become a lot clearer by the end of this month.

By Lewis Mason
Friday, 7th January 2022, 10:07 am
Hamworthy (yellow/blue) suffered their only defeat of the Wessex League season at title rivals Baffins. Picture: Neil Marshall
Hamworthy (yellow/blue) suffered their only defeat of the Wessex League season at title rivals Baffins. Picture: Neil Marshall

The former Gosport striker, whose goals took Boro to the 2014 FA Trophy final, is currently overseeing the Hammers' push to be crowned champions in his third season at the helm.

Sills' second-placed side are well in the mix alongside table-toppers Horndean - three points clear at the top currently - and Shaun Wilkinson's third-placed Baffins squad. Brockenhurst are also level on points with the Hammers and Baffins.

In fact, any of the top seven clubs remain in with a realistic title chance with just 13 points separating leaders Horndean and Bashley - down in seventh - with sixth-placed Shaftesbury and seventh-placed Bashley holding games in hand on others around them.

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But with a number of the current top seven meeting in crucial fixtures this month, Sills feels the serious challengers will soon start coming to the fore.

And with two games against Horndean still to come, the Hamworthy boss is most cautious about Michael Birmingham's men in the race to be crowned champions.

Sills, whose side have only lost once in the league all season – 2-1 at Baffins - said: 'Consistency is key but this month could be key because there are some big games coming up for Stoneham, Horndean and for ourselves.

‘I think (by the) end of January we’ll have even more of an idea of what’s going to happen.

‘Horndean are the ones - we haven’t played them yet - but they’ve been scoring just bucket loads of goals.

They’ve been relentless. I know they’ve had a bit of a blip recently, but with Michael Birmingham in charge those blips aren’t going to last long.

‘It is hard to pick out one particular side, but as they’re the one side we haven’t played yet (Horndean), I think they’ll be the ones we’ll be concentrating on most as we come up to playing them towards the end of the month.'

Horndean host Hamworthy on January 22, but no date has yet been scheduled for the game in Dorset.

Could we be looking at a repeat of 2006/07 when the top two, Gosport Borough and AFC Totton, met on the final day? Back then, Gosport took the title on goal difference after losing 1-0 at Totton. A 2-0 win would have given the Stags the title.

KEY JANUARY FIXTURES

(Top 7 sides playing each other)

Jan 8: Hamworthy v Stoneham

Jan 15: Horndean v Bashley, Stoneham v Shaftesbury

Jan 18: Shaftesbury v Brockenhurst

Jan 19: Baffins v Stoneham

Jan 22: Horndean v Hamworthy

Jan 29: Stoneham v Horndean