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New-look Lincoln Sunday League gets under way

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: September 01, 2012

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Clubs are getting ready for the jump up the divisions as the new-look Lincoln Sunday League gets fully under way this weekend.

The changes mean the Premier Division will have a tasty match-up as last season's runners-up Welton S&SC are joined by their rivals and Division Two title holders Welton Sports AFC.

Bragging rights of Ryland Road will have to wait until January though when the two sides are scheduled to face each other for the first time.

Reigning league champions FSC Victory will again be in the mix as they look to secure a hat-trick of titles.

Division One winners and Ron Eaglen Cup holders Fox & Hounds Hykeham join the top flight for the first time and may be the season's surprise package in the division, along with Gatehouse and Ivy Tavern.

Hykeham Athletic and Shakespeare Athletic will hope to hold their own as they move up two levels.

Division One sees Newton United and Ruston Sports leap two divisions and will relish the higher class of opposition as they try to consolidate after excellent seasons.

AFC Red Lion will certainly be contending for honours along with last season's third-placed side, Anglers FC.

Bassingham will hope to improve on their disappointing points tally from 2011-12.

Summer signings by RM Imp have boosted an already strong squad and they will try to be the third consecutive side to take the Division Two title undefeated.

AFC Rustons and Saxilby Athletic will again be up for the battle for the title after both fell just short last term in their respective divisions.

The George Market Rasen will try to bring their Fred Quibell Cup winning form to the league and be in contention come April.

Hykeham Plough make the massive leap as Division Six winners to this level and should not be under-estimated.

The Black Swan (formerly Millers Arms) and Birchwood Social have both moved up from Division Six where their battle for the league title with Hykeham Plough last April was one of the season's highlights.

They will certainly be among the favourites to lift the trophy in April, as will Royal Oak Washingborough and Poachers (Lincoln).

Athletico Lincoln join the league at this level and despite being an unknown quantity, are likely to be in the running for most of the duration.

Division Four started last weekend with a high-scoring 6-6 draw between West End and George & Dragon.

Darryl Loveland hit a hat-trick for West End with Ben Gledhill and Ali Thacker hitting two apiece to give George & Dragon a share of the points.

As for the season ahead in this division, there is only one new side in Division Four, Rustons United.

Any side could surprise the others, but AFC Queen, who finished third last year, should be in the reckoning throughout the season.

There are some excellent players at this level and if they stay fit, they will pull their team up to the top two or three with some sparkling individual performances.

As usual, the bottom division sees a multitude of new sides and five sides join the league for the new season with FC Centurion attracting the most attention.

Bracebridge FC will hope to be as good on the pitch as their squad suggests.

Potterhanworth will look to regain the glory of their 2010-11 season and Newtoft Social will hopefully be in the top three when the season comes to an end.

Established sides Welton FC, The Shed and Hykeham Harrows will hope for better things than 2011-12.

The County Sunday Cup remains the Holy Grail for Lincoln-based sides and the competition begins this weekend for many of the league's top teams as they try to break the hold of the trophy by Grimsby-based sides this time around.

Holders of the Ron Eaglen Cup, Fox & Hounds Hykeham, have been handed a bye in the first round as have league champions FSC Victory.

Ivy Tavern will hope for a good cup run in this competition, as will Gatehouse and both Welton sides.

The Fred Quibell Cup will have a new name on the cup as holders The George Market Rasen are not eligible to enter. The same can also be said of the Jock Mitchell Trophy, which sees a small entry of just 25 teams.

Welton S&SC will strive to make it a record fifth consecutive win in the Kelly Read Cup.

What odds of an all Welton final in May?

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