Hawks face tough start in National League South

The Hawks celebrate their Ryman League premier division title. Picture: Hawks FC
The Hawks celebrate their Ryman League premier division title. Picture: Hawks FC
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The Hawks are to make their National League South return at Chippenham Town on Saturday, August 5.

The Westleigh Park outfit have won just one of their past 12 opening-day fixtures.

And the Ryman League champions will aim to avoid a fourth consecutive defeat when they travel to Hardenhuish Park.

The fixtures were announced today and the Hawks were handed a tricky start at the Southern League champions.

They follow that clash up with home games against Eastbourne Borough on Tuesday, August 8 and Dartford on Saturday, August 12.

Boss Lee Bradbury accepts his Hawks have been given a tough start.

‘Chippenham are like us, having just got promoted and wanting to keep the momentum going,’ he said.

‘They have aspirations and the quality of squad to achieve them, so it is a tough start.

‘In fact, our first six games are all against teams expected to do well.

‘It is important to try to get off to a good start to build on last season.

‘At the end of the opening month, we should have a good idea just where we are.’

The derbies against Bognor are over the Christmas period – with the Rocks visiting Westleigh Park on Boxing Day and the return at Nyewood Lane on New Year’s Day.

When the sides met at Westleigh Park last season in the Ryman League premier division, they attracted a 3,000-plus crowd and the clubs will be hoping for a similar turn out again.

Bradbury’s side make one of their longest trips early in September when they travel to Evesham to meet newcomers Gloucester City.

Gloucester have been moved back into National League South after eight seasons in the north division of the competition.

Bradbury will be relieved to see that the longest trip of all – to Truro City – is on a Saturday at the end of January.

The Cornish side, however, have to make their journey to Westleigh Park in midweek on Tuesday, September 5.

Sami El-Abd’s Bognor begin their National League South campaign against Bath City at Nyewood Lane.