South football is seeing a lot of activity prior to the new season getting underway on Saturday, July 27.
All the teams are playing a high number of friendlies against a selection of amateur, Junior and Senior clubs, and with varying results.
Next Saturday, though, the South of Scotland League kicks off in earnest with two of the Wigtownshire clubs – Wigtown and Bladnoch and Newton Stewart – being quoted to be in the running to win this season’s title, particularly with the omission of last season’s champions, Dalbeattie Star, and many times top dogs, Threave Rovers.
The two Stewartry clubs will be playing their football in the newly formed Scottish Lowland League where the opposition is generally felt to be more consistently at a higher level than that in the South.
With the 3G pitch being installed at Blairmount, Newton Stewart have been permitted to play their games away from home until the end of September and kick off at Hospital Park, Dumfries, against a revamped Crichton team. This will be a tough test for the new look Newton side, who have added Dean Thomson and Ryan McKie from St Cuthbert Wanderers and young striker Robert Middleton from Threave Rovers.
However, this match will give the Creesiders a good idea on how their season may pan out eventually. They follow this up the next Saturday with another visit to Dumfries where they will play newcomers Lochar Thistle, who as yet are an unknown quantity but come into the South set-up with a good reputation from the Dumfries Amateur League and are expected to do well.
Wigtown and Bladnoch, on the other hand, have three home matches to start of their season, beginning with a visit from Mid-Annandale, followed by a midweek fixture against Fleet Star and then a visit from St Cuthbert Wanderers on the second Saturday of the new season.
The strong and experienced Trammondford Park side are expected to take full points from these matches. If they do, this will give them a very good start in their league campaign.
Heston Rovers, Nithsdale Wanderers and Crichton, though, will be keen to take the emphasis away from Wigtownshire to Dumfriesshire and all are expected to have a big final say on where this season’s league championship ends up.