THIS afternoon (Saturday) sees the start of the long-awaited new Isle of Wight League football season after lockdown scuppered the last campaign.

With a shorter then usual pre-season, due to Covid-19, teams may be a little rusty going into the opening fixtures, but all are glad to be back and are full of enthusiasm.

Last season was halted in its tracks in mid-March as the race for the title was hotting up.

Whitecroft and Barton Sports, top and unbeaten last season, signed Charlie Urry from Ventnor and are chomping at the bit.

Their manager, Steve Rayner, said: “We’ve got a very strong squad, but it won’t be easy this season.

“We’re notoriously slow starters and have a tough opening game away at Binstead and COB.”

Shanklin boss, Paul Haward, whose side have yet to play their Hampshire Intermediate Cup final against Brading Town from last season, has managed to keep all his best players from the last campaign.

“Pre-season couldn’t have gone any better and the lads are confident going into the new season," he said.

Shanklin are away at ECS, who are an established mid-table side.

Ryde Saints, promoted last year, had a steady first season in mid-table and will be hoping to build on it.

Manager, Andy Brown, was also pleased with his pre-season preparation.

“We’ve added a few players and our young players are developing well. We have a good blend of youth and experience,” said Andy.

“We’re quite upbeat and we will be more competitive. If we could finish top six, it will be a good season for us. We are certainly capable of that.”


Harwoods Renault Island League, Division 1: Bembridge v Ventnor; Binstead & COB v Whitecroft & Barton Sports; Brading Town v Sandown; Carisbrooke United v Ryde Saints; ECS v Shanklin; Northwood St John v Vectis; West Wight v Cowes Sports Reserves.

Division 2: Adgestone v Wootton; Newport A v Oakfield; Niton Community v Osborne Coburg; Pan Sports v Seaview; Wroxall v Yarmouth & Calbourne.

Combination 1: Oakfield Reserves v Northwood St John Reserves; Ryde Saints Reserves v Binstead & COB Reserves; Sandown Reserves v West Wight Reserves; Seaview Reserves v Brading Town Reserves; Shanklin Reserves v Carisbrooke United Reserves; Whitecroft & Barton Sports Reserves v ECS Reserves.

Combination 2: Wootton Reserves v Bembridge Reserves; Newchurch Reserves v Niton Community Reserves; Osborne Coburg Reserves v Ryde Saints A; Sandown A v Vectis Reserves; Yarmouth & Calbourne Reserves v Ventnor Reserves.

Kick-offs at 2pm.