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The Dripping Pan, home of promoted Lewes Football Club is rated very highly among non-league supporters

invicta press officer Mick Cork takes a fairly light-hearted, and typically biased look at what's ahead of the club in the 2018/19 Premier Division and asks - Fewer games, less travelling - what's not to like...........


It’s the end of the league as we knew it..........

As already reported on our forum, the makeup of the Bostik Premier Division has now been announced, along with the constitution of the three new lower divisions - Bostik North, Bostik South Central, and Bostik South East, each of 20 clubs.

The Premier Division loses the three Suffolk clubs in return for gaining a couple from Hertfordshire, and, with the reduction from 24 to 22 teams, it means both fewer really long journeys and a return to 42 games from 46 which we have had more recently.

From where we sit, it has seemed that the additional four league games have proved more onerous than we could ever have imagined, especially when it feels, at least, that we’ve had to re-arrange so many more league fixtures because of ourselves, or our opponents enjoying even moderately successful cup runs with, at times, the inevitable replays.

Invicta will be renewing old acquaintances with the likes of AFC Hornchurch, Carshalton Athletic, Corinthian Casuals and others such as Brighton-based Whitehawk and even more recently for us, Bognor Regis Town.

Our last trip to Bognor was pretty painful of course. Needing as many points as we could get to climb away from the relegation zone, we went on into attacking mode against the eventual runners-up and play-off winners, leaving ourselves just a tiny bit open at the back – eventually losing 7-1 at Nyewood Lane.

So mighty Bognor – who were rocked only a few weeks later when their manager left the club at the very height of their ecstatic celebrations in reaching National League South – are back at our level.

That game took place on March 18th, 2017 - what is that, not even 15 months ago at the time of writing!

Our next trip there will be Invicta’s longest league journey next season. Google reckons it’s a round trip of comfortably less than 250 miles, compared to our East Anglian sorties up to Lowestoft (170 miles each way), Leiston (150) and Needham Market (130).

(The previous season also included AFC Sudbury whose relegation 12 months ago spared us another 300 miler.  What a shame that we appeared to have found the knack of beating the Suffolk teams this last time around!)


We will also not have to play Hendon again for a while either.

 Manager Neil Cugley was somewhat unfairly criticised for his comments – taken out of context - about the journey up to our play-off semi-final to take on The Greens last week.

But that was more than 100 miles each way on a Thursday night, through heavy London traffic at the height of the rush hour. It’s hard to seriously suggest anyone enjoyed that.

For reasons which we are all very well aware, the journey home seemed even longer, but let’s not dwell on that right now!

Reading through their programme provided a reminder of just what a bogey team Hendon have proved to us over the years. In 15 meetings between our two clubs, Folkestone have won only twice and been beaten on ten, often quite painful occasions.

Along with Hendon, Harrow Borough, Staines Town and Met Police, are also switched from the Isthmian/Ryman/Bostik ‘stable’ to the Evo-Stik Southern League set-up, for their sins

Walton Casuals have gone with them, but a usually very reliable source says that Tony Gale’s club are appealing against that decision.

That same source says that one other option regarding the Bostik Premier would not have included Bognor or Dorking, both of whom are expected to be among the highest spenders in our division this summer.

Very much on the plus side, for the first time ever, Invicta will be in the same division as promoted Lewes, whose wonderfully named ground at the Dripping Pan has an excellent reputation as one of the nicest venues in the whole of non-league football.

Surely that should have been Slough Town?!!

Also at Lewes, we’ll have the pleasure of seeing again our former defensive stalwart Frankie Chappell, and hopefully his lovely parents, Moose and Pauline. The senior Chappells, who live in south London, must have travelled thousands of miles watching Frank and Folkestone over a ten year period, probably more than anyone else.

Sadly none of the clubs from Kent even made the play-offs this time around and they’ll all be plying their trade in the new 20 team Bostik South East.

If confirmed, and it’s hard to see the FA changing their minds too much, it leaves Folkestone Invicta as, again, one of the three Kent clubs in this division. We finished (relatively comfortably) ahead of our county rivals Margate and Tonbridge Angels, in the end, and didn’t lose to either of them!

 Bragging rights, or what? But let’s hope that’s a trend that we can continue.

For the first time in the league we’ll be going to Hertfordshire, to take on Bishops Stortford and Potters Bar – and, for the travel conscious – those are around 90 miles each way.

We went to Cheshunt in the FA Trophy fairly recently and I’ve no doubt we’ve played against several other clubs from Herts before now – Stevenage Borough definitely beat us at Cheriton Road in the same competition some years ago.

Geographical breakdown of the Bostik Premier Division for season 2018/19

 (22 clubs)

Kent (3): Folkestone Invicta, Margate, Tonbridge

East Sussex (2): Lewes, Whitehawk

West Sussex (3): Bognor Regis Town, Burgess Hill Town, Worthing

Essex (3): AFC Hornchurch, Brightlingsea, Harlow Town

Hertfordshire (2): Bishops Stortford, Potters Bar Town

Surrey (6): Carshalton Athletic, Corinthian Casuals, Dorking Wanderers, Kingstonian, Leatherhead, Merstham

North London (3): Enfield Town, Haringey Borough, Wingate & Finchley

  • Brighthlingsea, in deepest, darkest Essex, not far from Mersea Island, will now be our furthest journey at nearly 125 miles each way. It’s far shorter as the crow flies, so go by crow!!
  • The Bostik South East Division includes a dozen Kent clubs, including Sevenoaks Town, playing at that level for the first time. There are three from East Sussex, one from Surrey (Whyteleafe), three from East Sussex. And one more. Oh yes, Guernsey. Now what county is that in?
  • The new Bostik League setup takes in 82 clubs, That's ten more than last time when each of the three diivsions were made up of 24 teams.