NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL: New Year’s Day and Easter Monday derbies for St Ives Town and St Neots Town; early start to the season for Huntingdon Town; former favourite returns to Godmanchester Rovers

PUBLISHED: 16:27 18 July 2017

New Huntingdon Town managers Jimmy Brattan (left) and Ryan Hunnings. Picture: HUNTINGDON TOWN FC

New Huntingdon Town managers Jimmy Brattan (left) and Ryan Hunnings. Picture: HUNTINGDON TOWN FC

Archant

The two top teams in Huntingdonshire football will do battle on two of the biggest days in the season.

St Ives Town and St Neots Town meet in Southern League Premier Division clashes on New Year’s Day and Easter Monday.

Ricky Marheineke’s St Ives side will have home advantage at ProEdge Westwood Road on the opening day of 2018, with the return clash at the Premier Plus Stadium on April 2.

Both sides start the new campaign on August 12 when St Ives travel to Weymouth and St Neots entertain promoted side Farnborough.

Huntingdon Town will be the first local non-league team into action this season.

They kick-off their United Counties League Division One campaign on Friday, July 28 when entertaining Pinchbeck at Jubilee Park.

New bosses Ryan Hunnings and Jimmy Brattan have overhauled a squad which finished bottom of the Premier Division in the last two seasons.

They have signed a host of new players – the latest of which is ex-Wales Under 16 international midfielder Ben Keating, who has had spells locally with St Ives Town and Godmanchester Rovers after being in the Peterborough United youth set-up.

Huntingdon will attempt to defend a trophy on Monday night. They entertain Peterborough & District League side Ramsey Town in the Mayor’s Cup - a pre-season trophy they won by beating a Cambridge City XI last summer.

Eynesbury Rovers and Godmanchester Rovers will both go straight into FA Cup action this season with extra preliminary round ties on August 5.

Eynesbury host Thetford Town while Godmanchester go to Cogenhoe United.

Eynesbury are then at Cogenhoe in their United Counties League Premier Division opener on August 8 with Godmanchester starting their first Thurlow Nunn League Premier Division campaign under new boss Ollie Drake at Coggeshall on the same night.

Drake has persuaded Arran Mackay to return to Godmanchester.

He was a key performer in defence and attack ahead of a February switch to a Mildenhall side he helped clinch the Premier Division title and League Challenge Cup.

But Mackay can’t commit to Step 4 football for work reasons and is now back with Rovers.

Friendly fixtures:

Wednesday: March Tn v Huntingdon Tn.

Friday: Eaton Socon v Eynesbury.

Saturday: AFC Rushden & Diamonds v St Ives, St Neots v Harlow Tn, Huntingdon Tn v Whittlesey Ath, Blackstones v Eynesbury, Godmanchester Rovers v Brampton.

Monday: Eynesbury v Hitchin Tn, Huntingdon Tn v Ramsey Tn (for the Mayor’s Cup).

Tuesday: Histon v St Neots, St Ives v Bedford Tn.