Saturday sees the start of another Isthmian League South season and Cray Wanderers begin their campaign with a local derby against Thamesmead Town at Hayes Lane.  Kick off is 3pm

The league now comes under new sponsors with adhesives giant, Bostik replacing Ryman as sponsors after a twenty year association with the Isthmian League.

Pre-season is now over and the serious business begins and what a way to start the season with a local derby against Thamesmead Town and a return to Hayes Lane for ex-Cray boss Tommy Warrilow.   This will also be the first Cray Wanderers home league game to be played on the 3G pitch.   

Tony Russell's Cray side had a very efficient pre-season winning seven of the nine games played and their final game at Merstham last Saturday was the best performance showing real quality in attack, good passing and the final scoreline didn’t really reflect the superiority.

Luke Medley was top scorer in pre-season with five goals and was very sharp at Merstham and looks set to lead the line on Saturday with Danny Haynes suspended and Michael Power absent due to his impending nuptials. 

Defensively, Cray have been very good and Jay Leader and Mitchell Nelson in the centre look a fine pairing already.  Barney Williams looks a quality signing and is a terrific footballer.   Nick Blue has been in good form and it appears the acquisition of Joe Vines as Player Assistant Manager has been a wise move and has made his mark working on making Cray more of a threat from set pieces with five goals in pre-season coming from corners.

In midfield, Dean Carpenter adds subtlety to go alongside Lea Dawson whilst Karl Dent has been excellent in the last few friendly games.  The club have also re-signed wingers, Brandon Scott and Warren Whitely which will add pace to the side and also Michael Frieter who made such a big impression two seasons ago in the side which reached the Isthmian North playoffs.

So what of Thamesmead Town.  They have moved across from the North to South divsion so are maybe an unknown quantity for many clubs in the league. Cray know them very well though having met in recent years, in the Isthmian Premier in 2013-14 and two seasons in the North and games against the Mead are always considerable battles.  Last season was a rather difficult one after a good start and Thamesmead finished 17th in the North.

It was announced in March that Thamesmead had agreed a five year arrangement to share Dartford’s  Princes Park ground thereby moving the club away from their former Bayliss Avenue ground.  The club encountered many problems with the landlords in obtaining a deal to remain there and it is a shame that a club created to serve the community has had to leave their natural home. 

Thamesmead will make a game of it and do have a few ex Wands in their side including forwards Alex Teniola, Paul Vines and Dane Luchford as well as Scott Kinch adding considerable experience and they always battle hard.

There is always a buzz of anticipation for the opening of the season and with this looking like being the most competitive South Division for many years with two automatic promotion places this promises to be a great season with many twists and turns to come before 28th April, 2018.

Admission costs £10.00 adults, £5.00 concessions.