10 CCL clubs will be taking part in this weekend’s 4th Round ties., six of whom were in the League last season plus four of our new clubs. Even allowing for the extra division, that is a considerable improvement from many past seasons when sometimes none of our clubs reached this stage.
Four of our clubs have been paired up, which means obviously that we are already guaranteed two clubs in the 4th Round. Also, of the ten clubs, three of them are from our Step 6 Division, again another record for the League.
Looking at the ties individually, we firstly have Abbey Rangers playing at home to opposition from the Essex Senior League in Athletic Newham, who changed their name from Lopes Tavares FC, presumably after the founder of the club. Although they do not appear to have a big fan base, they are clearly a strong outfit currently sitting at 5th place in their table with matches in hand over all the clubs above them.
Berks County, from CCL Division One, have powered their way to this round in their first ever Vase campaign, but will now face the experienced Egham Town on Sunday, at Binfield FC., in an all CCL tie. Berks County have proved themselves more than capable at Step 6 after being promoted from the Thames Valley League at the end of last season. They have slipped a little in recent weeks and are currently in mid-table with six wins and six defeats to date.
Egham, of course are riding high near the top of Premier Division North and are most definitely promotion candidates, after getting over the burning down of their clubhouse by young vandals in the summer. Egham will be favourites but County will doubtless give all they’ve got. Either way it’a guaranteed place in the next round for a CCL side.
Next we come to Beckenham Town one of our new clubs and the only one from Kent (loosely speaking). They are also right up there in Premier Division South and this is one of the ties of the round. At home this season in league matches, Glebe have won all eight whilst Beckenham have done the same but have also drawn one. They became the first club ever to beat Jersey in a competitive match on the first day of the season and this one could well end up being settled by a penalty shoot out.
We now have another all CCL tie between two of our Step 5 clubs, namely Guildford City and Southall. Southall have the edge in league positions and have reached the Final before, although a long time ago. Guildford have home advantage but this will be a hard fought tie.
Raynes Park Vale will be playing away to Crawley Down Gatwick from the Southern Combination, in which they are currently in 10th place. Vale have enjoying a good season and seem to have a new lease of life this season. Another close one you would think.
Next, it’s London Lions from Division One and another newcomer to the CCL. They have been locked in a battle all season with Hilltop for top place. They have home advantage against New Salamis FC from the Spartan South Midlands League who have quickly made it to the Premier Division from the Herts County League and it will be a big test for the Lions.
Another fascinating tie will see Frimley Green travel to Stainsfield, from Division One of the Southern Counties East. In that sense Frimley have an advantage but Stansfield are right at the top of their division and knocked out Badshot Lea in the previous round. They play at Chislehurst.
Finally Tunbridge Wells will entertain Wallingford Town, from CCL Division One and still unbeaten in a league match all season. Tunbridge though have an excellent Vase record, making it to the Final in 2013 and, although only 6th in their table, will provide formidable opposition for Wallingford.
Good luck to all our clubs as we now enter the business end of the competition.