The ESL Premier Division Constitution for the upcoming 2018/19 has finally been formalised after Wadham Lodge were given a last minute reprieve. Having initially been relegated into the new Eastern Senior League Division One South, Wadham Lodge who have also re-named themselves Leyton Athletic, will now take their place in the twenty team ESL Premier Division this coming season. It ended a summer period of horse trading after Stansted were initially placed into the new Step 6 division before they earned a reprieve. And then FC Romania, who had finished 3rd, were then moved into the Bostik League’s South Central Division, joining ESL Champions Great Wakering Rovers and Runners-up Basildon United who will now compete in the Bostik North Division.
Moving across the pyramid comes four teams. Stanway Rovers and Saffron Walden Town move from the Thurlow Nunn League where they finished 8th and 11th respectively.
Hoddesdon Town and St. Margaretsbury both cross over the border from Hertfordshire to now ply their trade in the ESL, having moved across from the Spartan South Midland League where they finished last season 12th and 16th respectively.
Another club that has changed name is Waltham Forest who have re-branded themselves as Walthamstow FC. Meanwhile Woodford Town have now dropped the 2017 moniker from their name.
Redbridge just missed out on promotion last season and they start their campaign against Saffron Walden Town. The Bloods, alongside the Motormen, are favoured to finish in the top six so it will be interesting to see who comes out tops in this one. Stanway Rovers make their debut in the ESL with a home fixture against Takeley, while Hoddesdon Town also make their maiden ESL bow with an away trip at the newly-renamed Walthamstow.
Saturday 4th August
Essex Senior League Premier Division
Clapton v Tower Hamlets
Hullbridge Sports v Barkingside
Ilford v Stansted
Redbridge v Saffron Walden Town
Southend Manor v Enfield 1893
Stanway Rovers v Takeley
Walthamstow v Hoddesdon Town
West Essex v Sawbridgeworth Town