Sunday 19th May 2019
The provisional constitution for the 2019-20 Hellenic League Premier Division season has been published by the Football Association, with the allocations for all leagues at steps one through six being exclusively revealed in the Non-League Paper.
Changes have not taken place on the same scale as last season. But four teams have joined the division – two of which Bassett will meet competitively for the first time in their history, while three teams have left the division. Meanwhile, Bassett will reacquaint themselves with two teams.
For the first time in their history, Easington Sports will play in the Hellenic League Premier Division after sealing the Division One West title. Since joining the Hellenic League, Bassett have faced Easington 36 times in the league – more than any other side set to feature in next season's Premier Division.
All of those meetings have taken place in either Division One or Division One West, with Bassett recording twenty victories to Easington's eight, with eight draws. The last time the teams met was during in Division One West in 2011-12, when both fixtures ended 1-1. A 2-1 victory in Oxfordshire against Sports, sealed courtesy of Sam Collier's late lob, earned Bassett runners-up spot in Division One West in 2009-10.
Burnham are the other familiar face who Bassett will square off against once again after they earned promotion back to step five at the first attempt by winning Division One East.
Bassett met the Blues in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 campaigns, winning both meetings at the Gerard Buxton Sports Ground, while falling to a pair of defeats in Buckinghamshire.
The two sides Bassett will face for the first time competitively are Westfields and Chipping Sodbury Town.
Westfields, based in Hereford, have received a lateral transfer from the Midlands League Premier Division (alongside four Division One sides from that league who move across into Division One West). And they bring plenty of pedigree.
Westfields have been playing at step five since the 2003-04 season, racking up back-to-back runners-up finishes in the Midland Football Alliance in 2011-12 and 2012-13. Last season in the Midlands League they finished fourth.
The Fields have had plenty of cup success too. In the past six seasons, they have reached the fourth round (last 32) of the FA Vase on two occasions, with three trips to the third round.
Most impressively, in 2016-17 Wesfields reached the first round of the FA Cup after beginning their journey in the extra preliminary round. Of their six qualifying round wins, three were against higher level opponents. They were then beaten in a first round replay by Curzon Ashton of the National League North.
Meanwhile, Chipping Sodbury Town have been transferred across from the Western League Premier Division, where they have played for the past three seasons. They boost the size of the Hellenic Premier's Gloucestershire contingent to seven teams.
The Sods were promoted to Division One of the Western League after finishing third in the Gloucestershire County League in 2014-15. They gained immediate promotion to Premier Division as they finished as Division One champions on goal difference. During their time in the Premier Division they twice finished 13th before winding up tenth last season.
Bassett have previously faced Chipping Sodbury in a friendly, winning 2-0 away from home ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.
Next season Bassett will not be facing Wantage Town, Ascot United and Abingdon United.
Having earned the Hellenic League Premier Division title on the final day of the season, Wantage have been promoted to the Southern League Division One Central. After twelve seasons in the Hellenic League – including ten as members of the Premier Division, Ascot have been transferred to the Combined Counties League Premier Division. Meanwhile, Abingdon are relegated to Hellenic League Division One East after finishing bottom of the Premier Division.
The full provisional constitution for the 2019-20 Hellenic League Premier Division is as follows:
Brackley Town Saints
Brimscombe and Thrupp
Chipping Sodbury Town
Royal Wootton Bassett Town