SCEFL (10ish games to go)
The 2018/19 season has been a hectic one for Touchline Photography with it being it’s first one. I started my first Saturday football photography steps with Meridian VP of the SCEFL (Southern Counties East Football League) First Division and it’s therefore the league that I’m most familiar with having seen almost all of the teams.
Prior to this season I had no clue about football at the semi-pro level. I was familiar with Welling Town, but mainly through Sunday football and a little bit through the Kent County League. I had no idea about which teams were good, which players were good, how the leagues linked, or how the non-league football pyramid worked.
Taking photos for Meridian allowed me to follow the game very closely, and in turn follow the SCEFL very closely too.
The SCEFL sits at Step 5 (Premier Division) and Step 6 (First Division) of the non-league football pyramid. The relevant Step 7 to the SCEFL is the Kent County Premier Division, whilst the relevant Step 4 to the SCEFL is the Isthmian South-East Division. From Step 4 you have the Isthmian Premier Division (Step 3), the National League South (Step 2), and the National League (Step 1). Steps 2 to 7 are regionally focused so at each of these steps there are equivalent leagues across the country.
Welling Town so far have justified their controversial inclusion in the SCEFL Division 1 by starting the season top of the league and staying there through 29 games. I saw them when they came to Meridian and scraped a 2-1 win. I took one of my favourite photos at this game. It’s nothing special but the colours came out so well that I didn’t need to edit it at all. They weren’t spectacular on this day but as they say, it’s the mark of a top side to not play well and still win.
One thing that’s surprised me about this level is the amount of player movement between teams, and to rivals in particular! As an example, Holmesdale were my early bet to win the league but since then I’ve seen them lose their Captain to Welling Town, a Striker and Midfielder to Erith and Belvedere, and a forward to SC Thamesmead (I’m sure there are others that have gone over my head). Sure enough they soon fell out of the title race.
The best team I’ve seen this season in the SCEFL First Division is Bridon Ropes. They have a team which is more or less the same team now as they were when I saw them early in the season. Bridon have two quick and skillful wingers who seem to be just as interested in racking up assists as they are in scoring themselves (not enough teams have this for me). They have two forwards who are well into double digits even though from what I’ve seen, it’s one or the other in terms of who starts. The central midfielders can defend, score goals, and be a commanding force. The Bridon full backs get forward, the centre halves are tough to beat, and I myself have watched the keeper be man of the match in a London Cup game.
My feeling is that the top 3 sides at the moment will finish in the top 3. Sutton and Kennington will probably have to win out to be in with a chance as I can’t see Welling, Erith, or Bridon dropping enough points to let them in. That being said, even though Erith and Belvedere control their destiny, they still have to play Bridon, Kennington, Sutton, and Holmesdale! If they manage to win the league after a run-in like that then for me they’ll be worthy champions.
Bridon still have Erith, Sutton, and Holmesdale to play whilst Welling only have Kennington left to play in the top 6.
Kennington are one of the few sides that I haven’t seen this season so it’s tough to say what challenge they posses but they will certainly have an opportunity to disrupt the title race if not join it themselves with a miraculous run and points dropped at the top.
If I was to guess now I’d have to say that the top 5 order will be;
1 – Welling Town
2 – Bridon Ropes
3 – Erith & Belvedere
4 – Sutton Athletic
5 – Kennington
I have no confidence in this prediction but Erith’s run-in looks rough, not to mention that their remaining 9 games takes place over 4 weeks. They are a quality side though and do have the top scorer in the league so it’s anyone’s guess.
Besides, what do I know, I’m just a photographer.
Might have to take myself down to a few of these final games and document it in photos!
*This blog is simply my thoughts and opinions and is not intended to offend.