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Everything posted by Darran

  1. Did wonder why they had lost so heavily in the Cup to a team 2 levels below them.
  2. Altrincham v Aldershot I put Altrincham up last week as I thought they had a chance of beating Dagenham who had looked poor, but Altrincham didn't really put up much of a fight. They did actually record a higher xG than their hosts, but most of that was down to 3 chances they had after the game was beyond them. Granted at home they have played better and they have drawn 3 and lost just once to Chesterfield in their 4 home matches. Based on that some of you might want to look at covering the draw in the double chance or draw no bet markets, but I do think the outright win price on Aldershot is too high. They were the only winners for us last week and did it in really good style as well. Granted Halifax were poor, but they took full advantage of that. They have lost 3 of their 4 games on their travels and won their other, but they have had to go to Chesterfield and Notts County already and they have performed with credit in all their away games so far. This looks to be their easiest away fixture yet and with the Barnet and Halifax wins giving them plenty of confidence they look too big a price for me to get the 3 points. Buxton v Chester (National League North) As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago Buxton have been disappointing as I did expect more from them. They have only won a couple of times in the league although they did beat Alfreton in the FA Cup last week. As mentioned above they were poor against Boston and I think Chester can get the better of them. I opposed them about a month ago against Peterborough Sports and although it was a winning bet Chester were unlucky not to get something out of the game. They have done well since including coming from 3 down to get a 3-3 draw against top of the table Kings Lynn. I like their chances of getting 3 points here. Southport v Leamington (National League North) When Southport went 5 up in their opening game of the season against Boston it was a bit of a shock. The game ended up 5-3, but it has mainly been downhill since then with just 1 other win so far and a 0-0 draw against Telford. There have been some poor performances as well and they host a Leamington side who have had a fantastic start to the season. They have only lost once and have drawn all 3 of their away games which include matches at Kidderminster and Kings Lynn albeit both of them had 27 shots and xGs of over 2.5. Clearly those sides are much better than Southport though and although Leamington did lose to Nuneaton in the FA Cup last week it is hard to see how they are as big a price as they are to see off a Southport side they are better than. Aldershot 2pts @ 5/2 with Bet365 (3/1 with Skybet and take up to 2/1) Chester 2pts @ 9/5 with Paddy Power and SBK (19/10 with Hills and take up to 11/8) Leamington 2.5pts @ 19/10 with William Hill (take up to 6/4)
  3. I am also putting Boreham Wood up as a bet at Gateshead in the National League. I initially thought the prices on this game were about right as Gateshead have done OK at home, but they weren't great on Tuesday night and although Boreham Wood weren't either despite beating Maidenhead, they have done very well on their travels this season. Wood have won all 4 games on the road and are a better team than Gateshead so for them to be drifting towards 2/1 means they have now become a bet for me. Boreham Wood 1pt @ 7/4 with Paddy Power, Betfair and Betfred
  4. Dagenham & Redbridge v Altrincham I know Altrincham have yet to win this season, but there have been glimmers that they aren't far away from getting that win and take out the 5-1 hammering at Solihull then they have been doing OK. They drew with Scunthorpe on Tuesday night 2-2 and although they might have fancied to win they did give a poor goal away plus a penalty. Dagenham are under huge pressure right now and granted they have just had to play Notts County and Wrexham so this is clearly a much easier assignment, but I just think Altrincham are too big a price. I know they won 4-1 against Bromley, but they were very clinical and Bromley actually had a slightly higher xG. I can't believe McMahon will be there for much longer unless he can somehow turn it around and if Altrincham can frustrate them then the pressure will increase and hopefully Altrincham can take advantage. Dorking v Notts County Amazingly Barnet finally managed a high xG for once and they couldn't manage a goal against Dorking so not only did they lose it was surprisingly a game which only featured a goal. That is the first time a Dorking game didn't feature over 2.5 goals and we know that the chances are they are going to leave themselves open at the back and County are certainly a team who can take full advantage. Langstaff is now into double figures for the season after scoring the 2nd against Aldershot on Tuesday night and he is surely going to score here. County seem to be getting better as the season goes on and they are playing some really nice stuff of late. They are also creating loads of chances and you would imagine they will get over 20 shots against Dorking. I think the -1 handicap offers a lot of value and I really do think they will cover it. Oldham v Eastleigh John Sheridan has got the sack from Oldham although he is still in charge for this game. That means both relegated sides have sacked their managers already and we haven't even reached 10 games yet! Woking beat them easily on Tuesday night and they look a bit short to beat Eastleigh. Eastleigh haven't won in 3, but they battered Yeovil on Tuesday night and should have won with ease rather than just getting a point. I don't think there is a huge amount between these two sides and whilst no doubt it will be a sentimental occasion with it being Sheridan's last game in charge I think Eastleigh are more than capable of spoiling the party. Aldershot v Halifax This is the live game on Saturday teatime and I like the home side here. Aldershot set themselves up to be quite attacking at Notts County on Tuesday and they actually had a great chance to go 1 up. Not surprisingly County picked them off in the end, but Halifax are no Notts County. Yes they are unbeaten in 3 now, but as I mentioned in the previews for Tuesday they were really lucky to get a point at Maidenhead. Away from home they haven't been great and the win came at Scunthorpe. I'm surprised Aldershot aren't favourites for this and they look a good price. Altrincham 1pt @ 14/5 with Bet365 and SBK (take up to 2/1) Notts County -1 3pts @ 9/5 with Paddy Power and Betfair (take up to 6/5) Eastleigh 1pt @ 9/4 with William Hill, Paddy Power and Betfair (Bet365 are 5/2 and take up to 15/8) Aldershot 2pts @ 9/5 with Betfred, Coral and Ladbrokes (take up to 5/4)
  5. Hope a few of you backed Beneficio this morning. She was really impressive and clocked a quick time as well. Jockey said she had plenty left in the tank as well. All being well she will be off to Moonee Valley in a couple of weeks.
  6. Some of you will be aware I have shares in a horse in Australia called Beneficio and she us back in action at Ballarat on Friday morning in Race 5 at 6.30am. She is actually up against an ex Godolphin horse who finished 2nd to Baaeed. I have looked at the 9 runners who line up in the Class 1 (for horses who have won 1 race) event. Komachi - An ex-Godolphin horse who had 4 starts for Charlie Appleby in 2020 and 2021 and he won on his 2nd start at Newcastle in October 2020. That means we know he handles a synthetic track (as they call the AW in Australia) and he's bred too as well. He was then off until last June when he finished 2nd at Newmarket to a certain horse called Baaeed! Now he was beaten 7.5L so it wasn't like he got close to him which clearly isn't a shock, but as the analysis on the Racing Post says, he isn't always going to bump into one that smart! His last run was also at Newmarket but he was a well beaten 3rd of 4 and after that he was gelded. In November he was sold for £42k to his current owner and shipped to Australia. The win came over 1400m although he made his Australian debut on the turf course here over 1100m in May in a BM70. That day he was tapped for toe early having been slow away. In the straight he wasn't able to get a run and his jockey had to move him out to the outside to find a gap which didn't come until late on. After that he's flown home to be beaten 0.6L and you have to think with a clear run he wins. He's other two runs this year weren't quite as good and he was quite keen on both, especially last time at Bendigo where he got tired and was only 8th on a Heavy 8 track. He's not been seen for 77 days, but if he can run like he did in England and as he did in May then he is a big player here back on a synthetic track. Ceejay - Ran on well at Pakenham last time over 1000m after jumping awkwardly. Stepping up in trip will suit, but the problem is that was only a BM58 and this is stronger. Missed The Mark - Looks unders in the betting for me and I think that's based on the fact he hammered his rivals in a trail in July. For a start that was clearly a few weeks ago now, but the horse in 2nd is an exposed maiden so I don't think it says a huge amount. He took 5 runs to win although did it well back in February. He only beat in his first handicap start at Geelong next time, but he was forced out wide and over raced so he can be forgiven a bit for that, but he doesn't look as good as some of these. Beneficio - On the face of it the 7th at Sandown last time was disappointing as she was well fancied to go very close. However the track was against her as you didn't want to be on the inside as everything came down the middle of the track. She also wasn't as fast away as she can be and although she helped make the running, I don't think that helped. She was found to have a hamstring injury after the race so if she picked that up at some point in the race then that wouldn't have helped either. The maiden win at Kyneton was impressive and then she was a superb 2nd in an open handicap at Caulfield and the winner has won a Listed race since and placed at Group level. That for me is the best Australian form going into the race. She has had a couple of jumpouts to work her way back up to fitness and did well last time. They were both on a synthetic track so that shouldn't be an issue and she comes here in good form. Pentegra - Took a while to win his maiden and finally did it at Echuca back in March. Was 3rd in one of these on the turf track on his next start, but struggled in his next two starts. Had a spell and was 2nd 1st up, but that came in a 0-58 at Warracknabeal and this is stronger. Teguila Spirit - All but one of her races has come at this venue although over 1000m or 1200m. Finished 2nd a couple of times in June and July before getting a deserved win in August. The problem is she went into handicap company on her next start and was only 5th in a BM58. This is stronger than that and she could be doing well to keep tabs on Beneficio in the early stages. Red Stiletto - She's looking exposed compared to most of these and although has been placed 3 times she has been struggling to add to the one win and I'd be surprised if that turned into 2 here. Royal Rebellion - Ex Queensland horse who made her debut in Victoria at Casterton last time in a 0-58 12 days ago when finishing 5th. Bit surprised if she was good enough. Arachnattack - 1 win in 53 starts sums his ability up and going to struggle in this. Verdict - Beneficio is the right favourite for me as the Caulfield 2nd is better than any of these have managed in Australia. Hopefully she is fast away from her low draw and is able to make all. The only slight query is the fitness in the final 50, but on ability it is hard to see most of these being capable of running her down. Komachi has to be the main danger. He showed good ability over here and clearly whilst finishing 2nd to Baaeed is a bit misleading as he was over 7L behind, it was still a strong effort in the context of this race. He was unlucky not to win 1st up in Australia and he can be forgiven a bit for his next two starts. Back onto a synthetic track is likely to help as well. He looks like being the one who will be chasing Beneficio down and I will be backing him as well as having a reverse forecast with the pair as well. Beneficio @ 19/10 with Bet365 Komachi @ 9/2 with everyone
  7. Final totals for the season are stakes 112.5, returns 155.28 for a total profit of 42.78. Clearly delighted with that and looking forward to doing it all again in March.
  8. Didn't have time to write previews but here are my bets for this afternoon. Wealdstone v Yeovil - Wealdstone to win 1pt @ 31/20 with Bet365 (take up to 11/10) Barnet v Eastleigh - Eastleigh to win 1pt @ 12/5 with William Hill (13/5 with Bet365 take up to 21/10) AFC Telford v Buxton - AFC Telford to win 1pt @ 11/8 with William Hill (13/9 with SBK take up to 6/5) Alfreton v Chorley - Alfreton to win 2.5pts @ 13/8 with Skybet, Paddy Power and Betfair (17/10 with Hills and take up to 6/5) Brackley v Kidderminster - Kidderminster to win 1pt @ 2/1 with Bet365, Skybet, Paddy Power, William Hill, BetVictor and Betfair (take up to 13/8) Darlington v Farsley Celtic - Farsley to win 1pt @ 29/10 with William Hill (3/1 with Bet365 and take up to 2/1) Dulwich Hamlet v Welling - Welling to win 1pt @ 100/30 with Paddy Power and Betfair (take up to 2/1) Hungerford v Weymouth - Weymouth to win 1pt @ 3/1 with Bet365, Skybet, Paddy Power, Betfair and Betfred (take up to 2/1)
  9. So we finally get to the last meeting of the season. After having a very good first year in 2020, last year was much harder and I wondered if it would be something that I just happened to fluke in 2020 rather than being good at it. Luckily this season has been good as well and I go into the final meeting with a healthy profit which if BOG was allowed would be even higher given some of the mad drifts there have been on some of the selections. Hopefully we can go out on a high and I'm really looking forward to what should be a fascinating card. Bell Ex One who was 3rd in the Fred Winter for Paul Nicholls at the Festival in March makes his hurdles debut in Australia and goes head to head with Stern Idol in a race I can't wait to watch. Race 1 It hasn't gone well for Port Guillaume since he moved to Australia from France and a G2 win at Deauville 2 years ago remains his last win. When he first moved he was running in the big races but was nearly last in the Melbourne Cup and it has been downhill from there. He isn't the first ex-European horse to go down this route having failed on the flat so he is likely to have the class, but I can't say I was overly impressed by his hurdles trial so I am happy enough to look elsewhere at the prices. Cotton Eye Joe is nowhere near Port Guillaume's class on the flat, but he did win a BM58 last time. He looked very novicey in his trial though and that puts me off. Upswing gets a run with their being a scratching and he's been running OK in BM70's/78's on the flat. He's harder to judge on his hurdling ability as he's been allowed to pot around at the back in a couple of trials. He's one to be wary off. The selection though is going to be one who has run in a hurdles race in the shape of Double You Tee. That was a good maiden hurdle he was 4th in at Pakenham on his debut and he wasn't able to run to his best in a race at Flemington last time. As much as you can't take trial results at face value the fact, he was in front of Bell Ex One 12 days ago is pleasing. Double You Tee 1pt @ 7/2 with Betfair and Paddy Power Race 2 This is a maiden hurdle for those who have low ratings on the flat so as you can imagine it is a low-class affair. If pushed Capellini might be worth an e/w play given he has finished 3rd in his last 3 maidens, but at the same time you just wonder if one of the hurdling newcomers is probably going to be good enough to beat him. I find it hard to have any confidence behind any of them though so I will pass the race over from a betting point of view. Race 3 An interesting BM120 Hurdle. Chains Of Honour is a short price just as he was at Sandown last time, but he seemed to over-race that day and he didn't see his race out. He ended up finishing 3rd and to me it was more of a case that he didn't look like he stayed rather than him needing this deep ground which it was when he won his maiden hurdle at Warrnambool. He has the ability to win this especially given the yard he's coming from, but he looks worth opposing at the prices. Yulong Rising finished in 2nd in that race which was his best run to date over hurdles and he runs well in heavy ground so he has a chance. Sky Hero was beaten 0.2L by Bedford a couple of weeks ago and I think that was good form so he is another one who wouldn't be a surprise winner. I am going to back two against the field. I don't think it was a strong maiden which Castrofrancaru won a couple of weeks ago, but he was really impressive and that came on the back of 2 wins on the flat. The ground will be more testing here, but both those flat wins came on a heavy track and he looks to have a good chance to me in a race like this. The other one that interests me is the hurdling newcomer Star Stock. I find it interesting that his good trainer has chosen to go into handicap company first up rather than run in a maiden and I liked the way he trailed a couple of weeks ago. He won his maiden on the flat 2 back and then was a good 3rd in a BM70 at Geelong after that. He could be overpriced because he hasn't been over hurdles yet. Castrofrancaru 1pt @ 100/30 with Coral, Betfred and Ladbrokes Star Stock 0.5pts @ 6/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair Race 4 The feature hurdle on the card and it really does look like a match between ex-French hurdler Stern Idol and the ex-Paul Nicholls horse Bell Ex One. Stern Idol has been so impressive in his two hurdles starts in Australia winning both by huge margins. There is every chance he is the best hurdler in Australia at the moment although clearly the yard also have Saunter Boy so they haven't needed to run him in the bigger races until now. He's obviously very short, but in the shape of Bell Ex One he certainly faces his best opponent yet. He only ran once for Nicholls having been in Ireland previously, but he finished a very good 3rd in the Fred Winter at Cheltenham. That race has worked out pretty well so far and did feature one of the Mullins hot pots of the week Gaelic Warrior who was 2nd to Brazil. That was an excellent run and he was staying on to good effect up the hill. As for the ground he should be fine on a Heavy 10 given what he won on in Ireland. He's had a perfectly respectable flat run and a trial since coming to Australia. It's no surprise that Stern Idol is such a short price as the Australian's know more about him and I would have him as favourite as well because I do think he's very good, but Bell Ex One is clearly a very good horse as well and I don't think there will be as much between them as the betting suggests so from a value point of view I have to be with the Cheltenham Festival 3rd. Bell Ex One 1pt @ 2/1 with William Hill, Coral, Betfred and Ladbrokes Race 5 Having been keen on Roland Garros in previous races I left him alone last time and he duly made all and won. He should appreciate this even softer ground as well and its clear why he is favourite. I am going to take him on though with Brungle Bertie. Even though he was odds on on his chase debut at Pakenham and he was 2nd I did put up the winner that day and I think the form is good especially as there was a big space to the 3rd. He was then 4th in the Crisp last time, but that was a good effort and this is an easier race. It's hard to fancy any of the Pateman runners who have been very average this year. Mighty Oasis was a good winner over hurdles although was poor last time. He could be a player if he bounces back, but I suspect it will be between the top 2 in the betting and Brungle Bertie is the value for me. Brungle Bertie 2pts @ 9/4 with Paddy Power, William Hill, Betfred, Betfair, Ladbrokes and Coral Race 6 The biggest race of the Aussie Jumps season is the Grand National Steeplechase and it looks a fascinating affair. The Cossack is the challenger from New Zealand, but he has to bounce back from a very disappointing run in the Grand National Hurdle where he was beaten a long way out. He is surely better than that and I think a return to heavier ground will help his chances as well. Bee Tee Junior won this in 2020 on his first chase start and after threatening to come back to form he finally did so a couple of weeks ago when he was 2nd to Roland Garros given him a lot of weight. I'm not sure that effort is quite good enough to land this, but he should run well again on the back of it. St Arnicca is trying to copy what Bee Tee Junior did in finishing 2nd in the Grand National Hurdle and then win this on his 1st start over fences. I thought he was a little flattered to finish as close as he did to Saunter Boy as the winner kicked for home plenty early enough and I think he's better over shorter so it was no real surprise something got close to him. He is a contender though. Finally we get to the form from the Crisp Steeplechase where the front 3 home, Flying Agent, Yulong Place and Valac, do battle again. Flying Agent was just so good in that race that I don't see how either of them can reverse the form. He has been prepared to peak at the backend of the season this time around and he is clearly doing just that. I find it hard to see Flying Agent getting beat here, obviously The Cossack and St Arnicca are new rivals, but I think at the level he is racing at right now he sets a very high level to beat. Flying Agent 2.5pts @ 6/4 with Bet365, Paddy Power and Betfair
  10. Cheshunt are without their first choice keeper as he was sent off last week, I think the prices are about right for me though.
  11. Hailfax v Notts County As much as I thought Chesterfield should have beaten Notts County on Saturday you still have to give them credit for coming from 2 down. It was the subs made on the 60-minute mark which seemed to make the difference as it was the first time Cedwyn Scott had paired up with Langstaff after they both moved from Gateshead in the summer. Sam Austin also came on and it was Scott's pass to Austin and then Austin's superb cross which led to their 2nd goal. I'd imagine both might well start on Saturday and I think they will thrive against a struggling Halifax. Obviously, we opposed Halifax last week when they were favourites to win at Wealdstone and the bookies continue to price Halifax up as if they were last season's Halifax side who finished in the play-offs. They are though a mile away from that Halifax side with key players leaving and of course manager Pete Wild going to Barrow. They have yet to score a goal and the only game they have looked like scoring in was their defeat against Torquay where they should have won. I can't believe that County are going to give them much of look in here either and really it should be a routine victory for the away side on everything both sides have shown so far this season. Woking v Wrexham The live game on BT Sport this Saturday is the first chance for viewers to watch the hot favourites for the title Wrexham. Wrexham fans and Phil Parkinson will have been very relieved that they put Maidstone to the sword last Saturday when they won 5-0 after what has been a very tough start to the season. It was probably the best fixture they could have had though as Maidstone were poor and made it very easy for Wrexham. Paul Mullin got a hat-trick and if you aren't playing well, he is going to have a field day. I think though that the win could well have just papered over the cracks and this game will be a much bigger test for them. This game was key last season as well as after a run of games at home which they won they then went to Woking and played poorly and lost. It was one of Darren Sarll's first games in charge of Woking as well and they have had a good start to this season as well after their defeat to York on the opening day. We were on Woking last week and they were unfortunate to lose to Barnet on Saturday. Barnet yet again created very few chances, 4, and just 2 of those were on target and they were the 2 goals. Barnet surely can't keep that up although they are at Chesterfield on Friday night and there is no value in opposing them as much as I think the home side will win. Back to this game though and I think Woking have more than enough to beat Wrexham especially if they put in the sort of performance, they have in their two away games so far this season where they have been very poor. Gloucester City v Brackley (National League North) I am off to this game on Saturday and I do think I will be watching a home win. Gloucester have put in two good performances at home so far this season beating Boston and Peterborough Sports. Last season they were hard to beat at home as well and it was away where they struggled to pick up points especially when faced with a grass pitch. They were awful last Saturday at Blyth and for whatever reason the players just seem to struggle to play as well on grass as they can on a 3g pitch. Brackley finished 2nd in the league last season, but they look a shadow of the team who did that so far this season. Defence was their strong point last season, but after keeping a clean sheet in their opening game they have gone on to concede 7 goals, 3 of which came against Farsley on Saturday. Granted they played most of the game with 10 men, but it was still a poor performance. I'd have Gloucester as solid favourites to win this. Scarborough v Boston (National League North) Another play-off side to be in poor form so far this season is Boston. We were really unlucky not to get paid out when I opposed them with Banbury last week and that is their only point so far this season. They were hammered 4-1 at home to Chorley last week which given Chorley hadn't really started the season stronger was a poor effort. Scarborough are unbeaten since losing to Brackley on day 1. They have beaten Hereford and Fylde and came back from 2 down to get a deserved point against Bradford Park Avenue. They deservedly beat Fylde last week as well away from home and back at home they can heap more misery on Boston. Spennymoor v Darlington (National League North) Darlington's average xG for the season is 0.81 and they are yet to have a figure higher than 0.89 whilst their xG against is averaging at 1.29. If that continues, then clearly, they are going to lose more games than they win. I'm annoyed I didn't oppose them last week with Banbury who beat them 2-1, but I will take them on this week. Spennymoor got their first win of the season last week at Leamington and they are probably a bit unfortunate not to have more points on the board. After conceding 3 on the opening day in a draw against Hereford they have limited their opponents to xG's of 0.26, 0.2 and 0.43. Given Darlington are struggling to create chances it could well be that 1 goal is enough. Notts County 2pts @ 5/4 with Bet365, Betfred, Betfair, Paddy Power, Ladbrokes and Coral (take up to Evs) Woking 1pt @ 11/4 with Bet365 (SBK are 14/5 and take up to 11/5) Gloucester City 2pts @ 9/5 with Skybet and SBK (19/10 with Hills and take up to 5/4) Scarborough 1pt @ 7/5 with Coral and Ladbrokes (Bet365 are 29/20 and take up to 5/4) Spennymoor 1pt @ 6/5 with SBK, Coral and William Hill (take up to Evs)
  12. As mentioned in the preview they have been massively over performing compared to their xG and that happened again on Saturday where they only had 4 shots with the 2 goals being their only shots on target. Obviously they are being clinical, but that is going to be impossible to carry on and unless they can start creating more chances they should drop down the table. I think they will be mid-table come April.
  13. Some of these prices have gone, but as always a min price is given for a guide as what to take. Barnet v Woking Not sure many people would have had Dean Brennan's Barnet as toping the table after 3 games, but that is where they are after wins against Bromley and Yeovil and a draw at Gateshead in between the two victories. However, when we look at the stats, I think they are over achieving at the moment. Halifax were awful against them in the opening day of the season only having an xG of 0.13 although Barnet's was just 0.81 albeit they scored twice. They have actually score twice in all 3 games so far and against Gateshead they had their highest xG of the season with 1.34, but they only had 5 shots during the game and Gateshead managed a higher xG. Then against Yeovil on Tuesday night they only had an xG of 0.88 and had just 7 shots. They have the finishing of Nicke Kabamba to thank as he scored both goals and his chip over the keeper for his 2nd was sublime. Yeovil really should have beaten them though as their xG was 1.72 and they created some really good chances. Clearly Barnet have been very clinical so far, but that won't last and I think Woking have got a huge chance of beating them here. I was confident they would beat Scunthorpe on Tuesday and they easily won 2-0. They had a massive 22 shots during the game and had an xG of 1.9. Kyran Lofthouse got both goals and his finish for the 2nd was great from a narrow angle. The one sight concern is that they were so bad in their opening game of the season at York and this is their first away game since, but it would be harsh to judge from a sample of one especially as it was the first game of the campaign. Woking have already been really well backed and you could have got as big as 5/2 which in all honestly would have been a max bet for me. The value isn't as big now so the stakes will not be as big, but I still make them a bet. Dorking v Gateshead 3 games for Dorking and every game has not only been over 2.5 goals, but they have been over 3.5 goals! It was 4 in the opening game against Chesterfield and then 5 on the TV last Saturday against Oldham. On Tuesday night they made it 6 goals in a 4-2 victory over Maidstone. Not surprisingly we saw two big xG's with them having 2.81 and 2.82 from 19 and 22 shots respectively. If they want to follow the pattern then this game should have 7 goals on Saturday although I will settle for their just being over 2.5 goals again. I have mentioned on Twitter how I think we will see plenty of goals in Dorking games this season because of the way Marc White sets up the team. He has them as being very attacking and that means they will score goals, but it also leaves them short at the back as we have seen and Gateshead are more than capable of exploiting that Gateshead did really well to get a point against Notts County on Tuesday night and not surprisingly they weren't as attacking as they had been in their other two games against Barnet and Dagenham & Redbridge which both ended in 2-2 draws. I'm not sure I have ever put up an over 2.5 goals as it just isn't something I usually focus on, but here we have two teams capable of goals, but also capable of conceding goals if this game doesn't have over 2.5 goals we will have been very unfortunate. Also, crucially I don't think the bookies have caught up yet with how many goals we will see in Dorking games this season so I am happy to back over 2.5 goals here. Notts County v Chesterfield This is the live game on Saturday tea-time and it should be a cracker given we have two sides who ought to be in the play-offs at the very least come April. County have dominated possession in all 3 games they have played so far having recorded 74%. 75% and 69%. The problem is that possession hasn't been turned into victories and actually their lowest xG has come in their one victory so far against Maidenhead. Macaulay Langstaff scored two good goals against Maidenhead, but he hasn't looked quite as threatening in the other two games and I do wonder if he is going to be the main striker that they are looking for. Chesterfield didn't need Tshimanga on Tuesday night as he stayed on the bench, but they didn't need to risk him given they had a very comfortable 2-0 victory over Wrexham. I will talk more about how bad Wrexham were in the preview on their game, but Chesterfield had little problem in beating them recording a huge 21 shots for an xG of 1.76. Last season I thought Paul Cook looked clueless when he came in as Chesterfield manager, but the evidence on the first 3 games of the season is that he has learnt from last season and I might have got him wrong. I think this game is much closer than has been priced up so I am happy to back Chesterfield here. Torquay v Boreham Wood I'm really surprised by how bad Torquay have been so far this season. I really like Gary Johnson as a manager at this level as you probably know. Granted they lost some key players over the summer, but I trusted Johnson to get the right players in. The evidence so far is that apart from the goalkeeper Mark Halstead he looks to have a pretty weak team. Halstead's xCG is 5.48 so far this season and yet he has conceded just 1 goal. That goal came against Bromley on Tuesday night and it was a wonder strike which no keeper would have saved. The problem is he isn't always going to save them and the xG's against them really does tell a story. Against Oldham it was 1.81, against Halifax it was 3.31 and Bromley even topped that at a huge 4.46! Torquay's xG's have been 0.84, 0.33 and 0.36. The fact they beat Halifax last Saturday will be one of the most fortunate victories we will see this season as Halifax dominated them. I put Boreham Wood up to beat Aldershot on Tuesday and was very surprised they lost to them 2-1, but they will consider themselves unlucky as Aldershot's xG was only 0.79 and they only had 3 shots on target. Wood's xG was 1.83 and they had 19 shots. For me they are a better side than Torquay and the odds don't reflect that at all. Obviously, I am worried about Halstead's form, but there is no way Wood should be such a big price for this game and hopefully they can find the breakthrough. Wealdstone v Halifax It's been a very mixed back from Wealdstone this season as they have been really good twice when beating Bromley and Oldham, but they were awful when losing 1-0 in between to Eastleigh. An xG in that game of 0.03 tells you all you need to know about how well they played. The were good on the opening day of the season though winning 3-2 and then they did really well to win at Oldham on Tuesday night. The move for the 2nd goal could well end up as the best team goal we see all season in the National League. There was a huge 23 passes leading up to the goal and it is very unusual to see that sort of thing at this level even from the sides who like to pass the ball around. I thought they made some decent signings in the summer and they certainly have their strongest looking squad since getting promoted. Halifax obviously had that really high xG against Torquay, but I have a feeling that is more down to how bad Torquay are rather than how good Halifax are. They created very little against Barnet on the opening day and then on Tuesday night their main chance came from the Southend keeper giving the ball away so it wasn't even something they created. It was a game were both teams seemed to cancel each other out as there was little goalmouth action with Southend's only decent chance coming from the penalty spot. Halifax are strong favourites for the game and I just don't think they should be and these two sides are much closer ability wise than the betting suggests Wrexham v Maidstone Phil Parkinson is under huge pressure now and I think if Wrexham don't win this game then he might well be sacked. After Tuesday night's effort against Chesterfield the fans on Twitter were pretty unanimous about wanting him out and I totally agree with them. Based on their 3 performances so far this season it is clear to me that they won't win the league whilst he is still in charge. I even think he might have lost the dressing room given how poor they were against Yeovil and Chesterfield. Yeovil you could possibly forgive a little given how hot it was, but the effort on Tuesday was unforgivable given you are playing against one of your possible title rivals. They managed 7 shots, but all bar two of those were blocked and their xG was just 0.2! This is coming from a team who have Paul Mullin and Ollie Palmer in their side. They are clearly very short for this game and in truth they should win it given how superior their side is, but if it doesn't start going their way then the fans are going to get on the players backs quickly and the pressure will be huge. Maidstone lost out in that high scoring game with Dorking on Tuesday night, but that could have gone either way and they did well in their first two games against York and Altrincham. Clearly this is a very different contest to those 3 matches and in theory they should lose, but I think at a huge price they are worth chancing to pile more misery on Parkinson and Wrexham. Woking 3pts @ 31/20 with Bet365 (8/5 with William Hill and take up to 11/10) Dorking v Gateshead over 2.5 goals 4pts @ 17/20 with William Hill and Bet365 (take up to 4/7) Chesterfield 1pt @ 21/10 with Coral, Betfred and Ladbrokes (take up to 7/4) Boreham Wood 2pts @ 2/1 with BetVictor, William Hill, Paddy Power, Betfair, Coral and Ladbrokes (Betfred are 11/5 and take up to 6/4) Wealdstone 2pts @ 12/5 with Betfred and William Hill (take up to 6/4) Maidstone 1pt @ 17/2 with Bet365, William Hill and Betfred (9/1 with Coral and Ladbrokes take up to 5/1) Cheshunt v St Albans (National League South) St Albans have done very little in 3 games so far and have not created much at all. Cheshunt haven't started life at this level too badly at all including beating Hampton. They look way over priced here. Hungerford v Eastbourne (National League South) Just 2 goals in Hungerford games so far as they have had two 1-0 defeats and a 0-0 draw. Eastbourne meanwhile have seen plenty of goals in their games having scored 8 of them themselves. They did concede 4 against Bath and 3 against Ebbsfleet on Tuesday night, but given Hungerford haven't scored at all yet you get the feeling 1 goal might just be enough. They certainly look a better side than their hosts and happy to back them. Peterborough Sports v Chester (National League North) I would make the home side favourites for this. They did deserve to lose to Gloucester on Tuesday, but as their manager said after the game their players had to go straight from work and Peterborough to Gloucester is not a quick journey. They still did fairly well though and they were especially impressive against Southport last Saturday. I'm not sure Chester are that great this season and I'm happy to take them on here. Bowers & Pitsea v Herne Bay (Isthmian League) Bowers look a very poor side this season and they have lost both games so far. Herne had to play on Sunday and Tuesday. They lost to Potters Bar 1-0 but had an outfield player in goal for the last half hour or so. For them to then go and win 4-2 against Haringey just a couple of days later was a hell of an effort and odds against looks well worth taking. Potters Bar v Billericay (Isthmian League) Speaking of Potters Bar they are value to win this game. After that win they only lost 1-0 to Bishops Stortford which given they are one of my bets for the title was a good effort just a couple of days after their opening game. They look way over priced against a Billericay side who lost to league newcomers Aveley on Tuesday having beaten Cray on the opening day. Cheshunt 1pt @ 9/4 with William Hill, Paddy Power and Betfair (12/5 with Bet365 and take up to 7/4) Eastbourne 2pts @ 6/5 with Skybet, Paddy Power, Betfair, Coral, Betfred and Ladbrokes (13/10 with Hills and take up to 10/11) Peterborough Sports 1pt @ 7/4 with Skybet, BetVictor and Betfred (9/5 with Hills and take up to 6/4) Herne Bay 2pts @ 11/10 with Betfair and Paddy Power (take up to 10/11) Potters Bar 1pt @ 14/5 with Betfair and Paddy Power (take up to 2/1)
  14. We head to Coleraine on Sunday morning for 3 hurdles and a chase. It's a tricky card, but hopefully we can get another profit. Race 1 Only one of the 10 runners has run in a hurdle race so far and Buffalo Bill shouldn't be good enough to win this. That makes this contest very tricky especially as all these horses are low grade ones on the flat so there isn't a classy flat horse in the field either. Having watched the hurdle trials and based on the flat runs it does look like Castrofrancaru is the one to beat. He looked good in his trial and beat and a couple of these in it. He has also won his last two on the flat so comes here in good form. El Campeon has shown little on the flat of late, but I did like his trial win last week. He looked really perked up for jumping hurdles and he should be able to make a better hurdler than flat horse. The one small concern is that maybe he might be too keen to see out the trip. Ultimately though this isn't really a race I want to get involved with from a betting point of view given Double You Tee is 2nd in the betting yet is unlikely to get a run as he's 3rd emergancy. Race 2 If Heir To The Throne can handle the 7-day back-up then he looks the one to beat here. I thought he was very good at Sandown last week in what wasn't a bad race for the grade because I think a decent horse in Chains Of Honour was back in 3rd. He sat just off the decent pace which was set by Slipintothis who reoppeses here despite tiring badly into 5th place last week. His jockey told the stewards he needs a wetter track and the fact he won his maiden hurdle in a Heavy 10 backs that up. It looks like we will get similar ground to last week so I can't see the form being reversed. Mighty Oasis looks the biggest danger as if it wasn't for the superb Stern Idol he would be coming here looking for a 4-timer. As it is he won his maiden after some good place efforts, then bumped into Stern Idol before winning at Casterton 3 weeks of weeks ago. Tolemac was 1.5L behind in 2nd, but I think the form will be upheld. Mighty Oasis made a bit of an error at the last, but he picked up well again and was well on top at the line. The concern for me about his chances though is that he and Slipintothis might take each other on up front and set it up for the closer in Heir To The Throne. That is why I am siding with the Sandown winner. Heir To The Throne 1pt @ 6/5 with Coral, Betfred and Ladbrokes Race 3 A tricky low-grade hurdle and you could put a few into the mix. Fort Charles hasn't really gone on from his Hamilton maiden win and he has 8.25L in front of Sky Hero who was 3rd that day. Sky Hero followed up at Warrnambool the following month and although he was only 4th back their last month it was behind Stern Idol so I don't think it was as bad a run as it looks on paper. He's not run since, but I think he can reverse the form with Fort Charles and maybe win this. Dr Dependable seemed to turn up in every maiden hurdle going, but he finally won one at Casterton last month. That was a good effort as he had Heir To The Throne in 2nd and American In Paris in 4th. Not surprisingly he was outclassed last week in the Grand National Hurdle. This is more his level. Bedford was 3rd behind Hostar and Heir To The Throne on his hurdles debut at Pakenham last month and its interesting they have chosen this contest over the maiden hurdle which he would have a very good chance in. Murrumbidgee River was very disappointing on hurdles debut, but he was found to be lame so that can be looked over. He's hardly one of his stables leading lights, but he would be a surprise winner. Finally, Rosie Rose was a solid 3rd on her hurdle debut at Pakenham and she has place claims at least. I was going to back Bedford, but he's 11/10 and that is plenty short enough in a race like this. Instead, I will back Dr Dependable e/w as he will appreciate this class drop and he's a good a chance as any of landing this. Dr Dependable 1pt e/w @ 15/2 with Coral and Ladbrokes Race 4 This is a clear class drop for the top weight Bee Tee Junior and if he was able to find his best then I think he can win this. The problem is as much as he travelled quite well into the race last week in the Crisp, I just thought it was disappointing he didn't really finish off the race all that well. I backed him last week, but even with the class drop I find it hard to fancy him here. Pateman is focusing on training on Sunday and he was 4 runners in this who all ran at Casterton last time. Historic was behind Laylite and Power Of Words when 4th to Elvision, but it was hist first run for a month after he wasn't able to go with Elvision over the same course and distance. Pateman has said that he eased off him after that tough race and he was under-cooked going into the race last time. The fact he was able to finish as close as he did given that was very creditable. He is 2/2 here having won this race in 2020 and then winning here last August at a meeting I think was moved from Casterton if I remember rightly. The biggest danger looks to be Under The Bridge. After making bad mistakes at the 18th fence twice at Warrnambool he finally got safely over that fence and won their last month. He beat Mustang Harry who franked the form by winning at Pakenham the next start. He was 3rd at the same meeting behind Valac who is better than any of these, so it was a good run as well. This looks a good race for him. Roland Garros has been one I have put up before this season, but he just seems to have become disappointing and I don't think the ground will be soft enough. Another I have put up a few times is Onset although to much more success. She makes he chase debut here and I thought she did well enough in her one trial to date. She has run 12 times over hurdles since April and in March she also had 3 flat runs so for her to still be running as well as she is of great credit to her and her trainer. She ran perfectly well when 4th in the Grand National Hurdle last week and you couldn't rule her out here. San Remo was a close 3rd in this last year and he had a nice prep on the level last time to get him ready for this. I was surprised to see Roland Garros as favourite and he is well worth taking on for me. Historic looks a big price and he is the main bet e/w, but I will also cover Under The Bridge as he looks the biggest danger. Historic 1pt e/w @ 10/1 with William Hill Under The Bridge 1pt @ 100/30 with Betfair and Paddy Power
  15. Boreham Wood v Notts County (National League) Not a game I was planning on getting involved, but then originally the home side were 5/4 and now you can get 2/1 and bigger which for me is the wrong price. County did dominate last week against Maidenhead and fully deserved their comfortable win, but this game should be much tougher. As we know Wood are very hard to beat at home and they got off to a very good start when beating Southend 1-0 last week. They ended up with only 9 men on the pitch as well so to hold on was especially impressive. They did only have 4 shots the whole match, but it was a great move for the goal and they could allow Southend to have a lot of the ball because their xG of 0.67 from 11 shots highlights they created very little during the game despite having 68% of possession. You would imagine County will be capable of creating better chances, but then I would imagine Wood will also look to be on the front foot more at home. I'd probably make the away side slight favs, but nowhere near as heavy favs as they are so I am happy to play. Maidstone v York (National League) I was very happy with the performance from York last week given we are on them ante-post albeit they did beat one of the other tips Woking who were very disappointing. York hadn't had a very good pre-season, but it just highlights that pre-season form is basically meaningless when it comes to the real action. Maidstone did better than I thought they would at Altrincham, but it could be I have overrated Alty and I certainly think York will finish above them this season. I'm surprised that the home side have been backed for this as I think York have the superior side and hopefully that can play out on Saturday. Yeovil v Wrexham (National League) I really think Yeovil could be in a relegation battle this season and nothing I saw in the live game against Scunthorpe last week changed my mind. They were hardly in the game at all and were slightly fortunate to even score 1 given their xG was just 0.64. Scunthorpe's 2nd goal was a defensive disaster as Yeovil's defence and midfield just allowed Jacob Butterfield to run and run from just inside his own half as they backed off him until he reached the penalty box and he got a shot away and scored. It was literally as if they just let him have an open invitation to score a goal If they defend in a similar way against Wrexham then the Welsh side's attackers should have a field day. They surprisingly made hard work of beating Eastleigh last week, but Eastleigh's goal came via a bad goalkeeping error and after that it was pretty much all Wrexham. They had 20 shots for an xG of 2.14, they had 67.8% possession and most impressively they had an accuracy rate of 85% from the 481 passes they attempted during the game. Take out the keeping error and they win easily and they really ought to do the same on Saturday. Not surprisingly Wrexham have been backed, but they still look value to cover the -1 handicap. Chorley v Darlington (National League North) The xG's in Chorley's opening game were 0.57 for Chorley and 0.34 for AFC Telford which pretty much sums up the quality of the game. Telford ended up winning it win 1-0 and the goal was pure route one coming from a kick out from the keeper with the ball flicked on for the striker to score. It was also helped by the fact a Chorley defender slipped and in reality, the game should have been goalless. I don't think Chorley look as strong as they did last season and Darlington do so, I think they are overpriced here. They beat my own side Gloucester on the opening day 3-1 and whilst a sending off just after Gloucester had equalised helped, I do think Darlington deserved their victory. I'd make Darlington slight favs to win this. St Albans v Oxford City (National League South) I was a bit surprised Oxford were beaten 3-1 on the opening day at home to Eastbourne, but I think conceding a penalty after 4 minutes didn't help and then the 2nd goal came on 25 minutes which was a tap in almost on the line from a corner. To come from that in the first game of the season was always going to be tough and I think they are better than they were able to show. They travel to a St Albans side who got a point against Chelmsford in what was a poor game of football. I think Chelmsford will struggle this season so for St Albans to struggle against them doesn't exactly bode well. Oxford made the play-offs last season and I think they will be eyeing up the top 7 again so they will be looking to get their first victory on the board here. Stourbridge v Tamworth (Southern Premier Central) Our main bets for the title Tamworth hosted the favourites Ilkeston on the opening day of the season and it ended in a 1-1 draw after the teams shared goals in the last 10 minutes. Perfectly satisfactory start to the season for them and I am hoping they can get their first win on the season on Saturday against Stourbridge. It was a heavy 3-0 defeat to Alvechurch on Saturday for their opening game and that suggests things aren't going to get any better for them after a tough season last time around. I'd make Tamworth clear favourites. Boreham Wood 1pt @ 9/4 with SBK and Bet365 (take up to 7/4) York 1pt @ 2/1 with Coral, Ladbrokes, Betfred and SBK (Bet365 are 9/4 and take up to 6/4) Wrexham -1 1pt @ 6/4 with Paddy Power, Betfair and Skybet (take up to 5/4) Darlington 1pt @ 7/4 with Skybet, William Hill and Betfred (take up to 11/8) Oxford City 1pt @ 2/1 with Paddy Power, William Hill, Betfair and BetVictor (take up to 6/4) Tamworth 1pt @ 29/20 with Betfair and Paddy Power (take up to 5/4)
  16. Farnborough lost 1-0 but the other 3 were 0-0.
  17. Updated totals are total stakes 98.5 total returns 136.78 for a profit of 38.28. Just two more meetings now at Coleraine next week and then the big finale at Ballarat on the 28th. Equates to 10 races unless we get any divisions.
  18. Another good morning with Flying Agent and Saunter Boy landing the two big races. Both returning bigger prices than I put them up at.
  19. Just 2 more jump meetings in Oz before the season ends and we go to Sandown tomorrow for 3 races including the Crisp Steeplechase and the Grand National Hurdle. Race 1 Really looking forward to the Crisp Steeplechase named after the great horse. I have felt the chasing sphere hasn't been overly strong this season, but we have 3 of the horses who have stared over the larger obstacles in the shape of Valac, Flying Agent and Elvison. All 3 have made us cash as well so which one of the 3 is going to come out on top here? I've been a long time fan of Valac and it was great to see him win at Pakenham in good style last time after a couple of falls. Steve Pateman has spoken about how much class this horse has and he should know given he's sat on some good ones. The one small doubt I have about him is if he needs this trip, but he wasn't stopping over 3500m at Pakenham. Flying Agent was average in this race last season, but he seemed to go off the boil over fences after winning the Brierley at the Warrnambool Carnival so I wouldn't read too much into that. I thought he was fantastic in his only jumps start this prep in the Thackeray at Warrnambool last month. He easily beat Yulong Place (reopposes here) that day and that horse had looked very good in his two wins over fences so the form looks rock solid. I did think Yulong Place didn't like being taken on for the lead and they went quick enough, but there is every chance that could happen here as well so I don't think the form will be reversed. Flying Agent had a very good run on the flat a couple of weeks ago here to keep him ticking over. He should be capable of much better than he showed in this race last season. Elvision has been like a cashpoint for us in 3 very easy wins over the hedge fences at Casterton. He was 2nd in the Australian Chase here in May and the ground would have been quick enough for him so these softer conditions should help. I'm just not sure he's quite got the class of the other two though. Mustang Harry did us a great turn when winning the maiden steeplechase at Pakenham last month and I can't understand why the horse he beat Brungle Bertie is shorter than him in the betting. If anything given his running style he should improve for the step up in trip. He does get plenty of weight from the others which will help, but at the same time I would be a little surprised if he was good enough. One horse who I do think has been overlooked in the betting is Bee Tee Junior. I put him up as the forecast play last time at Pakenham and he ran well enough to finish 4th to Saunter Boy. 2 years ago he was 2nd in the Grand National Hurdle on this card and he then went on to win the Grand National Chase at Ballarat. He then missed the whole of last year and after a few flat runs and trials he has run in a couple of hurdle races. He has clearly been gearing up for this race and no doubt the Ballarat contest and I have seen enough in his two hurdle runs to think he still has plenty of his old ability. On his 2020 form he would be one of the favourites for this and he has to be backed e/w at his huge price. It does hurt a little to not back Valac or Elvision here as I like both horses, but I think Flying Agent is the one they have to beat as for me that Pakenham performance was the best chase performance I have seen this season and if he runs up to that form here then I think he will be too good for them. Flying Agent 1.5pts @ 5/2 with William Hill Bee Tee Junior 1pt e/w @ 18/1 with William Hill Race 4 This looks a bit of a match to me impressive maiden hurdle winners Chains Of Honour and Slipintothis at the head of the market. I tried to take on Chains Of Honour on his hurdling debut with Hostar who had really impressed me in his trail, but Hostar had no answers to the winner who really impressed me. Hostar then went and won himself beating Heir To The Throne at Pakenham a couple of weeks later. The 3rd home Dr Dependable also beat Heir To The Throne at Casterton so the form looks rock solid. As much as I like Hostar I don't really see any reason why the form should be reversed as he was well on top at the line. Chains Of Honour has had a run on the flat since to keep him ticking over nicely. Slipintothis was also impressive on debut as he bolted up by 8l, but that was a very weak race and I don't think the form is anywhere near as strong as Chains Of Honour. Of course that doesn't mean he won't beat him here, but I have to side with Chains Of Honour. Outside of those two and Hostar it is hard to really see anything else being good enough to win. Chains Of Honour 2pts @ 6/4 with Bet365 Race 5 The feature race on the card is the Grand National Hurdle and it really does look like a match between the best hurdler in Australia Saunter Boy and the best hurdler in New Zealand The Cossack. I know on weights that St Arnicca has the beating of Saunter Boy based on the Galleywood Hurdle run back in May, but I don't think he will reverse form as I think Saunter Boy has improved since. He has looked so good this winning 4/4 over hurdles. He failed to finish in this race last year, but he suffered lacerations and I think that was the cause for his poor effort as he went and won at Ballarat 2 weeks later. He's probably a better horse this season as well. I tried to find some videos of The Cossack in action, but all I could find was the closing stages for his win 3 starts back. He's won 10/15 starts over jumps and he clearly has to be respected, but I think Saunter Boy will have his measure and he can make it 5/5 for the year. Saunter Boy 2pts @ Evs with everyone
  20. Not going to go mad on the first weekend as I don't pay much attention to friendlies and things are more based on how I feel teams are going to do during the season. It is just the 3 bets for me on day 1. Torquay v Oldham Torquay may have missed out on their best chance of promotion when they finished 2nd to Sutton a couple of years ago and then lost in a dramatic play-off final to Hartlepool. That final took place in late June because of Covid and that meant Torquay had little time before the new season started and that certainly hindered Gary Johnson's preparations. They struggled for the first few months of the season and it wasn't really until the 2nd half of the season where they really got going, but by then it was way too late to make a play-off bid. They have lost some of the stars from last season's team, but Johnson is one of the best managers at this level and I trust him to have got a good team together especially having been able to have had a full pre-season. Fans of relegated Oldham will be delighted that a takeover was finalised last week, but that hasn't come soon enough for me and their squad looks short of what is required to be challenging at the right end of the table at the current stage. Manager John Sheridan didn't have a great time of things when he was last manager in this league at Chesterfield and the fact he is in charge doesn't exactly fill me with confidence about their chances for the season either. It could be some money will be spent at some stage, but the squad isn't good enough for me at the moment. Johnson knows this level like the back of his hand and I think he and his Torquay side can get off to the perfect start to the new season. Hemel Hempstead v Farnborough The away side owe us after losing the title last season and I think they can get off to a winning start on their first season back at this level. They got their business out of the way quite early on and I was impressed with the quality of player they were signing. They might even be capable of sneaking into the play-offs. My feeling is they will be better prepared going into the start of the season than their hosts who had a very underwhelming season last time around. I'm not expecting a great deal of improvement, certainly to start with anyway, and I think it will be an away win here. Taunton v Welling Given I think Welling are going to have a very good season they look way overpriced to me in this game. Granted Taunton come here on the back of winning the title and the amount of points they won in the final 30 games of the season was staggering. They became winning machines, but I'm not sure they have strengthened all that much in the close season and losing their loanee goalkeeper on the eve of the season is hardly ideal. They might not end up in a relegation battle, but they look a bottom half of the table side to me. I don't need to repeat my views on Welling here given I have covered them in the ante-post preview, but if I am right then they look great value and they are my Nap's on the opening day. AFC Rushden & Diamonds v Needham Market I think Needham Market look value against Rushden. Rushden lost their manager to Tamworth last season and it looks to me like they could well struggle this time around. There has been a big turn around in players and their squad doesn't look good enough at the moment. Needham Market are a solid team and they are capable of winning this. Torquay 1pt @ 11/8 with SBK (take up to 6/5) Farnborough 1pt @ 2/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair (take up to 13/8) Welling 2.5pts @ 11/5 with Paddy Power and Betfair (take up to 7/4) Needham Market 1pt @ 21/10 with Betfred, Betfair and Paddy Power (take up to 6/4)
  21. National League South I am astonished that Havant are still available at a double figure price. They certainly under achieved last season given their squad and their budget as they should have been in the play-offs at the very least. In the end they missed out on a spot by two points and it was mainly their home form which was to blame as they only picked up 29 points at home. Before Covid hit in 2020 they were just 3 points behind Wealdstone in 2nd place in their first season under Doswell. They still have one of the highest budgets in the division and Doswell has signed really well over the summer. Signing Muhammadu Faal on Tuesday looks a really good bit of business as he was a scoring machine for Enfield last season and if he can take that form into the league above then he could end up being the best signing of the summer for any team. 16/1 is a mad price and the only doubt about them I have is the manager as I just wonder if he was the reason they underperformed last season, but he knows how to win this league so hopefully they can bounce back and have a strong season. I think they should be 2nd favourites myself. Worthing are the 2nd bets. They won the Isthmian League at a canter last season which wasn't really a surprise as they put together one of the best sides seen at that level. It was already a side that looked capable of challenging at Step 2 and with the recruitment made over the summer they can kick on again and bid for a 2nd promotion on the bounce. The final bet is obviously a bit of a flyer as they are the outsiders, but Welling are way too big at 80/1. A change of manager at the back end of last season led to improvement and that kept them in the division. A change of the pitch has helped has well as the recruitment over the summer has been strong. I just can't see them being in a relegation battle again and really with the squad they have they should be looking at the play-offs and just maybe they can go even higher than that. Granted we are probably looking at a value loser, but I can't let them go unbacked at such big odds. Ebbsfleet are favourites and they were so close to beating Dorking in the play-off final last season. I think they are the right market leaders, but Havant should be just behind them so it is clear where the value is. Dover have had extra cash to spend this season given they would have saved plenty last season when they were doomed to relegation before a ball was kicked. The problem they might have though is that the club is used to losing and although there are plenty of new players you it might just take a little bit of time to break that losing habit at the club. I thought David Oldfield did a hell of a job at Oxford City and I was surprised he went to Weymouth as they already looked set for relegation when he took over. They have had a huge turnover of players and whilst I like the manager I want to wait and see how they get on early doors. Dartford started the season off really well and went short for the title. After that they just struggled a bit as Steve King seemed to lose the plot a bit. They ended up going out of the play-offs at the first time of asking and King duly left. I think Alan Dowson was a good choice of replacement and they should be in contention again. The other team worth a mention are my local side Dulwich. They have by far the biggest support in the league and that has clearly led to an increase in budget based on the players they have signed. They barely won in the 2nd half of the season last term though and I still wonder if Gavin Rose is the right manager to take them to the next level. I think if they don't finish in the play-offs this season then it will surely be time for a change at the top. National League North Clearly it is wrong that James Rowe found another job so soon after leaving Chesterfield and Fylde are the only club who would possibly have given someone like him a job. As much as I hope it ends in failure for him they are the right favourites for the title and I think they are worth backing. Usually the North is strong, but I am not sure there is much depth in the division this season and they look to have the best squad. What Rowe needs to control is his temperament as he will surely come in for abuse at away grounds this season and when he went to Gloucester last season it clearly affected him and the players as they performed poorly and lost the game. That is the only doubt I have about them winning the title as they really ought to. If Tommy Widdrington had been in charge of Kings Lynn earlier, then I reckon they might have stayed up because they weren't too far away in the end. They look to have a strong side for this level and they could easily get a top 3 spot so they look a solid e/w bet. The other bet at a big price is Buxton. Anyone who was able to beat South Shields last season were going to have a very good side and Buxton duly did that. They are a side that is well backed and the fact they were able to get Jamie Vermiglio in as manager from Chorley says a lot for me as well. As I mention above, I don't think there is much depth in the division this season so they look well placed to challenge straight away for another promotion. Kidderminster are 2nd in the betting which is understandable. They clearly have plenty of cash after the FA Cup run last season and although they have lost some key players they still look strong after recruiting the new ones. I did notice last season their xG was rather low given how high up the table they were and they relied on wonder goals in a few games. They will need to create better chances this season to be possible title winners for me as they can't keep relying to wonder goals. Brackley finished 2nd last season thanks to a superb defence. They have lost a lot of players though which isn't going to help, but they are nearly always in the play-offs and they can manage that again. Boston would be my 4th pick at the odds as I am a huge fan of Paul Cox and he did well to get them to the play-off final last season. They should be in the mix again. As for the others there will be plenty of sides who hope they can get into the top 7. Darlington, Spennymoor, Alfreton, Peterborough Sports (signed surprisingly well) and possibly even my own side Gloucester look the most likely to do so for me. Chester look a bit high in the betting and I think Chorley might struggle a little after Vermiglio left. Northern Premier League I thought South Sheilds would win this easily last year, but Buxton beat them to the title. It was their away form which really cost them as they dropped some silly points on their travels. If anything, their squad looks even better this time around and they really ought to win the title. Like Wrexham though they look short enough, but they are worth putting in some multi bets like the Welsh side. I'm going to have a couple of e/w bets and hopefully one of them can get in the top 3. The first of them is Radcliffe. They were only 15th last season, but they have made some really impressive summer signings and they really ought to improve on that this season so they look a big price. The other team I like at the prices is Warrington Town who are always contenders and look in a good position to hit the top 3 this year with the squad they have. Isthmian Premier League I can understand why Hornchurch are favourites as they look to have a decent side yet again and can build on their 4th place finish from last season. At the prices though I prefer Bishops Stortford who finished 2nd to Worthing last season and although they never looked like catching them, they managed to score 89 goals whilst conceding just 33 which was the fewest in the division. They look to have strengthened the side well over the summer and I am surprised that they are available at a double figure price. The other team worth backing for me are Bognor Regis. They finished in 9th last season as they just lacked for consistency. I like the signings they have made over the summer and they ought to be in a position to challenge for the play-offs at least. Southern Premier League Central Ilkeston have been heavily backed for the title and are now a pretty short price at the head of the market. I was going to put them up, but they aren't value at the current price as much as they look set to go very well in what doesn't look the strongest division. What that does mean though is that Tamworth look a good price and we can back them e/w. They had a really poor season last time around which was surprising as they looked most likely to win the title win Covid hit back in 2020. Andy Peaks came in as manager from AFC Rushden which just highlights the potential Tamworth have because they were near the bottom at the time whilst Rushden were in play-off contention. They were unbeaten under Peaks and with the signings they have made they really ought to finish top 3 at the very least. The other team I will cover are Rushall. They finished 4th last season, but only got 6 points from their last 10 games which was shocking. They look stronger this season and clearly they weren't far away last season so I am happy to get involved this term. Southern Premier League South Hayes are favourites having gone close to winning the title last season and whilst they can go well again they look too short in the betting for me. There are two teams I like here both at double figure prices. I have put Weston-Super-Mare up for the last couple of seasons and they underperformed in the Covid season and it was looking like being more of the same last season, but then they really hit form later on in the season. Indeed, you only have to take the opening 12 games off their total and they would have finished 2nd behind champions Taunton. If they can carry last season's form into this one and they have evolved the squad nicely over the summer, then just maybe this is the year they can finally get promoted. The other team I like is Gosport who clearly have plenty of money to spend this season. They were originally put in at a stupidly big price and whilst that has long gone, I still think they are value because they have one of the best squads in the division and the odds don't reflect that. NB As far as I know only Bet365 and William Hill have priced up the Step 3 divisions. Solihull Moors 1pt e/w @ 11/1 with Bet365 Southend 0.75pts e/w 22/1 with Skybet Woking 0.25pts e/w @ 61/1 with Skybet and 50/1 everywhere else (sadly the 80/1 with Paddy Power and Betfair is win only) York 0.25pts e/w @ 40/1 with everyone Ollie Palmer to be top goalscorer 0.5pts e/w @ 16/1 with Bet365 National League South Havant & Waterlooville 1pt e/w @ 16/1 with Betfred Worthing 0.75pts @ 12/1 with William Hill Welling 0.5pts @ 80/1 with Betfred National League North AFC Fylde 2pts @ 4/1 with Skybet Kings Lynn 1pt e/w @ 12/1 with Bet365, Coral and Ladbrokes Buxton 0.5pts e/w @ 33/1 with Coral, Ladbrokes and Bet365 Northern Premier League Radcliffe 0.75pts e/w @ 25/1 with Bet365 Warrington Town 0.75pts e/w @ 16/1 with Bet365 Isthmian Premier Bishops Stortford 1.5pts e/w @ 12/1 with Bet365 Bognor Regis 1pt @ 8/1 with Bet365 Southern Premier Central Tamworth 2pts e/w @ 6/1 with Bet365 Rushall 0.5pts @ 13/2 with William Hill Southern Premier South Weston-Super-Mare 1pt e/w @ 16/1 with Bet365 Gosport 1pt e/w @ 10/1 with Bet365
  22. Yes all the others will be covered. Been on holiday which has delayed things but will be up Thursday or Friday.
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