Most intriguing National League South season in memory

Vanarama National League logoNon-League football fans in the region will focus their attention on the most intriguing National League South season in memory.

With runaway Southern League Premier champions Hereford FC being placed in National League North, there will again be six teams from the South West in National League South.
 
Bath City, Chippenham Town, Gloucester City, Torquay United, Truro City and Weston-super-Mare will be among 22 teams vying for promotion to the non-League top flight.

The only new name in the six is Torquay United, relegated from the National League to the NLS along with Woking.

With Poole Town relegated to the new Southern League Premier South, United bring the regional NLS quota back up to six.

Gary Owers’ Gulls start their bid to bounce back to the National League at Chelmsford City today. City finished third last season and beaten play-off semi-finalists so it will be a good litmus test for the Gulls.

Torquay’s first home game is against Owers’ former club Bath City on Tuesday night, under lights at Plainmoor followed by a visit from East Thurrock United on Saturday August 11.

Torquay will have a festive double header against Cornwall’s top football team Truro City, managed by former Gulls assistant manager and defender Lee Hodges.

Truro – who finished seventh and beaten play-off semi-finalists last term – will ground share with Torquay this season and start their season at Plainmoor today.

Truro won 20 of their 42 league games last term to finish on 69 points, four clear of eighth placed St Albans City and six clear of Jerry Gill’s Bath City in ninth.

Truro open their season at home to newly promoted Isthmian League champions Billericay Town, from Essex, Hodges’ county of birth.

Torquay and Truro meet at Plainmoor on Boxing Day and again on New Year’s Day, Tuesday January 1.

Bath start the new NLS season at home, to last season’s runners-up Dartford.
 
Chippenham, Gloucester, Weston and their supporters are all on the road today.

Marc McGregor's Weston – who finished 12th on 55 points last season – are at Wealdstone, who finished 11th on 59.

Mark Collier's Chippenham - 13th last season - visit Hemel Hempstead, newly promoted from the Southern Premier while Gloucester – 14th last term – are at Concord Rangers, who finished 17th.

Weston’s first home game is against Truro on Tuesday, when Chippenham host newly promoted Slough and Marc Richards' Gloucester are at home to Oxford City, who finished 16th last season.

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