South Scene by John McNaught

The new South of Scotland league season kicks off once again this weekend with a full programme of league matches scheduled to be played. Although there has been some movement of players around the south clubs the close season has not seen as many transfers as in past years. St Cuthbert Wanderers seem to have been the club doing the most business but most clubs will have one or two new faces come kick-off at three o’clock on Saturday. This makes predicting results at the beginning of the season very difficult until the teams settle down with their new faces.

Champions Threave Rovers start this seasons campaign with a tough away match at Stair Park against what is expected to be very young Stranraer Reserves team. The Stair Park side have a new youth policy and this will be evident with the number of new youngsters in their reserve squad. However they will still be expected to give Threave a run for their money but on this occasion the Castle Douglas side will be slight favourites to start as strong as the finished last season and to take the three points. Last season’s runners-up Dalbeattie Star sit Saturday out but third placed St Cuthbert Wanderers may well have a tough task when they visit Hospital Park to play Crichton. This match could well go close with a share of the points a possibility. Fleet Star will be looking to kick-start their season early on when they play hosts to Nithsdale Wanderers but this is another match that could go either way. The match at Blairmount Park looks much the same where Newton Stewart have Heston Rovers as their visitors for a fixture that is usually very close. Home advantage could be vital with Manager Davy Hyslop bedding in some new faces following a very successful pre-season which produced some good results.

Creetown travel to New Abbey to play Abbey Vale and again this match could be close as manager Robert Tweedie introduces some new young faces to south football. At Lockerbie, Mid-Annandale have Wigtown and Bladnoch as their visitors and with the Trammondford Park side expected to also include some younger players this season then again a share of the points could be a distinct possibility.

There is also a full programme being played on Wednesday evening with 7pm kick-offs. Threave Rovers travel to play Newton Stewart and although again the Meadow Park side will be favourites to take the three points a stronger Newton may well surprise a few teams this year and this would be a good fixture to make their mark in. Dalbeattie Star start their league campaign against Crichton at Islecroft and home advantage should ensure three points. Heston Rovers will be favourites to beat Abbey Vale while Creetown and neighbours Fleet Star clash at Castle Cary Park for a match that could go close. Nithsdale Wanderers entertain Mid-Annandale at Sanquhar and St Cuthbert Wanderers host Wigtown and Bladnoch with both home teams being slight favourites to take the points from their respective encounters.

Fixtures for Saturday 30th July, 2011

Kick-offs at 3pm

South of Scotland League

Abbey Vale v Creetown

Crichton v St Cuthbert Wanderers

Fleet Star v Nithsdale Wanderers

Mid-Annandale v Wigtown and Bladnoch

Newton Stewart v Heston Rovers

Stranraer v Threave Rovers

Fixtures for Wednesday, 3rd August, 2011

All kick-offs at 7pm

South of Scotland League

Creetown v Fleet Star

Dalbeattie Star v Crichton

Heston Rovers v Abbey Vale

Newton Stewart v Threave Rovers

Nithsdale Wanderers v Mid-Annandale

St Cuthbert Wanderers v Wigtown and Bladnoch